I have really enjoyed my phone and Skype conversations with the team. I actually just got off the phone with Staci, since she is actually in my time zone. We caught up, encouraged each other, talked about music (yay!) and had some good prayer time together, too. I have tried to touch base with each student a few times since December. It's hard, though, with the time difference and crazy busy schedules...especially with finals upon most of the students right now. We also have a group conversation on Facebook, which has been an easy way to send quick reminders and notes to the team. You know, things like info on required immunizations, quizzes on Nepali vocabulary, and even interesting facts about Nepal. It has been a fun "journey" so far for us, and I think we are all really starting to feel the excitement of what the real journey is going to be like!
And now for the information on our itinerary. As I told the team, "One of the keys in mission is to remain flexible, and that will be true, especially due to the Nepali culture. I personally am fine with it because I have had experience changing plans on mission trips....and have always seen that God was doing something! So, please know that nothing (except our flights!) is in stone. More details and plans will emerge as we get closer to the date." So, this is an overview and I am sure things will change (all the more reason to keep up with our blog)!
The team will gather in New Wilmington on Friday, May 31st. After a Commissioning Service, our orientation will begin and continue through Saturday, June 1st. On Sunday, June 2nd, we will go to church at NWPC and will leave in the afternoon to head to Dulles International Airport. Our flight leaves that night, and we will arrive for a long layover in Doha, Qatar on Monday. We'll have some time to explore Doha and will spend the night in a hotel there. Tuesday morning we will board our flight to Kathmandu, and we will arrive in the late afternoon.
Here is what I have shared with the team about our itinerary:
While in Kathmandu, the team will be staying in the Koinonia Patan Church’s Mission Guest House, which is walking distance from the church. Over 20 orphans and widows live there, too, so the team will get to spend time with them, including fellowship and meals.
The team will be participating in weekday leadership training courses with the leaders of the Koinonia Patan Church congregation, including some teaching. Every Friday evening, the team members will work with the church’s Youth Fellowship (youth ages 14-35). This time will be spent teaching and enjoying fellowship. The team will also teach classes every Saturday morning for ages ranging from 5-25, followed by Saturday worship with the entire congregation.
There will also be a possible building or painting project for the team, where they will work alongside some Nepali college-aged students.
During their fourth week in Nepal, the team will travel to one of the daughter churches of Koinonia Patan Church. This will be in a village where the team members will stay in the homes of congregation members. There will be opportunities for worship, evangelism, fellowship, and living in a more rural part of Nepal.
In addition, team members will be able to visit local temples and learn about the Hindu/Buddhist culture of Nepal. They will also schedule visits to mission offices such as UMN (United Mission to Nepal) and SIL (National and International). There are more possibilities for sightseeing, learning about local organizations and national issues, prayer walks, visiting area universities, and enjoying the beauty of Nepal on hikes and outings nearby.
Please continue to pray for our team, for the Koinonia Patan Church, who are our hosts and partners while we are there, and also for Pastor Mangal, their head pastor. We need prayers for our Nepali learning, too, as well as the details like what we need to pack, what we don't need to pack, and tying up loose ends as we will be gone for almost two months.
Thanks so much, everyone! More will be posted soon in this next month.
Blessings to you all,