Happy New Year! We had a most wonderful Christmas and New Year season here in Nepal – we were blessed to have our daughter Rachel, son Luke, and daughter-in-love Laura with us for almost 3 weeks. It was a great time of introducing Laura to many things that Luke and Rachel remembered and loved about Nepal – and just a great time of being together as a family! (We missed Hannah, but she seemed to enjoy her time in Florida with friends.)
Let me tell you about Christmas here in Tansen. It was so fun on Christmas eve to sit together and to sing Christmas hymns (in 4 part harmony!) and to read the story of Jesus’s birth together. We also had some fun singing some more “light hearted” Christmas tunes – like the “Moldy Cheese Madrigal” and the Veggie Tales version of “While by my Sheep”. Baaa Baaa….
Christmas morning we enjoyed breakfast together and opened some gifts. We had invited Ganesh and his family to come to church with us, so they came by about 10:30 to walk with us to the service. Ganesh and Laxmi have been prayed for by many, and have heard the gospel, but haven’t taken the step of outwardly committing to becoming believers. Please continue to pray for them – we love them dearly.
Ganesh and Family
At church, we crowded into the meeting room, which had been emptied of the usual chairs, so we were to sit on the floor (like we always used to do). However, I had worn a sari that day, so I claimed my rights of being a “mature” missionary lady and got a chair! Laura and Rachel (being younger and more flexible) sat on the floor and were squeezed into tight spaces for several hours. Les and Luke did better as the men’s side is always less crowded.
We enjoyed singing together, and watching lots of dances and skits performed by Sunday school children, youth, and some of the ladies’ groups.
Sunday School Class song
The service was to have started at 11, but actually began after 11:30. Les had been asked to give the sermon, but we knew it would be a rather difficult audience – with lots of village folk in for the service, and all the children in, as well. So – we tried something different. (Special thanks to our friend, Mark Zimmerman, for the idea!) When the prayers were being spoken for the sermon, Les slipped out, and I went up to the front of the church. I apologized that Les was not going to be able to give the message as he had been suddenly called to the hospital. I said that I didn’t think I could give the sermon, but that I had met an interesting person on the path that morning – and I had asked him who he was. He was wearing strange clothing, and he said he was a shepherd with good news to share. At that point, Les came in the back of the church, dressed as a shepherd.
He came up to the front, and spoke to everyone as if he were a shepherd who had been there on the night that Jesus was born. He talked about the wonder of the angels and meeting the baby in the manger. He then talked about hearing Jesus speak later during his ministry, and also being present at the crucifixion. He basically shared the gospel message and left everyone with the words that Jesus had come as a wonderful gift to us from the Father – and that now we could choose to accept Him or not!
People seemed to really listen and so we pray some seeds were planted – especially in the unbelievers who came to the service that day. And for those of us who aren’t used to 3 hour services yet, we were happy he was able to share it all in about 10 minutes!
After the sermon, lunch was served. There were many people, so we waited about 40 minutes for our food – but it was very tasty. We had been to a meeting at church the night before and saw the cutting of the meat and veggies – we never cease to be amazed at the cooking for crowds that is done here over open wood fires!
Veggies cut up on Christmas Eve
Cutting Meat on Christmas Eve
Enjoying the meal
We left after the meal – even though there were more dances and songs happening at the church. We were happy to come back to the house and relax and enjoy some games together – especially since we received the extension game for Settlers of Catan so all five of us could play!
We hope your holidays were joyful – and we pray that the gift of Jesus was received anew by each of you this year.