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Spotlight on Kathmandu

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For ten days in March this year, I had the privilege going to Kathmandu, Nepal, and teaching Christian pastors and theology students the book of Hebrews. It was my third trip back to the scenic, dusty, bustling Nepal. Here are some things I observed during my most recent stay:

Trademark Traffic

“Traffic is organized chaos” explained my Nepali driver above the honking as our motorbike wove between lanes. It was amazing to see how all road users adapted to the settings around them. Broken traffic lights potholes and stray dogs were little deterrents.

Every country has “traffic hot spots” but some are more surprising than most—for everyone! Take this elephant I saw walking down the street, a rare sight these days; he sets his own pace.

A Country Under the Pump

Living with a shortage of petrol and electricity was a harsh reality for Nepali people after the earthquake. In New Zealand, a quick trip and a “fill her up mate” to the petrol station attendant takes 10 minutes, right? Ask what its really like in Nepal and you’ll hear stories of people waiting up to five days in line for a mere five litres of petrol due to post-quake fuel shortage! Not surprisingly there was something of a black market–and who wouldn’t be tempted to buy petrol this way. Thankfully on this trip, the fuel blockade imposed by India was over, and supply and wait times for petrol were back to normal.

With Nepal currently experiencing a hot, dry season, “load-shedding” is a common problem. As a result, frequent and untimely power cuts occur to ensure the finite amount of electricity is fairly distributed around the villages. According to the local paper, Nepal aims to upgrade to a “developing country” by 2022. New hydroelectric stations are no doubt part of that plan.

Resilience and Change

The challenges facing Nepal aren’t minor. Yet their difficulties only seem to increase their resilience and desire to move forward. In spite of these challenging obstacles the students showed up and came ready to learn. By God’s grace, the church is humbly making a contribution. It is my prayer that the church sets a good example on how to endure present trials. Persevering through them means seeing them in light of God’s plan for people to practice justice and righteousness (James 5:7-8).

It’s been great to see their faith in action.

Dr. Richard Fountain is the Australasia Program Coordinator for Dallas Theological Seminary, and Senior Lecturer in Ministry at Edenz College, Auckland, New Zealand.

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