Christmas 2014

Today is January 10, 2015 – wait! It was just Christmas yesterday, wasn’t it? We’ve been enjoying having our daughter, Hannah, with us for a couple of weeks over her Christmas break from KISC (Kathmandu International Study Center). She arrived in Tansen on Dec. 24 – bringing her new pet, Bugsy Malone. We have enjoyed having the little bunny hopping around on our balcony these past few weeks.

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The week before Christmas, Les and I made a quick trip in and out of KTM in order to see the KISC Christmas pageant for which Hannah was music director. It was a wonderful musical program called, “Angels Alert”. We were so happy to be able to see Hannah doing a great job leading the children and to enjoy the show.

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These days in KTM, there are a lot more “commercial Christmas” trappings than ever before. There are stores with Christmas trees, stockings and other decorations for sale – and one store had a big Santa in the window in a sleigh! However, out in Tansen, we found only one small store which had a few small Christmas trees and some lights for sale. We are happy with this – we much prefer the non-commercial side of Christmas. The Hospital Christian Fellowship plans outreach programs in the hospital – there is carol singing in the wards, and each patient is given some fruit and a small gift…. also there is a special “tea” offered for all the hospital staff on one day. The different departments are invited throughout the day to come to a big room to enjoy a cup of sweet tea and some snacks. The HCF members are there to share about why we are celebrating Christmas! It’s always a nice day.

The expat team has its own celebrations – we eat together at the guest house and enjoy a western type meal including roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato soufflé, stuffing, and various vegetables and salads. We all bring desserts to share – and we enjoy a tasty cup of hot roselle juice (roselle is edible hibiscus – and this year we grew our own in Tansen!). After dinner, we enjoyed some games (including Christmas carol Bingo and Pass the parcel) and we had a gift exchange, as well.

The church plans a big program for Christmas Day. We started to gather around 11 am, and there was time to sing and pray. When we arrived just before 11, there were probably already 200 children sitting in the front of the church. Throughout the morning, the numbers continued to grow – and we estimated between 500 – 600 people were there when we left about 1:30. There were so many there wasn’t room for everyone in the building. The program actually continued until around 2:30, and then there was food served – Nepali style rice, curried vegetables, spicy meat, etc. They actually had to cook several times as there wasn’t enough food for everyone first time round! This was the same at the other large church in town we learned later. What an amazing problem to have – too many people at church on Christmas day! We pray that the many seekers who came that day will have had seeds planted that will come to fruit!

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Christmas is actually a National Holiday now in Nepal – has been for the past couple of years only. So, the govt offices were closed – as was the hospital. But it is only a one day holiday, and the western New Year is not celebrated here in Nepal (the new year here is in April.) So – we just had our “break” this past week.

We traveled to Pokhara for a few days with Hannah – the distance by road is about 120 km (75 miles), but there isn’t a straight portion for the entire distance! We went from curve to curve for 4 hours – and only one of us threw up once….but we were all feeling quite nauseated on the trip over! Fortunately we were fine once we arrived, and we enjoyed a beautiful couple of days. It was a much needed rest.

I’ve included a couple of shots from our time in Pokhara – we especially enjoyed good food, beautiful mountain views, and some time on the lake in a paddle boat. (You pedal it yourself!) Les decided the wind was good – and made it into a “sail boat!” (And the trip back to Tansen was better…. although Hannah went right to KTM on a nice, big tourist bus!)

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Thanks to so many of you who mailed cards, or sent emails to us. We pray you had wonderful Christmas celebrations – and we wish you a Happy New Year in 2015. To quote one of our favorite movies, “God Bless Us, Everyone.” (This is from our favorite version of the Dicken’s classic, The Muppet Christmas Carol.)

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Christmas 2014

  1. Ed and Jean Hollenberg

    Thanks for the full account of what is happening there. I was amazed to hear that Christmas is becoming a national holidayMy guess is they do like many in America celebrate without Christ. Good to hear about Hannah and her work. That is a significant work. We are fine, enjoying the snow and cold. Our house is so warm and cozy. Happy and Successful New Year. Ed and Jean

  2. Margaret Fain

    Hi Deborah & Les,
    Your blog was very interesting and the beautiful shots of lake & mtns are wonderful! So beautiful! We are glad you had a good Christmas and New Year’s, we did too. The only news from here is that Uncle Dick is having a heart cath this Thursday in Richmond at Reid Hospital. HIs stress test was not normal and yet no specific result so we are trying to be proactive & follow the cardiologist’s recommendation & “git ‘er done” !
    Otherwise we are hanging in there enduring what winter weather sends us!
    Love, Aunt Maggie

  3. Great to hear the description of Christmas. I have forwarded it on to Kim Tanguay, the vet whose husband is coming to Tansen as pharmacist later this year. Not sure if she is on your list but I thought she’d really enjoy a description of a Tansen Christmas. I hope to meet Kim and her husband Jeff this Friday evening at a CVM event here in Seattle.
    Happy New Year
    Karen

  4. Romeo L. del Rosario

    Thanks for this beautiful letter, Debbie. I just came back from itineration and Christmas break a few days ago. I hit the deck running. I had a wonderful Christmas with family in Seattle. I thank God for a new grandnephew and a new grandniece. I praise God for continuing good health. A volunteer medical team from Colorado is here for another 2 weeks. I was the first patient in one of the clinics last week. BS: 85, BP: 120/60. I could actually retire this year, but have signed up for another term last September. God’s blessings upon you always.
    Romy

  5. It was so wonderful to hear of the hundreds of Nepali people at the church services on Christmas Day as I have prayed for Nepal for many years – even before we knew of one Christian living in Nepal. God has certainly answered prayers for that land and that people. It is always good to hear news of Tansen Hospital and the staff there. Shirley Mainstone Bendigo. Victoria.Australia

  6. Elliott Lura

    Thanks for sharing. We enjoyed your letter so much

  7. Sarah Acland

    What a happy, happy letter! Thank you for the great descriptions which brought back so many memories.

  8. Dear Debbie and Les,

    Thank you for this HOPE FOR THE HILLS. As usual, full of great descriptions triggering memories and gratitude to God for His Work through you and the many in Nepal.
    I identified with your description of the many turns of the road Tansen to Pokhara. On two of the trips we made, I counted, in a 10 % sample, (about 12 kilometres – not the same section of road), the number of bends there were in each sample – one going to P and one returning to T. The results were amazingly similar in the two samples and I figure that there are around 1290 bends on that road.

    I would be pleased if you – or someone – could repeat this determination and let me know!
    Happy hunting bends!

    LOVE, in Him, Risto and Martje

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