Saturday, March 31, 2012

Prayer for Joshua...

We are currently in Kathmandu for some meetings, and the boys have been enjoying time to play/hang out with friends at a nice resort.  In the frolicking along the stone path, Joshua was dropped by a friend and landed on his head.  He appears at the moment to have a mild concussion.  Will you please pray that this is all that he has and that he will fully recover?

A recent quotable quote from Joshua: I often order edible goods from a store in Tansen to feed these six guys for whom I care (and you should see the volume that they can consume on a weekly basis!).  Anyway, our goods (known as “saaman”) were being delivered by a new carrier who didn’t know which house is ours.  The carrier encountered Josh playing outside and spoke to him in Nepali, using the word “saaman.”  He ran inside to announce to me that someone was here to give me “salmon.”  “Wow,” I thought, “we live in a landlocked country and we are getting salmon!"  Thanks for the laugh, Jovial Joshua!


The harvest...

The fields are white for harvest; please pray to the Lord of the harvest to send his workers.  Continually, we are confronted with abundance of work to be done here in Nepal and such a shortage of workers.  Every once in a while, I feel the nudging inside to make the call to my own wonderful country where workers exceed available jobs.  Do you love God?  Do you have knowledge about computers and understand of software?  Or do you like hiking, depending upon God instead of material comforts, making new discoveries, or contemplating all of the different ways that mankind expresses his existence. 

Well, I make a call for workers, for the sake of Nepal.  Tansen Mission Hospital is looking for an IT specialist who can help the hospital take the next step in computer technology; they currently have nobody with the knowledge to help them take the next step.  They seek a three year commitment, during which time a local Nepali can be trained to keep the technology functional for the long term, they hope.  The second call is for sociolinguistic surveyors for this part of the world; this is the call to adventure!  Are there any workers available for the harvest?

:-) Kimberly

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Long time, no write...

Many thoughts have flitted through my head in the last month (that I think I should write about) but I just haven’t focused on doing it.  Now, I am having a week’s break from hospital work and it seems like a good time to write.
There is this woman who cleans in the hospital who has the most beautiful smile.  I frequently greet her as I am walking in the hospital corridors, but I haven’t really gotten to know her.  The other day, I met her on the path and we talked for a bit.  She is the first wife of a man in town, but since she didn’t produce children for him, he took another wife.  He is still married to both women, who have both come to live in his familial town, as is the custom in Nepal, but now that she has proved fruitless, she lives alone while he stays mostly with the wife who has given him children.  She experiences grief, but she accepts her lot in life.  She has found work at the hospital which helps her afford to care for herself.  And more importantly, she has found peace and solace in Jesus Christ.  Yes, she suffers here, but this life is brief and she knows that one day the wedding feast with her Husband, who is the King of kings, will come.  And then her joy will be complete.
I wonder how many of you have read The Hunger Games  We hear it’s the rage in America these days.  Because of Nick’s and Nate’s interest in the books, I bought them before we came to Tansen this year.  Now, all of us, except for Josh, have read the series.  I have been thinking about how these fictional books apply to my life, here and now, in the twenty first century, in Tansen, Nepal.  I have been thinking about this because my mind keeps trying to conceive of a way to fix the systems in Nepal that oppress so many people.  I look at the medical system and desire to make changes.
There are so many people whom we cannot help.  They have come to the hospital years too late, having ignored symptoms of illness until the illness has progressed to destruction of vital organs.  Then they come and plead for a cure.  Most of them are beyond cure.  Then there are those like the young woman who had abdominal pain, so she went to the local shaman.  He told her that her birth control was causing her pain, so she abandoned that.  She didn’t improve, so he tattooed her wrist, wrapped a tourniquet around her arm, placed a fetish around her neck and prescribed a diet of ashes to cure her illness.  Now, she is in the hospital seeking our help: she has a baby in her womb that she wants us to get rid of, she still has abdominal pain, she has elevated liver enzymes, she is anemic, her mental status is slightly altered and none of our tests really point to a specific diagnosis.  What would you do?
The other day, I was asked to read an ECG and look at a chest X-ray of a patient who came to the female outpatient department.  I reviewed these and found evidence of an enlarged heart in a potentially dangerous rhythm (SVT).  I quickly called the patient to come to my room.  However, she didn’t show up for several hours.  The common procedure for patients is that they get some tests, they go for lunch, they wait several hours and they hope to see the doctor before the day is finished.  This patient’s shortness of breath and chest pain did not qualify her for more urgent attention, so her family thought.  I guess they were out for lunch when I was calling for the patient.
Speaking of enduring pain, I cannot tell you how many older women I see who have limb deformities.  When asked, they tell me about some time when they fell and broke a bone, but they did not receive any treatment.  And speaking of broken bones, last Saturday was another typical day at Tansen Mission Hospital.  On Saturdays, we only take emergency cases; nine kids were admitted for broken bones after falling out of trees.
An elderly woman in our neighborhood, as well as some local kids, has taken to using our yard as a bathroom.  Is there any need to wonder why worms and giardia are endemic here?  So, I think to myself, if we could just convince Nepal’s populace of the importance of the use of latrines and avoidance of defecation in the open, we could significantly improve the health status of the citizens in this country.  But, I know that many have tried to change this system over the years, but still the problem persists.  This reminds me of a recent letter I read about an area of Nepal more remote than where we are.  Somebody from the west decided that it would be good for kids in this area of Nepal to learn to use computers.  So, they generously donated computers to the local school.  In this particular area, fewer than 30% of inhabitants use a latrine.  Most defecate in or near the river that is also the village’s water source.  So, they are learning to use computers and dying of diarrhea.  Does something seem wrong with this picture to you too?
On the topic of changing systems…I keep racking my brain to come up with ways to change the systems here (medical, sanitation, government, educational, etc.)…and I keep realizing that I do not have the power to make real, lasting, effective change.  Changing human behavior is a very complex enterprise, even when it is for the good of the humans you are trying to influence.  So, I abandon my ideas again, and I ask the God of the Universe what I should do today.  What it really seems to boil down to is this: I can give wise advice, I can prescribe medicines that may or may not cure illness, and most importantly, I can make connections with humans who so often need a loving and caring touch.  So, do I practice medicine or does my knowledge of medicine simply offer me the opportunity to come into contact with many hurting people to whom I can show love?  I am not entirely sure.
On our journey into Kathmandu Josh asked me to listen to an Adventure in Odyssey episode with him.  I am always amazed at how God can speak wisdom to me in so many different ways; here is the quote that inspired me recently: “Love is never for nothing; it always does good, even when we don’t see it.”  So, I press on to love those around me.  There is no greater endeavor.
Sometimes the opposite of love is trying to control people.  Returning to my thoughts about The Hunger Games: one small group of people is controlling the vast majority of people in a fictional country, and as always happens: power corrupts men and women.  So, if I had the power to change systems here in Nepal, for the people’s good of course, would I also corrupt in time and end up oppressing those people for my own pleasure/comfort/gain?  Now my mind goes to the infinite wisdom of God.   His plan turns out to trump all other ideas.  Man needs free will to truly thrive.  True, he is free to choose life and free to choose death, but without freedom, there is certain pain, suffering and oppression.  And Christ came to set us free, from the chains of sin and death.  And we now can set others free also. 
In conclusion, I think I will not make any significant changes to the systems that hurt people here in Nepal.  But I can love my neighbors, I can seek to understand and reach the hearts of those I have the privilege to relate to, I can check my own tendencies toward controlling others, and I can point out the way to Christ, the only one who can truly grant us the freedom that we were made to enjoy.  Until I see Him face to face, that will be my goal.
“If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” (I Cor. 13:3)
Thanks for listening to my rambling!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

