Saturday, May 2, 2015

Living simply; living far away (Nepal)

My mom recently sent me a book, "My Seventh Monsoon" by Naomi Reed, an Australian missionary to Nepal.

I took the book along with me to a church retreat last weekend and read a few chapters while waiting for David to fall asleep.

By the next morning, the earthquake had struck. But I didn't actually make the connection until much later. I walked into the conference room to see my friend who had been to Nepal several times, fiddling nervously with her phone. She mumbled something about an earthquake and her friends there. I didn't have internet or anything all as I said, it didn't really register, but I could still see how it affected her. It definitely reminds me of Haiti and how many of my friends were affected by the 2010 disaster. Not a place that I've visited, but whatever burdens the hearts of my brothers and sisters is going to get to me, too.

My (Nepal-loving) friend then went on to lead morning worship for us in her sweet, faith-filled way. Later on Sunday, I finally got home to read the news and learn the scope of the tragedy.

Another of the girls who had gone.

Naomi Reed's book is about seasons. I didn't feel like I got a comprehensive picture of any one aspect of her work in Nepal. It was like little snapshots, with emphasis on transitions and navigating. Major trials were sometimes covered in a single chapter. 10 or more years of life in 200 pages of text. As a whole, I felt like a lot of the experiences ran parallel to serving in any foreign country, with the living conditions being unfamiliar and the culture and especially approaches to medicine being different. And since she covers some general topics, they are relevant to many of us.

For example, I loved how she brought up the topic of renovations (a "season of distraction"), what we of this generation would probably call a "First World" problem.

"The only trouble was that 'renovating the house' was on our list of all-time never do activities...It wasn't that we actually had anything against renovating. It was just that the letters we received from Australia while we were in Nepal seemed so full of it. (p. 145)."

And you can probably guess where that discussion goes next.

(Is it really horrible if my next blog post was going to be about home improvements?)

When I looked at the photos of Naomi in her book, she looks so completely "normal," and I am amazed again at how God chooses to use ordinary people. There doesn't seem to be a "type" for a person who is becoming a missionary or entering any sort of ministry. And we all have our own strengths and weaknesses.

On her FB fan page Naomi Reed wrote, "Today, we're staring at the screen, feeling a long way from Nepal and praying for rescue efforts." The recovery efforts in Nepal continue (while just getting started), and I'm sure there are lots of stories to follow. The next chapter will be this summer as a few of our friends make their way on a short-term trip to a country which has changed since they were last there.

Feel free to share any stories/resources/needs in the comments section here, as you see fit.

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