Whoops, I Went to India!

Since being in Nepal I have encountered many forms of brokenness. Two days ago we went to Birgunj which is a city on the open border between Nepal and India. An open border means that Nepali and Indians can cross back and forth freely between the two countries. As a result, it’s very easy to traffic girls from Nepal and India.

As we were traveling to Birgunj I just kept thinking “I’m riding on the very road that traffickers take girls on every single day. These cars around me could have girls in them that are being taken to a life of bondage.” It was a very heavy and overwhelming feeling.

When we got to Birgunj we were going to take our van to the physical border, but our driver was nowhere to be found. We decided to take rickshaws, never dreaming we were about to ride into a crazy adventure.

Our Nepali friend clearly told the rickshaws drivers to take us TO the border, but instead they took us OVER the border.

Emily and I were in the front rickshaw, and we had no idea what was going on. At the beginning of the ride I was a little nervous, but as we got closer to the border, my fear intensified. When we crossed the border, our team leader started yelling for us to stop, but none of us heard her until we were most definitely in India.

Our team leader and Nepali friend went into the customs office to sort out the situation. By this point I was so afraid that all I could do was laugh, and I turned to Emily and said “We just accidentally went to India.” Our team leader and Nepali friend saved the day, and thirty minutes later we were safely back in Nepal with a rediculous story to tell.

Beyond a simple story, however, God gifted me with a deeper understanding of His heart for girls who are trafficked. God used our experience at the border to give me His eyes. The border was chaotic and intense, and while there I felt the tiniest sliver of what girls who are trafficked might feel. I was in a place where I didn’t know the culture or speak the language, at the mercy of a strange man, (the rickshaw driver) unsure if it was good or bad that no one stopped us at the border, and without any proper documentation. The difference was that I had friends with me, and people who I trusted looking out for me.

As I realized these things, my heart began to break even more deeply for the girls being trafficked. The fact that so many of them come to that border with absolutely no one in the world who cares for their well being terrifies me. However, there is hope. There are Christians here on the ground in Nepal doing incredible work on behalf of the Kingdom! After going to the border, we got to meet the border monitoring staff, and their courage and determination inspired me.

Then yesterday we met a Nepali man who has been living in America, but comes back here every few years because his heart is for his people. He prayed for our team, and I was overcome with gratitude for people who are willingly pressing into the Lord’s work.

In all of this it’s hard to know what to do, but I do know that you and I can pray. Pray for the vulnerable women of Nepal. Pray that they will have people enter their life that truly care for them, mind body and soul. And pray for them to come to know that their true identity is as daughters of God. Pray for the Christians here who are living out their faith, despite opposition. And pray for all the people who are perpetuating trafficking. Pray that God would break them of their bondage, and show them that there is a better way to live.

Ali Ali Nepali

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I feel that I cannot possibly open my eyes wide enough to fully take in this place. It is by far the most foreign (to me) location I’ve ever been. Worshipping on the roof, riding taxis through the organized chaos, feeling the sun’s heat with a stronger intensity, tasting different flavors and textures, and seeing brick walls demolished by the earthquake, everything here is new.

However, these things are a just a sideshow to the work God is doing in me.

The title of this blog means a little little bit of Nepali. It’s what you say to tell a Nepali you don’t have a clue what they’re saying. Beyond just it’s application to the language, it seems very fitting of two major aspects of this trip thus far.

The first aspect of ali ali Nepali is that I feel like I’m getting a little little taste of Nepal. We’ve had some language and culture lessons, tried some of the common foods, (I love daal bhat!) experienced the climate, walked the streets, and met some beautiful Nepali people. At the same time though, I’m humbled to realize that I’ve experienced almost nothing. Some of the missionaries we’ve met have been here for years, and they still feel that they’ve barely begun to understand this place. The truth is that no matter how long I’m here, I will always be a guest in the Nepali culture. At a different point in my life I would’ve found that discouraging, but now I see it as a really good reminder of my place in this culture. Nepalis know Nepal better than I ever will.

