The last year…

One year ago today Les had his brain hemorrhage.  We are so thankful for God’s healing work in his life.  We are also thankful that we can continue to serve here in Nepal.

Snippets and stories from the past couple of months….

Reserving buses for travel here in Nepal can sometimes be a complicated process….  We needed a bus for 30 of us to travel to Chitwan for the UMN retreat.  Debbie had Ganesh contact possible bus owners and drivers, and we made a verbal contract for a reasonable price.  We remembered to clarify various things including – no talking on the cell phone while driving, being on time, driving safely, etc.  We forgot something, though…. After loading all of us and our stuff into the bus, we set off down the road with our driver and one “conductor”.  We hadn’t gone 15 minutes when the bus stopped, and some people started getting on.  We said that the bus had been reserved and there wasn’t room for others.  Well – it turned out that some of the driver’s family members had thought that it would be a good way to get a cheap trip to Chitwan.  We stood firm that it was a reserved bus, but just before we pulled away, one young man jumped on to join us.  We said – “no, this is a …..” but before we could even finish, he looked at us and said, “I am staff.”  Well – we were struck dumb, and then all of us laughed and decided his ingenuity had won the round! He got his ride to Chitwan.  (Note to self – add other things to next year’s contract, such as only one conductor!)

and inside

Our bus - outside...

“Miss TNS” (Tansen Nursing Campus) – Two days before Debbie was to leave for the US, a call came from one of the tutors at the nursing campus.  A judge was needed for the Miss TNS competition to be held the next day.  After being assured it would only take 30 minutes or so, Debbie agreed.  Well – another note to self – nothing ever takes only 30 minutes in Nepal….. First – there was the normal waiting time to begin… then, the competition had 2 parts – we judged 20 young ladies and chose the top 5, and then judged those 5 based on their answers to the question, “How will you use your nursing training to make a difference in Nepal?”  It was actually quite a fun time – and it was inspiring to hear many of these young women with hopes and dreams to impact their country in the future.  And it only took 3 ½ hours.

Miss TNS (with last year's winner)

Tree hugging missionaries?  After Debbie left for the U.S., Les had a call from one of the missionaries living on the hospital compound.  He was very upset because a big, beautiful old tree had been cut down to make room for water tanks and solar panels for the hospital laundry.  No one had known that the tree was going to be taken down and we all felt quite sad about it.  A day or two later, another tree (this one we did know about) was going to be cut to make room for a new building project.  The first limb came down…. and as several missionaries watched and took videos, the second limb came falling – right onto the high tension power lines that bring electricity to the hospital!!  At that point, one of the missionaries called a halt to the action, and contacted Les who convened a meeting of the building committee and admin staff and the entire new building project was revisited. To make a long story short, the new building site was changed, and the big tree was saved to shade the compound for years to come!

The big tree that was saved...

Snake season….  The other day, our gardener was working and concentrating so hard that she didn’t see the snake coming until it slithered over her feet… She came in and told us she had done the “snake dance” and the snake had disappeared before she could call us to come!  We are happy she was not bitten – and we asked her to do the snake dance again for us several times.  Laxmi does such a great job growing our lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, carrots, broccoli, and so many other yummy veggies – we can’t eat all that she produces! (Maybe we should open a shop….)

Speaking of snakes – a woman came into the ER saying that she had woken in the night to find a snake curled around her ankle.  She killed the snake, and brought it to the hospital.  It was a krait, a poisonous snake.  She said, “I don’t know if it bit me or not, so I came to the hospital….”  Les couldn’t see anything, so just told her to wait around in a teashop outside the hospital for a few hours, and to come back if she started feeling anything….fortunately, she was not effected.

Left in good hands…. When Debbie left for the U.S., Sarda (our househelper) promised to take good care of Les (who was still in a cast at the time).  A week later, poor Sarda was hospitalized for terrible back pain.  When I phoned her, she wasn’t upset about her pain or being in the hospital – she was crying because she felt so badly that she wasn’t taking care of Les properly!!  I tried to reassure her, and Les did have other people helping him, so he never suffered.  But – poor Sarda suffered a series of troubles – first the back, then a painful attack of gout after getting home, and then news came that her older brother had been killed in a tractor accident, and finally, her oldest daughter came up to the hospital with an attack of kidney stones.  I almost told Les to quit phoning me in the U.S. because every time there was something else that had gone wrong…  I am happy to say that Sarda and her family seem to be fine now – but if you think about it, say a prayer for her, please!

