Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Church in Nepal

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dear Friends & Family,

A friend asked me a few questions about the church in Nepal so I decided I would write something about this today. 

Nepal is an interesting place:

(1) No matter where we are in the world, it might be 7 AM at home and 12:00 PM elsewhere, but the hours or minutes all match—if it is 7:30 somewhere it is 10:30 elsewhere.  But in Nepal, it is 15 minutes off—at home right now it is 2:30 AM.  In Nepal it is 3:15 PM.  Shouldn’t it be 3:30 PM instead?  I have no idea why, but then I still don’t understand how phones really work, the Internet, computers, airplanes, and giant ships that can float in the ocean.  I’m no dummy…

(2) Except in the 7th Day Adventist Church, Christians have church on Sunday, as do we.  In Nepal, church is on Saturday because of the way the government works or something--who knows why?  All I know is that today we went to church at the one Branch in Nepal and it is Saturday.

There are no missionaries here and the mission president resides in India where they do have young missionaries.  The two couples that live here reside only at the grace of the government because we have agreed to do a certain number of humanitarian projects.  One couple takes care of church donations like emergency relief (last winter they donated a ton of blankets because of a colder winter), wheelchairs, NRT (neo-natal resuscitation), etc.  The other couple (such as Elder & Sister Rempp) does the water projects and latrines and only through TRUST & CHOICE as part of our agreement with the government. 

These couples are requested to ‘dress down’ so that they will not stand out and cause a problem and draw attention.  When E/S Rempp went to get their visas (they have to renew them regularly), they were dressed too nicely.  The man wanted them to hire their daughter to clean their house and someone had to get them out of there.  When they meet with the government they wear tags with LDS Charities on them and not the ones that say The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They don’t often wear their tags unless they are on an official errand or at church.

The members here cannot teach the Gospel to their friends openly, but they do manage to bring investigators to church.  Members have to wait for the people to ask and not approach others, but the government lets them meet in this Branch.  Interestingly enough, they send quite a few young men and women on missions from this branch.  At the beginning it might be a way to travel, but by the time they get back, most of them are quite strong in the Gospel.  It is hard for the girls to get married here because they don’t have as many young men as young women in the church, and we hear that men in Nepal don’t often treat their wives very well and they are sometimes polygamists or simply have girlfriends on the side.  The young returned missionaries hopefully have a better testimony and have long since changed the way they think about marriage and family and therefore the girls do want to marry them.

Karen with Priti Khadgi (see story below).  It is interesting that her first name sounds like ‘pretty’.   Her family was the first in Nepal to join the church.

Today we met a beautiful young woman who had served a mission on Temple Square.  As most people who serve there, they also go elsewhere part of the time to serve a more typical mission, so she also went to Twin Falls, Idaho and was also in Phoenix, Mesa & Gilbert, Arizona and was endowed at the Mesa Temple.  She told me how the church began here in Nepal: her father owned a printing shop and met the adult couple that was serving here at the time.  Her father loved to talk to people and became acquainted with this couple.  He began asking those questions and was the first convert in Nepal.  Soon his entire family joined the church and that was how this Branch began. 

Today in church they showed the CD’s that the church sends out to branches that don’t receive satellite transmissions of General Conference.  But they kind of do an overkill—they showed one session, stopping to have several people assigned to translate it for those who really don’t speak much English, so it took a lot longer to get through it.  Jim and I had watched all of Conference before we left home, so after the first one we left with Rempp’s, who had also watched Conference on their computer.  After the branch was to watch this they had some lemonade to drink and then were going to watch another session of Conference—it was going to be a long day for them and I don’t know how many last through the entire day.  Afterwards they were going to have lunch for them.  This is not unusual though in other countries we have been to; however, there was no translation in between.  In Nepal not very many people speak English, and the ones that do, speak very little.  Rakesh and Kiran are the exception, but sometimes we have to listen very closely to understand their accents.  Even though many people that work with CHOICE are members of the church, Kiran is not, and Rakesh, who works on endless boards like TRUST and does an amazing amount of humanitarian work, also is not a member.

Sister Rempp visiting with Rakesh’s wife at the Mongolian Barbecue; Greg Rempp on her right, then Elder Mendenhall.  Mendenhall’s were in the MTC with our friends the Burns’s, both on their way to serve their missions.  Burns’s are serving in Sierra Leone.

Last night we met at the Mongolian Bar-be-cue that they have at the Shangri La Hotel that is quite famous.  We had dinner with the Mendenhall’s (the other Nepal couple), Rempp’s, and Rakesh and his wife.  It was a lovely evening, dining outside with an incredible array of foods to eat, but my favorite is picking out the vegetables and meats to watch them stir-fry it while I wait. 

On a side note, the Area Welfare Manager, Elder Dodson and his wife, are no longer able to come to Nepal because he has a serious health problem.  We hope to meet him in Hong Kong if we can, because we will be working with them on the projects in Nepal and Mongolia.

Before eating the Mongolian barbecue at the Shangri La Hotel.

Till next time…

Love Mom & Dad, E/S Greding, Jim & Karen

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