Dear Friends and Family, January 2017

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1 Dear Friends and Family, January 2017 Naya barsa ko subhakamana! (Happy New Year!) (A bit late) Even though this is not the Nepali New Year (which occurs in mid April), it is still recognized and celebrated here. We have really enjoyed receiving cards and s from many of you Thank you! We started this New Year by traveling to Pokhara for a few days with Hannah and her fiancé, Nathan. We really enjoyed having them here in Tansen and Pokhara with us for almost 2 weeks it was a great time of getting to know Nathan and seeing the two of them together. We enjoyed games, visits with friends, good food and some time on Pokhara Lake. It was hard to say goodbye, but we are thankful Hannah is staying in Nepal for another six months before leaving to go to the U.K. to be closer to Nathan! Please pray for her to be able to find a job and get a work visa in order to be able to travel there in July. Cross cultural marriages are harder than they used to be! We returned to Tansen on Jan 4 and woke up to an early morning phone call on the 5 th and like most calls at that hour, it wasn t good news. Our good friend Ganesh was calling to let us know that his youngest brother, Vishnu, had hung himself the night before. Vishnu had struggled with alcoholism, but had gone through a rehab program and was back to work so many of us were quite hopeful for him. He and his family (wife and two daughters) had even been attending church. It was a real blow to all of us in the hospital community where Vishnu worked in the lab and was well liked. This was made even harder by the fact that it has been less than 3 months since Ganesh and Vishnu s father died. Almost 200 or more hospital staff gathered on the tennis court on Thursday morning to pay respects to Vishnu and send him off. Les traveled with Ganesh and other family members (men) down to Ramdi where the body was cremated according to the Hindu traditions. Debbie spent much of the morning with the women especially trying to comfort Vishnu s mother who was distraught. She was so

2 thankful that this time, at least, she could hug her and hold her hand, because during the time of mourning, touching is often not allowed. We were able to spend several days in KTM with Hannah in December we enjoyed watching her conduct the Kathmandu Chorale in their Christmas concert. You can watch some videos of the performance if you are interested - https://www.youtube.com/channel/ucqcdprv-kbaxiuqchjyhnkq We were very proud to see again the wonderful young woman and gifted musician and teacher that Hannah has become. Debbie was also able to stay on in KTM and see the performance of Hannah s school children for their Christmas musical. Both Debbie and Les have had travel difficulties over the past months as there have been multiple strikes and road closures due to political protests in our area. Les had tickets to fly to KTM for a meeting, and when the roads were closed, he ended up riding his bicycle down to Bhairahawa airport around 50 km we think. That wasn t so bad as it was all downhill or level. However, when he was trying to return, his flight from KTM was very delayed, so by the time he got to Bhairahawa and could start cycling, it was after 4 pm. We were able to get a taxi from here to go partway down and meet him after dark to bring him the rest of the way up to Tansen. Debbie ended up flying to Pokhara from KTM because we thought the chances of getting through to Tansen from there were better than from Bhairahawa. She did manage to make it though, although there were some tense moments at the blockaded areas, and the driver did some fast talking about the necessity of getting the foreign doctor back to the mission hospital. We are both thankful for safe trips! Christmas celebrations here were joyous and church was filled to overflowing! This year, everyone was happy to be able to enjoy a full bhoj (feast) together at church. You might

3 remember that last year we were in the midst of an almost 6 month border closure with India, so supplies were low and the celebrations reflected that. The hospital continues to be busy, but we are thankful for good supplies (currently) of water and electricity. There are still some medications we struggle to get, but God continues to provide our needs. We are in a really dry season now, however, so we would appreciate prayers for rain once again. Les has been working the medical ward lately which includes a unit specific for patients needing long term rehab or physio. There is a lady there now with a very sad story. Six months ago, she had a fall probably from a tree while cutting fodder to feed animals. When she fell, she broke her back and is now paralyzed from the waist down. She had an initial stay in the hospital of about one month, but her husband, who is a daily wage worker, needed to return home, so he took her back to their house. Their children were given to other family members to care for, and her husband went back to his work leaving each morning early and returning at night. The paralyzed woman was left in her bed all day with no one to turn her or care for

4 her. She is now back in the hospital here with terrible bed sores which are beyond what our surgeons can operate on. We are currently trying to find a place that will do her needed surgery and will do it as a charity case as they have no money. If she can get her pressure sores repaired and healed, then she could learn to sit in a chair and use her hands and arms. Please pray for her and her family and for us as we try to help her. Thank you to so many of you who continue to pray for us, and for those who , send cards, and who give money! We appreciate you all so very much, and apologize that we don t write more frequently. When we are missing family, days pass so slowly, but in general, time just seems to slip away more quickly than we would like. May 2017 bring you closer to our Lord Jesus and blessed to be a blessing. Please enjoy some winter sunrise photos from our back garden.

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