Feeling Humbled – again

It was five years ago this past week that we arrived back in Nepal – just the two of us that time! Sunday (March 5) was the birthday celebration of the United Mission to Nepal – 63 years of serving in Nepal. We got to be part of the celebration in Kathmandu 5 years ago and still remember the feeling of being part of something that started before us and will (God willing) continue after we leave. It’s quite humbling, and also inspiring!


Speaking of being humbled, a couple of weeks ago our househelper brought us up to date about her sister in law who has been quite ill with cancer. She has been traveling to a hospital several hours away monthly for chemo treatments. Each time, the family members go around to relatives, friends, and neighbors to ask for the money that she needs for the medicines. They are getting very deeply into debt.  (We wrote some about this 3 years ago.)

So – the family came to our helper, and asked, “Do you have any money you could let us have?” That happened to be the day that we paid her for the month – so she felt that she couldn’t say no. She gave  half her monthly salary to help this woman go for her treatment this month.

Giving half your month’s salary is a big thing – but it is even bigger when you know that this money is all that she will get for the month – and that she is the only wage earner in the household (which currently includes her son and daughter in law, her grand daughter, and a relative of the daughter in law.)

Les has been invited to give a presentation about Tansen hospital in South Africa!  We have been considering this – and wondering whether or not we should both go.  (Only Les’s way will be paid).  We shared this with one of our friends here.  He encouraged us to go – that it was a wonderful opportunity and that we should go together.  Later, he told us that he wanted to give us some money to help towards the trip.  This is a Nepali friend who doesn’t make that much – and doesn’t have extra money to give for things like this!  We were very touched.

This all reminded me of Jesus’ story about the widow giving her two mites – I continue to stand in awe of the generosity and faith of people like this.

One final note on humility….today I (Debbie) took the test that is required at the end of each bible study book I am doing with a couple of Nepali ladies.  Each time it reminds me of how much of the language I still need to learn – and how much more about Jesus and the bible I can learn – especially when studying it in a different language and different culture.  It often brings out things I would never have considered while living in the U.S.

Deb’s bible study….

For example, we see all around us the kinds of roads and trails that Joseph and Mary must have traveled on to Bethlehem.  We walk and ride on those roads – and can better imagine the long trip on a donkey while pregnant!  We also feel more urgently what Jesus means when he commands us to care for widows and orphans, since we see that they are often left without help or support.  They live on the edges of society and struggle with daily physical needs as well as trying to survive without much love and encouragement.

We so appreciate your love and support. Love to you all!



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4 responses to “Feeling Humbled – again

  1. Peter A Block

    Thanks again for your letters that are so insightful and sincere. The reminders of how close to the edge people in Nepal and so many other parts of the world live.

    We will wait to hear about the trip to South Africa. I am curious to know how that came about?

    Yesterday we had a very heavy snowfall and today the winds are blowing up a blizzard. Happy we don’t need to be driving out in the country as visibility will be very low. Winds up to 80 kms/hr.

    Blessings on you both.

    Peter and Arlene >

  2. Peter and Arlene have expressed Martje’s and my sentiments about your letter writing, Debbie, thank you very much indeed.

    Yes, we too are interested in how the South African connection came about.
    You may remember that Martje hailed from South Africa and still have family there so that, if you have need of contacts, let us know. Which city would you expect to go to?
    When might that take place?

    Lots of LOVE, in Him,
    Risto and Martje

  3. james pettibone

    Dear Les and Debbie;

    It was good to get another of your interesting letters. I am back to normal after my Christmas day fall

    on some snow covered ice. I didn’t break anything but did pull some ligaments so walked with a

    walker, then a cane and now have no signs that anything happened.

    You mentioned that Les had been asked to go to South Africa for a short time. Elsie and I had a

    similar experience when we came home from Nepal. We hadn’t even gotten home yet as we had

    stopped off at my sister’s house in Seattle before going on to Colorado. We were eating supper when

    their phone rang. My sister answered and then handed it to me. It was the Mennonite Directer in

    Nepal asking if I could go to Egypt to check out some Hospital equipment they had sent over. They

    would pay for me to go but not Elsie. We paid for Elsie to go and never regretted it. We were able

    to visit Israel and the Holy land, as well as Cairo. Places we would never have gone on our own.

    I would certainly recommend that you both go together to So. Africa and see something new together.

    I really enjoy your news letters. Keep them coming!

    God Bless. Jim Pettibone


  4. Val Watson

    I still use Nepali lifestyle and the geography of the country to explain some concepts that are difficult to understand. We still have the little oil lamp we were given that is engraved with Psalm 119 v105 takes on so much more meaning when viewed in light of the village oil lamps rather than our western electric lights.
    Your letters really bring Nepal to life and show that although some things have changed there remains a sense of community and people helping one another.
    in the UK we take our health service for granted and don’t realise how fortunate we are with free care at the point of delivery.

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