Hello friends and family!
Thank you for your immense prayer and support. It is incredible to know how many people are praying for us in the U.S. We know that prayer is powerful and effective and it is evident in how the Lord is working here in Nepal.
It is hard for me to express in words what we have just experienced. To give an overview, our team was split into two groups. Each group flew to a different border location. Both groups had very different experiences and were impactful in various ways. I will speak specifically to my group’s experience and my personal feelings and reflections.
We left Kathmandu for the airport at about 7:40 a.m. on Wednesday morning Nepali time. We were met by a Nepali Tiny Hands staff member who was our guide for the border trip. She was absolutely incredible and a complete blessing to us. She revealed the character of Christ in such a beautiful way. She had a gentle and sweet spirit but she was also a strong leader. There is no way we could have done anything without her. Our flight was delayed for several hours so we had plenty of time to get to know her.
Once we boarded, our flight was a quick 20 minutes or so. Our guide decided that we would take electric rickshaws (somewhat like a golf cart) to the hotel. It is hard to describe this ride. The border town we were in is not a tourist destination. Therefore, we were the only white people. The stares we received were pretty extreme. Everyone seemed to be so interested in us and why we would travel this town. The town was loaded with people…bicycle rickshaws…electric rickshaws…horses…dogs…cows…buses…people selling everything imaginable…children…and so much more. Sounds could be heard of people trying to sell certain items…animal noises…people talking in Nepali…bells ringing…Nepali music playing…and hundreds of buses and rickshaws honking their horns. There were moments when we were completely surrounded by people. So close that my knee or arm would be touching someone. Kids would laugh as they passed us and we would wave. Women and men would look at us and then take a second and third look.
We arrived at the hotel and settled in and had a meal. We were surprised to have heat in our rooms which was a great luxury. We then took another adventurous electric rickshaw ride to the Tiny Hands shelter. In order to get to the shelter, we had to walk through a construction site. This was honestly one of the only moments that I felt somewhat scared. We had to walk on a section that was slightly larger than a balance beam with a large drop on either side. It was dusty, rocky and uneven. Thankfully, none of else fell and we made it safely to the shelter.
We were greeted by several women and the pastor. We were given a tour of the shelter and we were able to have about an hour and a half of question and answer time. It was incredible to talk to these incredible staff members. We discussed the whole process about how the interceptions work, what their prayer needs are, how their jobs impact their faith and much more. What surprised us the most is that the border control monitors at this location are females aging from about 20 to 22. If that weren’t surprising enough, the woman are less than 5 feet tall.
These women are absolute warriors of God. They wake up to work the station sometimes at around 5 a.m. One of the females lives close to the airport, which is a far distance away, and travels every single day by herself. We were somewhat confused about how this would work at the border station but they explained that they have connections with the police and the girls also have badges. Once they show a trafficker their badge, they are taken much more seriously. It was also interesting to think from the victim’s perspective. It makes sense that a young girl would be more willing to listen to a young, Nepali female in this situation. This is not something that I expected and it was incredible to see the faith of these young women. When we began to thank them for their work, they seemed somewhat surprised. They do not seek recognition for what they do. They do it because it is what the Lord has called them to.
The main prayer request that they told us was for safety for the staff, specifically for the young women as they travel to and from the border station each day.
After visiting the home, we left to visit the actual border. We took electric rickshaws once again and it was quite an adventure. It soon became dark as we traveled. We were in two separate rickshaws and became separated due to one with a lower battery and thus slower speed. Dust was flying everywhere. The streets were extremely busy with every type of vehicle you can imagine. The street was lined with shops, broken down buildings and people’s homes. The poverty was very overwhelming to me. There are not words to describe this scene.
Upon arrival at the actual border, I was amazed. It was nothing like I expected it to be. It was very wide, crowded, and people and vehicles could easily pass through. No wonder it is so easy for Nepali girls to be trafficked into India. We were not able to go all the way into India but we were able to get into the neutral zone between Nepal and India. Thankfully, our two rickshaws found each other and the pastor shared a few words about where we were. Due to the time, we had to turn back.
This ride back was personally very heavy for me. I could not believe where I was. This was a place where hundreds of people have lost their lives. Once a person is tricked or forced to cross that border, he or she may never come back. I could not stop thinking about the thousands of girls that have been taken over that border to become a sex slave. I couldn’t stop thinking about how many girls have died due to being beaten, drugged and raped. The seriousness and the realness of the sex trade washed over me and all I could do was shed a tear in the chaos. Melody sat across from me and even in the dark she could sense my pain and comforted me.
What upset me even more was our natural American ways. We are so privileged in ways that we do not even understand. We complain when we have to skip a few meals or if we can’t take a warm shower while others are trying to figure out how to stay alive each day. The drastic contrast in lifestyle is something that I am not sure how to process. I recognized how much I take for granted and I was simply overwhelmed by the injustice I was observing.
I want you all to know that even though this was a very heavy night for me, there was a plethora of joy as well. In the other rickshaw, I was told that the group had a blast getting to know one of the border monitor woman that joined them. They chatted as best they could with the language barrier and they even sang worship songs.
We have processed a lot tonight. We have talked about how there is always joy amidst the pain and that we must remember that God is sovereign. There are moments when I simply have to say, “God, I do not understand but I trust you.” I cannot let Satan use the pain of the sex trade against me. Sometimes I feel helpless but what I am really learning on this trip is the power of prayer. Prayer is a sword against the enemy and we must realize its importance in this world! Prayer is a threat to the darkness. Prayer is a threat against human trafficking.
Once we arrived back at the hotel, we said goodbye to the Tiny Hands members and had dinner. We went to bed early and had breakfast together this morning. Upon leaving the hotel, a big group of Nepali, male students approached us and asked if they could take a photo of us as many others stared at us. What an experience! We left for the airport and got there with only 20 minutes before our flight. We had no trouble making the flight (a little different than the U.S.).
We arrived back in Kathmandu and met the rest of the team for lunch. It was so exciting to all be together again! We then had time to journal and pack for Pokhara. We split up for a dinner and then came back to the hotel for a time of worship, sharing and prayer. It was great to be together to process what we had just experienced and to pray for the Tiny Hands staff and for each other.
I want to conclude by stating that the Lord is good. The border experience was incredible and I am so thankful that I was able to witness this first hand. There was a lot of darkness, but nothing compared to the light that I saw. God is working in Nepal. God is a vibrant light through so many Nepali believers. Even though we have witnessed a plethora of darkness, it is nothing compared to the power we have seen through the name of Jesus being proclaimed.
The song “God of this City” was actually written and sang for the first time in a bar/brothel in Thailand. Aaron Boyd, from a church in Belfast, simply began to sing out what he believed God was saying over the city he was in. And I feel that the lyrics are perfect too for the nation of Nepal.
You’re the God of this city
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You’re the light in this darkness
You’re the hope to the hopeless
You’re the peace to the restless
There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God
For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city
For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done here
Thank you all for your support and love!
- There are a few of us that are less than 100% health wise right now. Prayers for good health and healing would be appreciated!
- Pokhara teaching – many team members are feeling nervous about teaching for a week. Prayers for courage and confidence would be great. We have just one education major so this will be an adventure! Pray that we can be a light for these children.
- Travel – Tomorrow we have a seven hour bus ride.
- Leadership – prayers for Erika and Chad as they continue to lead the team with such care, love and strength
Our focus – prayer that we can be focused not on ourselves but on the Lord and what He wants us to do each day. Pray that we are open to the Spirit and listening for His guidance