Nepal Chapel: "He must increase, and I must decrease."
And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: "This is what the LordAlmighty said: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.'
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
During Wednesday morning's Chapel service, the 2017 Nepal Team shared what impacted each of them during their brief time of service this past summer.
Senior Davin Hearn shared how she has wanted to go on the Nepal trip since seeing her first Nepal Chapel in 7th Grade. She was excited to go, but worried she'd built up her expectations too high. "Boy was I wrong. My expectations were exceeded." She shared how the way she felt cared for by the people they met in Nepal, and the way they self-sacrificially cared for the most needy showed her what it means to, in it's simplest form, lover you neighbor."
Senior Johnny Lu shared about working with recent alum Alex Lee-Papastavros '17 and two adult students, Laya and Amit, at ABBS – a school for people with intellectual disabilities. Laya's raw emotion and energy were intimidating at first. Amit, on the other hand, was quiet and still. Both left a lasting impression because of their genuine tenderness and expression of love. "Their stories showed Alex and me how you can never know an intellectually disabled person until you enter their world and embrace their unique love and personality."
Alumni Que Min '17 returned to Nepal for a second time this year. She explained how she fell in love in Nepal last year in "The Green Room" at ABBS. "I expected another memorable experience in The Green Room. But God had different plans. Instead I was summoned to a small class of only four students in The Purple Room." She spent a lot of time with Manasa, a little girl with Down Syndrome. Manasa worked tirelessly to teach Que the words and motions to her favorite songs. "As I looked into her eyes, I realized just who was the teacher and who was the student."
Mrs. Sarah Belk shared how after hearing years of stories about Nepal, having worked in and travelled to developing countries, and having worked through college in group homes for people with special needs, she though perhaps seeing the Himalayas would be the most stunning experience of the trip. "But I was wrong. I did see the Himalayas, and they were stunning," but what truly stunned her was seeing the way people were cared for in and by a community of selfless people. "Here in America, we are encouraged to focus on building, creating, forging ourselves. We want to be significant and important – to be somebody." But the spirit at ABBS was the opposite. There, the spirit is that of John the Baptist, who said of Jesus: He must increase. I must decrease. "As the teachers serve there, their egos don't take up space; thus, love can fill it."
Senior Ian Weston shared about the work of the Lydia House, which works to prevent young women from being victims of human trafficking by giving them marketable skills as tailors. At the end of the program, each woman is given a sewing machine, which they can use to make a living for themselves. This year, the team presented the Lydia House with $1000 that BTA students raised to purchase 10 new sewing machines. He also shared about meeting Rasham, a former Hindu who has been arrested 24 times for preaching that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life. "Through these two experiences, my eyes have been widened to God's beauty and plan in Nepal."
Finally, Mrs. Judy Oulund shared how the kids at the Hope House orphanage have grown. "Years ago, when the kids were 3-5 years old, we held a joint birthday party with balloons, games, gifts, and special treats. Now, they are 14-16, so we took them out to east at a lakeside restaurant in Pokhara and had a dance party!"
Students were encouraged to think of how they can give generously to support Hope House, Lydia House, and ABBS. "Generosity is a life skill that you really want to develop. You will never regret it. I'm amazed at the way God works through gifts, however small I have given. When I give, I'm connected to the person, project, or country – and it feels good! I belong to a larger community, and in this case, a community halfway around the world! God does indeed have the whole world in his hands, and you can be a part of seeing him at work in his world!"