Lamjung

Into the village

Lamjung

Into the misty Himalayan foothills he goes.  Five hours on a windy, perilous, bumpy road take him to this beautiful town called Lamjung.  Today he journeys beyond this town, deep into the village where he’ll sleep in the same conditions as the people he serves.  A LandRover-style truck and his fearless driver will safely get him across a rushing river without a bridge.  Together they’ll hang off the sides of a few cliffs, leaning to one side of the vehicle because it may help.  Mostly for piece of mind.  Then, he’ll hit the hills on foot and trek the final distance, avoiding leeches where possible.  Finally, he will be greeted by smiling Nepali strangers waiting to welcome him with a lei of marigolds which they’ll place around his neck.  They’ll take him to a community center, probably the local school where they will sit in a circle on cushions on the cold concrete floor to chat about how their children are fairing.  They will drink a delicious spiced milk tea called chia that will warm their hands and insides.  As their tea cups slowly empty, Phil will be hopeful for words of truth.  How are they really doing?

Phil doesn’t come in as their Savior.  He comes in as an encourager.  He visits to grow in understanding, not to provide three step solutions.  He meets with his team who serves in this community daily, to help them grow and to inspire them to carry on. He teaches principles of servant leadership. Reminds them of truth.  He challenges.  Trusts.  And serves them.  Where they are.  Near Everest, literally and figuratively.  Relying on Christ’s strength.  To be a light in the world.  For God’s glory.

Just thought you may like a little glimpse into his world and work.  He’ll bring home photos of his trip soon.  Please pray that we would remain faithful to the work God has for us here and now.  Thank you for caring!

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Welcome (five minute friday)

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Welcome to our real life.  It’s full of bustling streets.  Beautifully displayed fruit stands.  Offerings to millions of Gods.  Gorgeous Himalayan views.  Warm, intriguing people.  And shivering cold indoor winters.

Welcome to a life that we never dreamed of living.  I look into the darkness outside my window at 5am, hearing the neighbor’s roosters crow, feeling the sting of winter chill on my fingers as I type and I think about the roosters Abyala would chase around the Island a couple weeks ago.  She was so happy to run free as they were free … they were a literally a bunch of wild ones.  And I think to myself, I need to make sure I welcome this new year in Nepal with an abandoned joy.  As if I were chasing roosters with my daughter.  We choose that type of joy.  So I’m claiming it, and convicted to live it, and giving thanks to God for the sound of roosters that reminds me of my daughter’s joy.  Of His goodness to us.

That’s it – five minutes.  Love a “five minute friday” …

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Curly locks blowing

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Just looking at this picture brings a calm to my soul.  A smile to my face.  And joy to my heart.  Abyala gazing over the Pacific in her long, blue dress.  Curly locks blowing in the sea breeze.  Sitting in the sand.  Not afraid.  Just enjoying her moment by the ocean.  I want to look at this in the years to come and remember.  To feel this calm, peace, and joy in my heart.  Eucharisteo.  Thank you, Jesus!

Walks on the beach

Kauai. Family. Happiness.

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This Christmas my amazing husband gifted us with a trip to Hawaii!  We’re not filthy rich, rather he’s super savvy.  Most of this vacation was “free”, but those details deserve their own post.  Phil flew all of our parents to Kuaui so that we could celebrate the holidays together.  We explored beaches, canyons, and waterfalls.  We ate fish tacos, Bubba’s burgers and shave ice.  Grandparents loved on Abyala, played dolls, built sand castles and chased chickens.  Abyala declared “no ocean” a million times until she finally fell in love and became a fish.  We chit chatted our days away about everything and nothing.  We sang Christmas carols on our “Christmas Eve”, read Luke 2, and opened gifts around our 6″ tree.  It was perfect!   Then, the family left and we galavanted around the islands for a while longer.  Enjoyed a week long pass to the zoo where Abyala fell in love with tigers and the playground, hiked Diamond Head volcano, revered Pearl Harbor, and got our fill of American sandwiches. We had fun!  And we came home feeling somehow refreshed after 2 days of restless flights. Our souls feels rested.  Our hearts are full.  And our minds are fresh.

We didn’t deserve this incredible vacation, but God is simply generous.  His love for us knows no bounds.  And His love endures forever.

It’s easy to count our blessings and recognize God’s beauty and goodness in the paradise of Hawaii.  This year, we’ll be counting blessings, finding beauty, and thanking God for His goodness and grace in Nepal.  Pressing on…

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Pressing on…

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We’ve walked on the streets of paradise and of poverty in our privileged shoes. Recognizing we’re beyond blessed, we’ve relished in the gifts of clean water, fresh air, and grass for our little one to play in these past few weeks. As we go back to the streets where our neighbors share an unclean public pool for washing and where children have few safe places to play, we remember to thank God. For His presence that abounds no matter where we are. We pray for the strength to return. To lay ourselves, our wants and earthly desires down so that we may serve Him well. We pray that we may have eyes to see paradise wherever we are. That we may count poverty of earthly comforts as blessings that draw us near our source, our love, Jesus Christ. We pray that we would somehow become nothing so that God can make something out of us (Martin Luther.) May Christ’s courage abound and His generous refreshment of our souls carry on as we return. Leaving tomorrow morning for Nepal. Not feeling ready. But pressing into Christ for what we don’t know that we need. Pressing on. Because this is the only life we have to glorify Him. And we want to glorify Him. Leaving this paradise to re-discover the next. By His grace…

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Jumla

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Phil journeyed to a remote area of Nepal this week called Jumla which is situated deep in the Himalayan mountains.  Above is a photo journal of his experience.  A few notes from his trip included the fact that the homes weren’t heated despite the fact that temperatures drop well below freezing inside.  He stressed again that Nepalis are the hardest workers he’s ever seen, carrying hundred pound loads on their backs as they scale cliffs with tattered shoes, daily.  He just finished an incredible meal meant to last one hour go beyond four hours.  It was multiple courses and he didn’t know when it was going to end, so he just kept on eating.  He’s going to bed bundled in all his clothes and a very full stomach tonight.  Praying that he’ll catch his flight out tomorrow as the next flight doesn’t leave until Saturday.  Grateful that he was able to be an encouragement to his team.  Anxious to have him home.

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Empowerment

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Why is it that she thrives and grows stronger with each day that her hands weave and sew and create?

Could her provision have been a gift only, that required no work or toil?

What is it that comes to life in us when we work, when we are empowered by what we can achieve, instead of receiving and then the giver walks away?

These jobs that bring women from darkness mean opportunities to reclaim value and worth that had once been stolen. And these jobs mean that each day they join in fellowship with others who know their stories so well, and together they heal and love and gain.

Would this come to be if money had just been given?

These women come to know themselves and the beauty that they can create with their own hands because they have been gifted empowerment. They’re being gifted the opportunity to re-learn the trades that will keep them from the darkness, trades that mean future and hope.

The work brings the freedom.

Guest Author: Larissa Murphy