The second aspect of ali ali Nepali I am experiencing is that much of what God is teaching me has little to do with Nepal directly. I can confidently say God is doing a full remodel of my heart. He’s teaching me to extend grace to myself, to surrender my expectations and desires to Him, to live my life step by step and day by day, and to pray with faith. At first I felt odd about learning so much about myself, but my teammate Courtney reminded me that maybe this is growth that can only happen here. God has given me an incredible team of women who are hardcore pushing me, loving me well, and speaking light into my life He’s also taken me out of my comfort zone, and that’s where the real growth happens.

So in the midst of the unexpected, I am thankful. God is sovereign, and He knows what is most important for me to learn in this place!

Traveling Mercies

As I reflect on my physical journey from Spokane to Kathmandu, the phrase “traveling mercies” from an Anne Lamott book by that title keeps coming to mind. The travel portion of this adventure has been, per usual for international travel, anything but easy. There’s been lots of physical discomfort and sleep deprivation, and there was even one exhausted meltdown, complete with tears. Worst of all, my teammate Kristal’s flight to Chicago was cancelled, so she journeyed to Nepal by herself a day later than us. We all agree she gets the rockstar traveller award!

However, despite the challenges, both those expected and those that caught me off guard, God has deeply lavished His grace on this journey. His traveling mercies abound! I’ve had two wonderful and long conversations with random strangers, I’ve FINALLY met my incredible team, all but one of our bags made it, and while I haven’t slept great, I have been able to catnap my way to Kathmandu! So Nepal, I’m here, and I’m ready to see your beauty, feel your pain, and hear your stories!

Classic Kelly

Written on 6/3/15

Today I started the process of packing for Nepal, and Classic Kelly showed up with a vengeance. Classic Kelly is Type A to the extreme. Organized and constantly running every possible scenario through her brain. For example, tonight I spent a solid ten minutes agonizing over which blank journal I should bring to Nepal. One is sturdier, but as such, heavier, and neither are quite perfect because the pages can’t tear out, but there’s no reason to go buy a new one if I have two options that will really work fine. I finally decided on bringing the one from my good friend Lauren because she was the one who gave me the journal I used in Romania and Moldova. But do you see what I mean? A journal is just one item on my extensive, detailed, way-too-organized packing list.

On one hand I’m marveling at the fact that I actually have enough time to pack the way I want to. As I’m sure you can tell, my version of packing is incredibly time-consuming, and I love that I’m in a season of life that allows me to take my time on this process.

But on the other hand, I feel this nagging itch of, “really Kelly?” Am I spending more time packing and preparing than I am on my knees in prayer? Truthfully… yes. And there’s something wrong with that picture.

When I went to the prayer room at my church right after the first earthquake in Nepal, the man who prayed for me told me that the single best way to prepare for this trip is to intercede on behalf of everyone involved – my team, the Tiny Hands staff, my support community, and the Nepalis we will meet. While that deeply resonates with me, I haven’t been living it out.

So this is a promise, that I’m making public for accountability purposes, to change my ways. More than anything I want to be a woman of prayer, but I’m not going to magically become that woman without putting forth any effort. There’s a new song out by Hillsong United that says, “I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.” What a beautiful picture of the power of our prayers!

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Written on 6/4/15

I’ve been reflecting on what I wrote yesterday, and there’s one critical point I wish to add. Lately I’ve been incredibly frustrated with my seeming inability to pray, so today I finally decided to just sit and listen to God. And in the space I gave Him, my Father whispered “be.” How fitting! Here I am striving and struggling to pray more, which is what God wants, right? No! He wants me to be still and increase my awareness of His presence, goodness, and voice. At its heart, prayer is turning our attention to God, and ultimately, prayer is not about my ability to pray (or lack thereof.) So instead of trying to force myself to pray, I’m going to give myself space to be still and know that He is God, and I am not!

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