signs of Life...

Nepali boys display a snake

As I began my morning walk today it was if the Lord was in my steps propelling me forward, behind my back gently urging me upward with his kind and gently guiding hand.  As I traversed the steep south-facing ridge above our house my breathing seemed lighter, my senses felt sharper.  I walk this same route almost daily, but today felt different; It was almost as if I was reawakening from a recent slumber. 

As I walk I notice how crisp the air seems, how close the town nestled on a plateau several hundred feet below my meandering path, appears against the dark green background of the surrounding forested hills and bright-blue morning sky.  I take in the beauty of the intricately delicate flowers, just beginning their Spring bloom, that line the trail’s edge.  My ears straining to discern the individual contributions of several varieties of mountain song-birds, each fulfilling their intended duties (part) in an amazing, seemingly orchestrated, cacophony of praise to their creator.  My heart joins in agreement as I pass through their pine and rhododendron- covered forest home that makes up the normal path of my early morning exercise jaunt.  And as I crest the ridge I am met by a cool north breeze rushing down from the nearby Himalayas.  I drink it all in, the majestic snow-covered peaks, some nearly 26,000 feet high and a mere 40 miles away, reach high into the northern sky, contrasting starkly against the deep blue hue of the heavens beyond into Tibet.  Today they stand so clear, so vivid, that I feel I could almost reach out and touch them!  God, what an amazing world you have created!
The morning sun hits the nearby Himalayas: You can almost reach out and touch them!
It has been a while since our last “Snippets” (just over six weeks), and as you could probably tell from the tenor of the last missive, or at least from the circumstances mentioned therein (e.g. sicknesses, water shortages and battles with the rats), life was feeling a bit overwhelming for us all.  Today, as I was walking, I realized that we had slowly slipped into a bit of a fog of living UNDER those circumstances. Over the past month, although the circumstances have not changed significantly enough to warrant natural heart change (although we THINK we finally won against the rats!), God has begun to return signs of life and hope to the Beine family currently residing in Tansen, Nepal.  May we share with you a few of the circumstances (through short story form) that he is using to accomplish this?

