Finding Normal

imagesIt has been over a month now since the great Nepal earthquake.

And though most around the world have forgotten what took place on Saturday,April 25th.

The people of Nepal can’t seem to forget.

Finding “normal” has not been easy for anyone.

To this day, many continue to sleep outside because they have no home to return to, or out of fear.

A month later, schools are just set to resume tomorrow. Yet, schools for some kids will mean meeting under tarps because their school was destroyed.

The hospitals are full of wounded and mentally emotional people. Some who have lost arms and legs because of that one dark day.

I read today of the 7.8 earthquake (originally recorded at 8.5) quake that hit outside of Tokyo. And though the report read that the building swayed for a full minute, though I’m sure there was incidence of injury and possible deaths, it compared not to the 7.8 quake that struck Nepal.

Yet, already the news has moved away from Nepal, as most have moved forward.

But as a friend so eloquently put it, it is difficult to move forward with “normal” when daily the aftershocks continue.

The truth is, this earthquake set Nepal back many years. The truth is, Nepal was already behind the times, and now has even farther to go.

A Christian man told a friend that though he has a whole field of potatoes ready to sell, no one is buying.

The devastation here can’t be put into words.

And though many relief organizations are here, seeking to serve the people. Though money has been sent from various countries. It does not “fix” Nepal.

It won’t be long and the Monsoon rains will begin to pour. Already this past week, it has rained almost every night.

And as I sit inside my home, and hear the rains pour down, my heart hurts.

For all I can think of is the hundreds of people who are tonight sleeping under tarps. Tarps that do little to protect them from the rains.

And there is an urgency to go and help the people. A feeling of helplessness as I seek to comprehend the masses of people here who need help.

Yet, then I’m reminded that the urgency is far greater to go and tell them of Jesus. The One True Source of Help.

It still breaks my heart when I think of the 8.000 plus people who died as a result of this earthquake. I’m sad of course for the families, but more so I’m heartbroken over the fact that many of these died without knowing Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Light.

When we first arrived to Nepal, I had a hard time adjusting, because there is little here that seems “normal” to my western mindset.

Even today as we drove to church, and passed at least 6 cows, all I could do was smile and shake my head. For to the Nepalese, this is normal, but to me… well far from it.

But normal since the earthquake is even greater, and not only for me as a westerner, but for the Nepali people.

Life is hard for the Nepali people, yet even more so now.

All over the city people are looking for safe shelters. Yet, many buildings, apartments, and homes have been declared unsafe.

Thousands have left Kathmandu for their villages. Yet for many of these villages, there is little that survived.

No finding “normal” in Nepal isn’t easy. Yet the people are trying, we are trying.

Tomorrow the kids will return to school, tonight we watched a hallmark movie via “YouTube.”

Why? Because life has to go on.

Satan would love to have everyone to live in fear, to paralyze people.

But Jesus came to give life and life abundant.

So we will find “normal” admist the rubble here in Nepal.

The people here who are so resourceful and hard working, will rebuild their homes, their lives.

But what they need, what we all need isn’t “normal,” it is forgiveness and eternal life.

For we can build homes, we can provide relief, but one day everyone will still die.

And on that day where will we all stand?

Will we hear “well done my good and faithful servant?”

Or, “depart from me, for I never knew you?”

It is my prayer that every one of you and the people of Nepal will hear, “Welcome Home, my good and faithful servant.

For on that day, that is the only thing that will matter!

 

 

Superstitions

god knows all thingsMany people here in Nepal are superstitious. Some common superstitions include that, if a crow sits in front of your house or above the roof, and it makes the sound “Kaa-kaa,” that means a guest will come.  If a woman’s left eye starts to twitch, it’s good luck, but if a man’s right eye starts to twitch, it’s bad luck. If someone leaves from the house for a special purpose (wedding, first day of school, traveling), he or she has to eat some yogurt for good luck.

 

Yesterday the people of Nepal were very scared. Because some fortune tellers predicted that another big earthquake would strike Nepal. For this reason, many stayed outside of their homes all afternoon. Some closed their shops for the day.

When I heard the news I was just finishing up Bible study time with the kids. I told my children what was being said. And my oldest asked the question, “I thought fortune tellers weren’t real?”

