Well, this is the big week — we’ve finished our dedicated time of Nepali language study, and Joel is diving into the UMN Executive Director role. He’ll have four weeks of handover with the current director, Mark, so that’s a blessing. Please pray for us throughout the transition!
Isaac is sleeping somewhat better than he was, but alas, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. So please do keep praying that he’ll start sleeping through the night, rather than needing a parent to come in and help him settle down.
On the praise front, since our last update we have had good health, increasingly good life rhythms, and much greater emotional peace as we come to this big transition. We’ve started going to a good weekly Bible study group, and while we’re still visiting local churches, we have a good idea which one may be right for us. So spiritually we’re also getting more of the community we need.
Our travel around Nepal with Fiona’s parents was wonderful — many thanks to all of you who prayed for that trip! We were able to visit three different villages where UMN partners were working. (At one, Caleb and Isaac promptly grabbed sticks and began chasing the local chickens, but thankfully they were stopped before destroying anyone’s livelihood.)
On that short visit, we saw a range of anti-poverty benefits from UMN’s work. Some villagers are now indoor-smoke free thanks to the introduction of improved cookstoves. Women’s savings groups have invested in new livelihoods (the piggery in one village was particularly impressive) and are more self-reliant. Formerly malnourished children are now being fed well. Praise God.
We also got to see the remarkable legacy of UMN work — including our parents’ work during the 1980s. We stayed for two days at the Butwal Technical Institute, where Fiona’s father worked for years to promote rural hydropower solutions, and which continues to train Nepali engineers (long since independent of UMN). We spent a night in Tansen, where Fi was born and where the UMN hospital continues to save lives today.
And we visited the Andhikhola Dam, on which Joel’s father was chief engineer (and Fi’s father was the Kathmandu-based manager of UMN’s hydro projects at the time). It was extraordinary to take Caleb out at night, show him the lights on all the surrounding hillsides, and tell him that thanks to his grandfathers’ work there was electricity in all those villages and hundreds more we couldn’t even see.
It was so good to have Fiona’s parents for a long visit early in our time here. Of course Caleb and Isaac now miss their grandparents even more than before — almost every time Isaac hears a plane going overhead he points and calls “Gamma” and “Mampa” in tones that range from wistful to frantic. It’s a joy whenever we can talk on Skype.
Now we’ve just come back from a wonderful 4-day UMN expatriate retreat where we spent time with other mission partners, were thoroughly prayed for, and had some good play time and swimming with the boys. A good start to the new phase of our life here!
Thanks so much for praying with us.