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CMS news letter

December 2018

Dear friends,

“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” Ephesians 3:17-18


Andrew writes…

It was a great surprise for me to end up in hospital. It was not until we were in Tansen and faced with some steep hill climbs that I realised how breathless I had become. I had no idea what was going on in my body. I hadn’t felt any pain anywhere, yet clearly something was happening inside. As we were staying at the hospital, I asked for an appointment with a doctor there. They found I had an anomaly on my ECG and possibly some build-up of fluid around my heart. The doctor was not happy with these results and told me to make an appointment with a cardiologist in Kathmandu as soon as we returned. I am very glad we did. On doing some initial tests, I was admitted to the critical care unit at the Norvic International Hospital.

Andrew recovering in hospital

By the same evening, and after a host of tests, they had discovered the pulmonary embolism and started me on treatment with anticoagulants. The next morning, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was found in both legs!

Things become a bit of a blur after that as I then had a night of pain from an enlarged gall bladder, in which was discovered a gallstone. I was put on some strong painkillers that tended to knock me out. After six days in critical care I was beginning to make a good recovery and then, after two days on an ordinary ward, I was allowed to go home. I have to say that the medical care and attention were excellent and aided my recovery. Andrea pulled out the stops with everything she had to do, which included bringing my meals each day!

Andrea writes…

In between hospital visits, and while going to the local shops, I would be asked: “Where is sir”? After replying that he was in hospital, I would explain that Andrew was very ill and needed expert care. After their sympathetic response their next question would be: “Who is staying with him?” In Nepali culture, when someone is in hospital, it is usual to see lots of family members taking turns to stay and bringing meals at appropriate times. Others may be asked to fetch medicines, pay bills, or take blood tests to a laboratory. In the eyes of our Nepali neighbours, I was seen as all alone and having to cope with this difficult circumstance. In fact, the opposite was true. I received help from many different sources and felt completely upheld by your prayers and the support from family and friends in the UK and friends and colleagues here in Kathmandu.

I am very thankful for people like our local taxi driver, Babu Ram, as he took me to the hospital and across Kathmandu to deliver blood samples, pick up essentials for Andrew and acted as a calm interpreter in some frustrating negotiations. Maya, a young woman who had worked for our daughter Anna, came to my rescue to help me in the house a few hours a week. Maya already runs her own café, has a part time job as a cook and two young children and yet was willing to come to my aid when she heard about Andrew. Anita, who works in our local coffee shop, told me to please let her know if we needed anything, as we were family. I could go on!

Babu Ram, our very helpful driver

Through these experiences, we learned more about the mystery of love and faith. The care and concern shown by so many kept us together. This was brought home to us through a recent time of prayer when we read this quote by John Main OSB: “The meaning of life is the mystery of Love; just as the roots of the trees hold firm the soil, so it is the roots of Love that hold the ground of our being together.”

Rewinding to pre-pulmonary embolism and DVT’s, just before we left for Tansen we organised another Listening Skills course for the new UMN interns. It is always encouraging to engage with the young people who spend a year working with UMN gaining experience of a Christian development organisation.

Apart from Andrews’s breathlessness, our three weeks in Tansen went to plan. The children’s club went smoothly and it was God’s provision for us to be assisted by Suzanne, who is a drama teacher and mum to two year old Bobbi. We also had the help of Peggy from Texas, who was visiting Tansen with her husband. It was wonderful to have their support. The flat that we stayed in had a long corridor that was perfect for offering more messy activities in – you can see it in the photo. Biscuit making was a good start to each day and the children had the choice of puppets, sand tray play, planting seeds, painting pots, calligraphy or drama, but we think the most popular activity was listening to a Famous Five audiobook. Good old Enid Blyton!

Messy craft time at the children’s club

The second week was spent meeting the adult team members, checking with them and putting our own listening skills to the test. We were helped by the fact that our flat came with a house help who happened to be an excellent cook, Bimala. She created some lovely meals which helped us to entertain our visitors. We were impressed by the faith and trust Bimala demonstrated to us in her attitude to life. Left alone with two daughters to raise, in a society where there is no financial help, she still displayed firm resilience and trust that God would provide for her. We spent a lovely evening with her family when she invited us for a meal.

Listening skills practice

The last week was the busiest for Andrea as she was helping to facilitate the therapeutic play skills course. It was a privilege to introduce new approaches in therapeutic play for children to Deborah and Binu, who work with children in the hospital, and Angela, Rita and Rena, who work in the local orphanage. We spent time practicing these new skills in both places and it was exciting to see them develop in this new area. We hope and pray that we have planted seeds of change that will be nurtured in the coming months and years.

Participants on the therapeutic play skills course

Andrew connected once again with the hospital pastoral team when he was invited to lead morning devotions. Pastor Vishnu invited us to share a meal with him and his family; this turned out to be quite a lively affair with his five children performing songs and dance for us.

As we begin to look towards returning to the UK for our home leave, we reflect that although our two years here has been a tough time health wise, we can still rejoice that the kingdom of God grows silently and imperceptibly here in Nepal. We are looking forward to sharing with you all face to face during our time in the UK, which will be from early January until early May.

God’s peace and love to you all,

Andrea and Andrew