The truth is often times, when faced with questions concerning fortune tellers, witches, magic etc. I have been quick to say it is all just make-believe or pretend. Basically saying that these things aren’t real. Which is what Hollywood has strived to do for years, placing witches and wizards into cartoons and dressing up old ladies as fortune tellers.

Yet, the reality is, in many parts of the world and especially in Asia, fortune tellers are very much believed, as are witch doctors in numerous places throughout the villages.

So I had to explain that though sometimes these things are made up or pretend, that this isn’t always the case. And that the real ones do have powers, powers that come not from God, but from Satan.

To which Andrew replied, “well that’s kinda of freaky.” And I smiled and agreed. Yet, I couldn’t let it end there.

So I further explained that though these fortune tellers had predicted a great earthquake, our God is greater.

The truth is, God is the only one in control.  Satan has only the powers which the Father has allowed.

I asked the kids, “What do you think will bring the Lord more glory? If there is another earthquake proving the fortune tellers correct? Or, if nothing happens, showing that it is God who is in control?

The day came and it went, and though there were small aftershocks, there was no great earthquake like the people had predicted.

Why? Because only God knows these things. Because only God is in control.

Today a lady in the Bible study group commented how yesterday while at work, her boss said they would close up shop early due to these predictions. She said that she tried to tell the lady that nothing would happen, because God was in control, but the lady would  not believe.

Another lady shared how some had believed that a large quake was going to hit this past Saturday. She is the only Christian in her family, but on Saturday her grandson came to church with her. When they got home, everyone was outside in fear of another large quake. The boys parents tried to tell them to stay outside, but the little boy told them, that he was not afraid, he was going inside with his grandma, because her God was in control.

The truth is no one can predict what the day will entail, no one know what the future holds.

Except the Lord God Almighty.

I’m so thankful that My God showed Himself mighty yesterday, proving that it is He and He alone who is in control, and that nothing can happen that He doesn’t first give His approval to.

Blessings from Nepal.

So Teach Me to Number My Days….

teach us to number our daysI can remember praying that the Lord would teach me to number my days.
That He would help me to grasp just how fleeting this life on earth really is.

It seems so often our focus is on this earthly life.  What we do, what we say, where we go are all affected by this. When in fact, our focus should be on the eternal where neither moth or rust can destroy.

In Korea one Sunday, our pastor brought a long rope to the service. On one end, there was a small section  colored red. He told us that this small section represented this life on earth, and then he showed the rest of the rope that seemed to go on forever. He said, this rope represented eternity.

I have never forgotten this, nor its implications.

When we first arrived in Nepal,  a good friend gave me some words of wisdom.

She said, “Nothing is certain in Nepal.”

Over the first few months I learned this when repairmen would say they were coming, but would fail to show up.

I learned this when I was told one thing, but another was done.

My kids have even learned this, as we have planned to take trips during school breaks, but these plans were interrupted due to strikes, water problems etc.

Yet this has become a reality now since the earthquake. As each day I grasp that life is not certain.

The Bible says life is but a vapor, and that it is the Lord who knows the length of our days.

The Lord is teaching me that truly the only thing that will last forever, is His Word

I’m learning that the only thing you can count on 100% is the Lord.

That the only thing for certain is everlasting life, found in only in Jesus.

As I have said the only thing worse than an earthquake, is the fear of another.

So each day I must ask  myself, will I live in fear today or rest in the fact that My God is on His throne?

The truth is, life is uncertain.

None of us knows what tomorrow will bring.

None of us know the number of our days.

But one thing is for certain for those who know Jesus.

That despite the uncertainties of life, our eternity with Him is for sure.

When I think about the fact that God has saved our family twice now from an earthquake, I stand amazed.

As I realize for sure that God is not done with us yet.

And I am reminded that our time on this earth is short.

Which spurs me on to want to live out each day for His glory.

Alerting me to the fact that we are Christ Ambassadors, and that God wants to use us to compel others to Christ.

Many here in Nepal feel hopeless. The number of depression has risen. This traumatic event has made a definite impact upon lives. People have many questions…

And God has us here for such a time as this.

To go out in His name and point others to Him.

No matter where in life God has you, He has you there for such a time as this. May we look to Him each day, asking Him to show us His plans for us that day. Then may we be faithful to do what He has called us to.

Blessings from Nepal.