Sarda and Hannah - happy to see each other again!

We are now in Pokhara (actually – Debbie is in Pokhara, and Les and Hannah are wandering somewhere in the hills around the Annapurna mountains.)  They are hoping to catch glimpses of the Himalayas, but the monsoon seems to have come very early this year – it started raining about 2 days after Hannah and Debbie got to Tansen, and it hasn’t really stopped for long.  It was good for Les to get away from work for a couple of days – he is not good about taking his day off – it is usually spent checking on something at the hospital, translating for a church group, attending a meeting or a graduation ceremony for a course….it is a rare day when he has nothing to do.  When Debbie returned, Les happily passed back all her responsibilities he had carried while she was away.  He thought he was just down to helping cover the hospital director’s absence.  Then, the medical superintendent needed to leave – for about 2 months.  So, Les is once again wearing another hat.  He keeps getting those admin roles, which he does so well, but he still loves seeing patients and teaching best of all.

Thanks for reading this rather rambling blog – we have so many things that happen each day in our lives and I think – “I should write about that” but then don’t take the time to get it down.  Thanks for your prayers and comments and emails…. we love to hear from you!



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8 responses to “The last year…

  1. Imogene Orts

    You write so well. It is always great to hear of your adventures and ministry. Imogene

  2. Risto and Martje

    As usual: graphic and entertaining! Thank you, Debbie! We pray that Les and Hannah will have had a wonderful time and that they did not have to trek in the rain………….. Please give pour love for Sarda, who once worked for us for a while. We hope her medical and/or bone problems can be sorted out. Lots LOVE, Risto and Martje

  3. Andrew Furber

    Great stories. Brings the memories back! Andrew, Michelle, Emma and John Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2013 23:44:13 +0000 To:

  4. Dona Dijkema

    It’s lovely reading your news! The way you describe situations, I can see them in front of me. Makes me a bit homesick… xxDona

  5. Romeo L. del Rosario

    Enjoyed this letter so much, Debbie. Very glad that you and Les and the children are keeping well. Have just lifted Sarda in prayer. Blessings always.–Romy

  6. Ed and Jean Hollenberg

    Hi Les and Debbie, So glad to get your hope for the hills and all the detailed stories of your work and activities. Glad Les is back to normal, or should I say super nomal? Please keep the emails coming even tho’ we don’t anticapate a visit to Nepal. Maybe our world-wide travels are over?? We continue our activities on the farm: pond care after a 5″ rain and mild flooding of the fields, garden, mowing yard and trails, cutting trees for firewood, repairing tractors, And I continue my interest in writing some, the SOR, Life survival skills for youth, and Marriage mentoring. I continue trying to sell marriage insurance. Most of all we are on the road a lot attending eight graduaations from High school and colleges and medical school. We have a good share of entertaining friends here at the farm and remember the one visit you had with us years ago. We are healthy and blessed with a bounty of friends, family and the beauty of all nature, and a work to be done.. Love Ed and Jean

  7. Janet Sauter

    Hi..I am sitting here watching for severe weather to come tonight. Both David and I are watching the TV ti see when to expect the bad weather. I was on FUMC website looking for info about Joel Harbarger’s visit this Sunday. David and I plan to visit along with the Bolins. Then I saw the link to your blog so decided to catch up on your news. Well…I had to read all about the snakes to hubby David. He HATES snakes and the two stories both made him shiver! It is wonderful Hannah can be there with you. I am sure it means so much! Happy Father’s Day Les!
    Love, Janet and David Sauter

  8. Jim & Pat Stewart

    Hello Les & Debbie: We enjoy your newsletter so much. I can not imagine some of your encouters, but know that you both have all of the bases covered very well. We are having lunch next week with your folks. This will be the first time to see them since their return from Az. With their schedule and ours it gives us a few windows of opportunities. I keep telling Jim with our volunteering, we are trying to be good servants to our friends here at Otterbein and to help ourselves maintain a healthy mind and body.
    God Bless each of you in your ministry there in Nepal.
    Love, Jim & Pat

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