Back when I was in college, someone gave me a short piece of rope with a knot tied in it. They said that I should keep it with me as a reminder that when it seemed that I had reached the end of my rope that I should tie a knot and hang on!
Last Wednesday (Dec 21), I felt I had reached the end of my rope. Hannah (youngest daughter) and Nathan (her fiancé) were in KTM – and were scheduled to come to Tansen on the mission bus the following day. While I was meeting with a group of friends, I heard the news that there was a strike being called in KTM for the day they were to come. I was devastated….. I knew having them come a day later wouldn’t have been the end of the world, but it was one of those times when I had been looking forward to it so much that the thought of the plans not working out was the final straw! I was thankful for my friends who promised to pray for me, and who encouraged me.
Hannah and Nathan did, in fact, arrive on the mission bus on Thursday as planned. They actually had quite a good trip for these days – only 11 hours! (Much better than the 18 Hannah had experienced a couple of months ago.) We have been enjoying having the two of them here with us over the Christmas holidays, and I’ve been thinking about the small miracles and answers to prayer that God so graciously provides for us to keep us from becoming hopeless.
There are several instances which I can think of in just the past few weeks. The first involved me returning from Kathmandu after staying to see Hannah’s Christmas programs. (Les had flown from KTM to near Butwal on Monday (Dec 12), and had gotten a jeep up the hill to Tansen that evening. I stayed on in KTM until Friday (Dec 16.) I realize that the last blog I wrote was about strikes – and we did, in fact, travel from Tansen to KTM (via Pokhara) leaving at 5 am to get to KTM on Dec. 7. We really enjoyed our visit in KTM and loved seeing Hannah and watching her performances.
So – back to Dec. 16…. I caught the flight to Pokhara mid-morning that day, and was able to view the mountains for the entire 25 minute flight. It was so beautiful. A taxi met me at the airport, and we had lunch and then started driving towards Tansen. I had decided to fly to Pokhara instead of the closer Bhairahawa airport because that day a 3 day strike started in Palpa district, along with the other districts around the Bhairahawa airport. We drove for about 3.5 hours, and arrived at the border of the Palpa district about 10 minutes before 5 pm. Now – usually these days in a strike, they open in the evenings to let night buses and other vehicles get through. Not this time. This time the plan was to have a continuous bandh (strike) from Friday morning through Sunday night.
Well – the taxi driver and I walked over to where the road was blockaded – and he started asking if we could be let through because I was a foreign doctor who needed to get to the mission hospital! (Well – a doctor’s wife is close enough, I guess?) Anyway – I was praying, and I know many others were as well, because after an hour or so, they let us go through! All other vehicles had been turned back – and I was starting to contemplate having to spend a night in the village….
Anyway – one miracle – we arrived to Tansen safely and without any troubles – in the midst of a 3 day strike (which did last the 3 days!)
The second miracle was that the strike which would have affected Hannah and Nathan was cancelled – an answer to prayers, again, I’m sure.
Finally, the other day we were invited to walk down to eat at a friend’s home in the village. After walking down the back of Srinagar Hill for about 45 minutes, I noticed that I was missing my right contact lens. I knew I had put it in my eye because the left one was in, and I always start with the right. But – I hadn’t felt it fall out, and I had no idea where it was. So – after a lovely lunch and visit, we walked back up the hill, and when we went into the house, I went to the bathroom where I put my contacts in in the mornings. I looked on the counter – and then on the floor – and just under the corner of the floor rag was my lens! Amazing! Not only that I found it, but that it was in one piece after others had used the bathroom after I had dropped it and hadn’t noticed. I still am not sure what happened, but I was very thankful for that miracle! (And I was amazed at how my brain compensated for the missing lens…. mono-vision!)
I know there are many prayers that are apparently not answered – or the answers are very slow in coming. We have prayed for some of our friends here for over 25 years – and they still are not following The Way. We know that people are hurting and that it often feels that God is far away or uncaring.
But – for the moment – when I put my contacts in in the mornings, and when I enjoy the time with Hannah and Nathan, I am thankful for a God who cares for some of the smallest details of my life and sometimes intervenes to give me fresh hope.
May your New Year be filled with that Hope.