 

Moving Forward, Post Earthquake

nepal earthquakeIt has been 2 days since the second quake rocked Nepal. Which has meant two more nights sleeping outside, two more days of waiting to see if another large aftershock would come.

We had just gotten ready to resume life as “normal”,when once again the pause button was pushed on life here in Kathmandu. Thankfully, our family was together this time, and the Lord once more protected us.

Yesterday it seemed people were at a loss with what to do, whether to go to work or stay close to home.

And to be honest my nerves were just about shot, and I caught myself responding in anger and frustration more than in kindness and love.

The what if’s are difficult. Each time I venture upstairs, I wonder what if another strikes. Each time the kids want to get something from their room, I think what if….

These are deadly words to dwell upon, “If only” and “what if”.

Yet, the reality is it is hard to move forward. Hard to let go of fear.

It seems that these earthquakes have not only shook the nation of Nepal. They have also shaken the faith of many, and shown the cracks in my own relationship with the Lord.

Recently I read of a man who is a believer, yet who is wondering where God is, in all of this.

I think many feel this way.

Personally, it is the cracks God has used the earthquakes to show me.

Cracks in my walk with Him, cracks in my relationship with my husband and kids.

Yet, He has also used the earthquakes to show me He is bigger. That He is stronger.

I have learned that He is ever faithful, as He has twice now protected our family and our home.

So how do we live “post earthquake,” here in Nepal.

I’m learning that it means taking baby steps each day. Seeking to let go of fear and trust that God is bigger.

To be honest after the second one hit, my first thought was, “Lord, I want to go home, enough of this!”

Yet, as I read Isaiah 6:8 today in my quiet time, I was reminded of my prayer before coming here.

“Here I am, send me!(Is. 6:8)”

I know that though it is difficult, though it is frightening, though it is just hard to be here right now.

That God has us here for such a time as this.

He knew when we came, this would happen.

And all I can do now is hold fast to Him and rest in Him. Clinging to Him for His perfect peace, and trusting that the same God who has now delivered us twice from major earthquakes, will deliver us in the days ahead.

Blessings from Nepal

“The Lord will give strength to His people;

the Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 30: 11

In less than a minute, life forever changed…..

earthquakeThe 7.8 earthquake that hit Nepal on April, 25th, 2015 is said to have lasted for almost a minute. A minute that felt like hours. A minute that has changed life in Nepal forever.

In less than a minute, building fell, schools were destroyed, hospital demolished, and villages devastated.

In less than a minute, thousands became trapped, and thousands died.

All in less than a minute.

As I listened to David Platt preach a sermon entitled, “A Christ-Compelled Response to Nepal.” I was struck by one statement in particular.

He said, “we should not be asking, why Nepal, we should be asking, why not us?”

Going further he explained, though Nepal is far from a Christian nation, though the country is filled with people who bow to other gods, they are no lesser a sinner than we are.

The truth is we are all sinners, in need of a Savior, no matter where we live.

The truth is we all deserve death, in fact we all deserve Hell.

But God…..

“But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”

The reality is no matter where we live, no matter what job we serve, no matter what circumstances we are in, life can change forever in less than a minute.

The Bible makes it clear that all men have been appointed to die and then face judgement (Hebrews 9:27).

Therefore, we must all be ready.

For on that day, when we stand before the Lord, it won’t matter who we were, it won’t matter what job we held, it won’t even matter how good a person we were. All that will matter is whether or not we have been set free from sin and death through the blood of Jesus.

It has been said that post earthquake Nepal is just not the same.

And that is true, thousands of lives have been forever changed.

And it all happened in less than a minute.

For many who saw the news of the earthquake on t.v., though tragic, they went about the rest of their days as if nothing happened.

But for those who lived through it, they know that death is real. They realize that life is short. They fully grasp that our life is but a vapor. They understand they must be ready.

How about you? Are you ready to stand before the Lord?

Have you put your faith and trust in Christ?

Are you depending on your good deeds or His righteousness?

I beg you “”TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, (Hebrews 3:15).”

Because life can change forever in less than a minute!

“A Christ-Compelled Response to Nepal” – (iTunes: )

 

 

 

When bad things happen… God is still God!

hokshe earthquakeWhy does God allow difficult times? Why does He allow bad things to happen to good people? These are classic questions that people have been asking for years.

