Saturday, the normal day of worship in Nepal, we chose to continue attending the church right beside our home even though Nafzigers were gone. The pastor graciously gave an English summary of the message; otherwise we observed the praise and worship expressed through greetings, songs, offerings (including a reading of the names of those who tithed) and message in Nepali. But visiting after the service, we made an amazing connection – Phil and Pratiksha Tyson who had met at Hesston College. Phil is from Virginia and Pratiksha is Nepali having gone to Woodstock School. Her connection to Hesston College was through David Osborne who taught a semester of English at Woodstock while on sabbatical from Hesston. He was the foreign student advisor at Hesston and Cookie worked with him in the early-2000s. They have just arrived in Nepal and are in Kathmandu to work with a children’s organization. Pratiksha’s father, who was also at the service, knew Elena’s brother-in-law, Dan Spare.
We woke early Sunday morning to send Bikash to the Top of the World shop with the baked goods and the cash drawer monies only to remember (after he left) that we also have the TOW computer at the house. Usually the computer stays at the shop, but we had taken it home for security purposes during the week-long Dashain holiday. So Dave made a quick trip to deliver the computer. He was greeted at the door by Mark and Darlene Keller who have come here to visit their children Luke and Leah, MCC country reps. Mark and Darlene lived in North Newton during the 1980s and Mark worked at MCC Central States.
By 10 o’clock, it seemed like everyone was doing their jobs. Coffee was being roasted, pies, cakes, and brownies were being baked and the computer was running smoothly. So we went down the road to English-language KICC (Katmandu International Christian Congregation). Yes, we have been going to church twice each weekend. As much as we enjoy the liveliness and warmth of the Nepali fellowship, it is also good to worship in our own language. After church the congregation mingled in the yard outside the auditorium. We made our way outside to enjoy some chai, found a spot in the shade to drink it and made another amazing connection – the woman we visited with, Sissy, is in a small group with Elena’s cousin Merle Busenitz and his wife Ann. They are currently living in North Carolina, but were long-term SIL workers in Papua New Guinea which is where Sissy met them. Many years ago, Elena and the Busenitz family including three little girls lived in Elbing at the same time. Now the three daughters are grown and living on their own.
As we were parking the motorcycle back at the Top of the World, Anita came out to tell us a friend of Dale’s was waiting to see Dave. What a joy and surprise to see Dave’s cousin, Dan Jantzen. Dan is a son of Lubin and Tillie Jantzen, who retired to the Newton area after being career workers in India. Dave hadn’t seen Dan in years. So over lunch, they got reacquainted. Dan is on a fact-finding trip and will actually be joined by Elena’s brother-in-law, Dan Spare, in a couple of weeks. They are part of a group looking at possible engineering projects to help the people of Nepal. One area they are looking at is the glacial lakes in the Mount Everest area. Due to global warming these lakes are growing. At some point with heavy rains or large calving events, there is a risk that these lakes will breach their glacial moraine dams, putting thousands downstream in danger. Dan’s trip into the Khumbu area is to see if it is feasible to drain the built-up lake water in a more controlled way.
We discovered four connections to our home in Kansas, to cousins, to previous chapters of our lives in less than thirty hours, in Kathmandu. It seems like we have moved half-way around the world only to be reminded of how well connected our lives are.