The jeep accident
You might remember me writing in July about a nasty incident that occurred when the brakes failed on a jeep coming down the hill outside the hospital causing it to crash through the hospital wall! Just a few minutes earlier there were 20 or so people waiting by the gate right where the jeep crashed. That same morning, however, the guard had let them in five minutes earlier, so 10 o'clock when the jeep came through the wall there was no one there. There are many different possible scenarios of a speeding vehicle careening down the hill in one of Tansen's busiest intersections, but a scenario without a number of serious injuries or deaths is difficult to imagine. Yet like a miracle, a femur fracture on one of the jeep’s passengers was the most serious personal injury. One of the employees of the hospital on her way to work was one of the first people coming to the scene of the accident. She heard one of the men shout: "He saved us all, Jesus saved us all." Another man asked, "which Jesus?" and he was told "The Jesus on the hospital sign"! The nearby Tansen Mission Hospital sign reads “We Serve, Jesus Heals!”  
The new wall

The wall is now fixed and the fresh paint serves as a reminder to us all that although the evil one wants to kill, destroy and ruin, God has placed His angels on the walls around Tansen Mission Hospital.  Join us in praying for the many patients who we touch daily who need to come to know this God that cares so much for them!

Our Continuing Adoption Journey
Two years ago we told you about baby Tamang, a baby girl abandoned here at the hospital. We were asked (and were ready) to adopt her, but US regulations and the inability to get papers for her
two of the three neglected children
made it impossible. In the end, after a month living in the corner of the nurse’s station, by God’s grace she was adopted to a Nepali family living in western Nepal. And last year three local children were found in a miserable state, dirty, malnourished and full of worms. Their father was an alcoholic and wasn’t caring for them and their mother had been working abroad and the family hadn’t heard from her in three years. They were admitted to the nutrition rehab center in Tansen while the father tried, unsuccessfully to rehab. He said he couldn’t care for all three and wanted to give up the two younger children. We were asked if we might be 

A happy (and healthy) reunited family
willing to consider adopting them, but unfortunately, or so we thought at the time, the US government has made it impossible for Americans to adopt here due to much abuse in then adoption system. As a result the father and children were taken in by a Nepali family in the church. Then a few months ago, to everyone’s surprise, the mother returned home. Having now slowly gotten to know the kids again, they have moved to a small mud house and once again live together as a family. The kids are happy and energetic and the mom has said that her husband has now stopped drinking and that he makes money so they all have food to eat. So, we can see God’s hand in all of this.
So, although we were deeply disappointed that neither of these opportunities worked out for us personally, we now see God’s wisdom in both these cases, and the adoption saga continues for us. We still want to adopt two Nepali orphaned sisters, but it seems impossible at the moment. So, we wait. We have begun searching in the USA (via domestic adoption), but thus far we haven’t found any orphaned Nepali sister there either. Go figure! So, we are still waiting… for God either to fulfill the desire somehow… take away the desire for these girls to be South Asian… or take away the desire to adopt all together. You can join us in praying for that. If we are going to adopt, we want to do so before Dave turns 50 in one year. .

Has thou no scar?
Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierc├Ęd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?
This is a poem that I read years ago by early missionary pioneer to India Amy Carmichael.  We are currently reading a book where this poem was again featured.  Over the past few months, although we still face various physical, cultural and personal challenges, God has reminded us that he is enough for us.  And we have certainly grown through the circumstances and we are content to discover his presence (and provision) in the midst of our difficulties, rather than asking him to take them away.  We were recently “comparing notes” with another American doctor who splits his year between his home country and serving at a remote hospital here in Nepal.  He commented how difficult it is to go back and forth because he sees (and personally experiences) so much suffering here, while the church in our homeland mainly seeks entertainment, comfort and safety and seems to be so devoid of any theology of suffering.  We sometimes share the same struggle of trying to reconcile our two very different worlds.  I just finished reading the book of Matthew and it is clear that if we follow him as his disciples we will suffer (See Matthew 24:9).  And Paul makes the bold assertion:
"For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ,
not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake." 
Philippians 1:29
So, hast thou no scar?

Having said that, we have one current circumstance that, although it is causing us to grow tremendously in our maturity communication and faith, we would like to ask you to join us in praying about.  We have now had our first (several actually) tastes of the age-old turbulent adolescent struggle known as “teenage.”  And although we are experiencing what is probably a normal level of male teenage hormones, peer influence, defiance, uncertainty of beliefs, etc., (you seasoned parents are probably laughing at us about now), this is OUR first teenager so it feels perplexing and overwhelming at times.  Please join us in praying for our oldest, that we would have patience and wisdom in walking with him through it, and that the Lord would make himself real to Nick in his good timing.    
Okay, that gives you plenty to be praying for.

Dave (for all)

P.S.  here are a few pictures from the past month

Now THAT is a rat!

Josh and mom at church

Girls from the local ethnic Magar tribe along the trail during y morning walk   
Nick playing guitar during worship