After experiencing this earthquake, I have been intrigued with what the Scriptures have to say concerning earthquakes. My husband reminded me that the first earthquake took place when Korah sinned against God and the earth swallowed him and his family up. This morning I thought about the day Jesus died, and how the darkness covered the earth and the earth shook.

On Sunday, Eric preached from Acts 16, when Paul and Silas were in prison. See, they had been sent to Macedonia after receiving direction from the Lord to go. When they arrived, they had met opposition on every side, and in the end found themselves in prison,after having been beaten for no good reason. As they are in jail, the hour nears midnight, and they are singing praises to the Lord (that’s a whole other post 🙂 ) When suddenly the Bibles says there was a great earthquake. It doesn’t tell us what it registered on the Richter scale, but I’m here to tell you it had to be at least an 7-9 in order to break open the prison doors. Not only did it break open the prison doors, it broke the shackles off of each prisoner. Yet, amazingly, the prison did not crumble. Yet more amazingly is the fact that they all remained in the prison.

Having been through an earthquake, this is striking. For as soon as people felt the quake, they were out the door if at all possible. The biggest aftershock that struck a day after the massive earthquake, found me inside the house washing dishes. Yet, as soon as I felt it shake, I was out the door with the kids.

Yet, Paul and Silas and all the prisoners remained. Amazing.

But what is more wonderful, is the fact that it was because of the earthquake that the jailer and his whole family were saved.

As I look around at the destruction, I have to believe there is a bigger picture going on.

I believe in the days ahead, we will be able to look back, and see the hand of God, and how He used this disaster for His glory, for the salvation of many.

So, as our family ministers, as we go and deliver food, tents, and supplies. We go as Christ Ambassadors.

We are therefore Christ Ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ behalf, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20

In the Blink of an Eye

nepal earthquake 3Today, marks one week since the major earthquake that shook Nepal. Since then there have been numerous aftershocks. Which they say is normal, but none the less frightening.

A week ago, our family woke up to celebrate our daughter Lauren’s birthday. It was just a normal Saturday morning, the kids had friends to sleep over, and we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Then we proceeded to get ready for church. Lauren opened her gifts and was excited to get a Nepali dress that she could wear to church that day.

Church proceeded as normal, until the close of the service when earthquake struck. And in the blink of an eye, life here in Nepal changed.

This past week, the sounds of jets soaring above our house has been constant, as rescue teams have come from around the globe. Work has been done to find the living buried among the dead. Work has been done to get those wounded the medical treatment needed. Work has been done to provide tents, food, and water to those hit the worst. And the work continues, and will continue for months to come.

Today was kind of surreal, as we met in the church. It was to be honest quite unsettling to be up on the third floor. Yet, as I taught the children about the sovereignty of God, I taught myself. See, this earthquake did not take the Lord by surprise. This earthquake was not a shock to our God. And though it is tragic, and though life here has changed and the country is in turmoil. God is still on His throne.

Some may ask, why has God allowed this to happen, why did He allow some churches to collapse, why did He allow Christians to die in such a tragic way. I told the kids today, that though we can’t understand the ways of God. Though right now it doesn’t make sense. That I believe years from now we will be able to look back and see the hand of God. We will see how God took a horrific situation and used it for His good and for His glory.

Today, as we were on our way to church, we were on the public transportation. A young man who spoke great English struck up a conversation with us. He asked where we were from, (which is quite normal), but then he asked, why we were still here?

The Nepali people don’t understand why we would stay here, when we could leave. They don’t understand why we want to help their people.

Yet isn’t this why we came, so that we can be His hands and His feet?

In the blink of an eye, life here was forever changed. In the blink of an eye, families lost loved ones, and homes were destroyed. Yet, the reality is in each of our lives, that is all it takes. Whether in the States or on the mission field, lives are changed in the blink of an eye.

The question is not why God allows such things to take place, the question is are we ready if He does? Are we ready to stand before Him?

The question isn’t why, the question is will we praise Him even when tragedy strikes?

I don’t know where you are today, I don’t know what difficulties you may be facing. Yet, I do know that God is with you. He is walking right beside you. I do know that regardless of what happens, He is worthy of our praise, and has told us to give thanks in all circumstances.

I challenge you as He has challenged me to rest in Him. To rest in His sovereignty, and know that He is completely in control.