Namaste! We hope you all had wonderful Christmases, and wish you a very happy New Year! Here’s what we’ve been up to…
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!
Singing has certainly been a common theme of our last few weeks. For starters, Rach and Rebekah have been rehearsing with the local choir – Kathmandu Chorale – since October. Chorale had its Christmas concerts on the 9th December, which were a great way for us to get into the Christmas spirit.
We have all enjoyed being introduced to Nepali carolling, which is incredibly social, fun and lively – and also mildly embarrassing, as it is accompanied by Bollywood-style dancing! Church youth spend at least one evening in the run-up to Christmas being hosted by a church family, who invite friends and neighbours to listen, join in and share food. It seems to us that these evenings are symbolic of the vibrancy and joyousness of the Nepali church, and we are so pleased to have been involved.
Last Friday, we made our way to ABBS, eagerly anticipating the schools’ annual ‘Christmas programme’ but not knowing quite what it would entail…! The unsuspecting three of us were asked if we ‘could sing’, to which we too quickly answered ‘yes’, later finding ourselves in front of all the children singing Jingle Bells. This was pretty mortifying, but it was worth being there to watch our classes perform a dance each, and to wish a Happy Christmas to all of the children!
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
There has not been any snow here in Kathmandu, and we are sorry to have missed out on all the snow in the UK. But that hasn’t stopped us from making two dozen snowmen! We introduced the children at Baal Bagaan to a British childhood classic, the Flying Snowman, and they made snowman headbands… because we have learnt that they love making crafts that they can wear!
Also at the preschool, we have taught about the true meaning of Christmas, with the help of some fabulous Nativity hand-puppets borrowed from our supervisor, Cynthia. One girl made us laugh by, when hearing that the shepherds gifted lambs to the Baby Jesus, exclaiming that they were for Him to eat, “very tasty”! None of us had ever given a thought to what Mary, Joseph and Jesus did with those lambs!
“All I want for Christmas…
…is a normal bowel movement”. Unfortunately, in Christmas week, Rebekah and Rachel were ill, and so great was Rebekah’s desperation and determination to recover, that we got this gem of a quote from her! She was forced to miss the Christmas party at Beauty for Ashes, at which we had the opportunity to give and receive ‘Secret Santa’ gifts. But in answer to prayer, both were well in time for Christmas Eve, when we celebrated with the Chadwell family. Be assured that, even though we are overseas, we ate a blissfully traditional Christmas dinner (thank you so much to Cynthia) and woke up the next morning with full stockings at the end of our beds.
Waving goodbye to the Chadwells on Christmas morning was like stepping out of a carefully crafted Christmas bubble, as most of Kathmandu was oblivious to it being the 25th. However, our Nepali church was hosting its own celebration, with dancing, singing, drama and Christmas card making for the children. They then served lunch to everybody… which is how we came to be sitting in the sunshine and eating rice, dhal and curry – less familiar than Cynthia’s roast! – on Christmas Day itself.
Never mind a white Christmas. Kathmandu is becoming increasingly dusty as the dry season progresses, and any greenery that there is in the centre of town is covered with a thick layer of dust. Happily, we spent Boxing Day out of Kathmandu at the National Botanic Gardens, having a picnic with BMS and other mission families from church. A massive thank you to both the Chadwells and the Douglases for embracing us over Christmas and enabling us to celebrate in the middle of family.
Praise for a happy, memorable Christmas; prayer for our families at home, the Chadwells and the Douglases.
Pray for our project work, which we were straight back into on Wednesday – pray that God would show us how we can bless the women and children we work with in new ways in this new season.
Pray for good health in the lead-up to and during our team holiday (we are going trekking!) and a trip to visit and help with BMS projects in the rural province of Lamjung. Pray that we and our supervisors would work out how best to spend our time, effort and resources in Lamjung.
Thank you for reading! Lots of love.