International Ministries

The Blizzard - A Lesson on Hope

January 25, 2016 Journal
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All day Saturday, January 23, from our warm house with plenty of food I watched as the snow continued to fall and the wind blew all day long. The piles of snow surrounding our house and car grew until the drifts looked like snow waves filling the yard.

Ahead of the storm, I was able to buy food, make sure the car was filled with gas, and check the amount of oil in the tank for our furnace.

The house temperature was nice and warm as I sat cozily looking out the front window waiting for the snow plow to come and clear even a small path down our street.

And then I started thinking. I am so fortunate: when I was buying food, the prices didn’t increase because of potential shortages; I didn’t have to wait in line for days to buy gasoline and could full the tank to the top; and our house was warm because of oil heat and electricity.

The snow storm, with my being housebound and the needed shoveling to be done so I could exit my house when it stopped, was nothing compared to what my Nepali friends have been facing since the end of September because of the unofficial “blockade” along the Indian border.

In communications with my friends and partners, I’ve learned how difficult their lives have been. Cylinders of cooking gas are either non-existent or available only if one can afford paying nearly six times the price. Electricity blackouts have increased to 14 hours daily, resulting in minimal electricity available for cooking and keeping warm. Food is limited with increased prices. Kerosene – for heaters and cooking – has been available on the black market: illegal and expensive. After waiting in lines for hours up to days, drivers are faced with gasoline rationing: taxis getting 10 liters = 2.6 gallons twice a week. Public vehicles for transportation scarce. Surgeries and medical treatment at hospitals all across the country are reduced because of limited medicines and supplies. Schools are closed sporadically for extended periods of time.

And despite all that, many good things have been happening in the lives of IM’s Nepali partners.

The Nepal Baptist Church Council (NBCC) was able to organize two very important events. A Consultation on Disaster Response was held as scheduled: an in-house review of the earthquake relief efforts carried out by NBCC-MCDS and supporting international donor partners. Dialogues and presentations by resource speakers provided new insight.

Continuing on at the same place, the Baptist Leadership Summit brought men and women together from all across the country. They participated in various interest groups – pastors, youth ministry, women ministry, theological education, relief and development, and mission and evangelism.

The Nepal Baptist Bible College participated in two important celebrations. Christmas in style with singing, presents, and good food; and the Silver Jubilee of a Baptist church in southeastern Nepal presenting to the pastor and his wife a certificate of recognition.

And lastly, a story from Human Development and Community Services’ (HDCS) December Prayer calendar about a 65-year-old woman receiving healing treatment from HDCS’ rural hospital in Rukum – the mid-western region of Nepal. She was brought to Chaurjahari Hospital Rukum after walking a 2-day journey from her remote village. She had sustained a small wound on her hand. Poverty kept her from going to a health center for medical treatment. Instead, seeking treatment from a local traditional healer and following the advice to worship the spirits and sacrifice animals, she saw her wound becoming seriously infected. Hearing about Rukum hospital in a woman’s group conducted by a visiting hospital staff person, she chose to go for help: the severely injured hand and now arm would need to be amputated above her elbow to save her life. The hospital team performed a successful surgery. The hospital, which receives White Cross funding for its charity fund, provided for her the $350 for the necessary surgery 

A life saved – in the midst of the crisis for fuel for generators in the operating room and for medical supplies and medicines for patients.

On the following Monday morning, I read that some transport trucks had been allowed to cross the southern border into Nepal. Only time will tell if this unofficial “blockade” is over.

In the meantime, as I see the snow from my window, I am reminded of what is more important – hope in a difficult situation which leads to prayer for you, for Nepal, for all of us:

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NRSV)

Thank you for praying with hope along with me,