Hopefully you received our CMS newsletter and greetings just before Christmas; here’s a more personal update as we look forward to what God has for us in 2014. It looks as if it will be the year of three weddings and a motorbike! We are delighted that Alasdair and Jess got engaged while they were staying with us. They plan to be married in July. Closely on their heels were our nephew Mark and Sarah, and then, at the end of December, James and Katie. We are so excited, but at the same time feel a little far away, and are very grateful for the blessings of Skype, as all the plans unfold. Dan is also engaged to be married to a Silver Royal Enfield Bullet (ha, ha, but I only have one love – Dan), and the wedding will be on 18th January, when its current owner leaves Nepal to return to the USA. He is very excited and currently trying to negotiate the assault course of paperwork to allow him to drive it legally. It will be a great help getting around, now that his various work commitments are increasing, eliminating the need for expensive taxis or cheap but arduous bus rides. We are also looking forward to being able to get out a bit more easily at the weekends to explore the beautiful countryside, away from the city.
Reflecting on the past year, we are very grateful to God for his provision in every way and are humbled by his faithfulness even when we have occasional doubts. We have a lovely home and have hugely enjoyed welcoming a number of guests, including Mum and Dad, James and Katie and Alasdair and Jess; all have been such an encouragement, and supplied us with lots of happy memories of the times we have spent relaxing, travelling and holidaying together. Highlights include cycling on the Terai, watching elephants bathing, trekking through rural villages, seeing the sun rise over the high Himalayas, and watching Tracy, from our home church, painting walls at KISC.
Things are changing a little at KISC as our secondary school principal left at Christmas and has not yet been replaced. (If you know someone who would like the job, please tell them.) We will miss her terribly; for me especially the pastoral role we shared in caring for students and parents, and would value your prayers as we adjust. Other challenges at KISC include the constant quest to provide good support for students with various different ways of learning, and also for the many for whom English is not their first language. I have a slot at the staff training at the beginning of term, to talk about ‘ESL awareness’ and am looking forward to devising a fun (hopefully) and meaningful session. One particular challenge is a few students who don’t really have any strong first language, although they may have some proficiency in several; they have increasing difficulty with written assignments as they progress towards GCSE and beyond. I have had a lot of fun working with one Korean student on the language needed for the written aspects of Art coursework, a subject I never studied, due to my complete lack of artistic skill! I’ve also enjoyed reading the year 7 text, ‘Goodnight, Mr Tom’ with a student for whom much of the vocabulary was rather tricky. – so what is a pew, a hedge, a stained glass window or an Anderson shelter?
Dan has been a bit of a globe-trotter recently, reconciling his ongoing commitment to some research projects in the UK, a desire to learn about Palliative Care provision in resource- poor areas, and a primary call to be in Nepal. This continues with a training visit to Kenya at the end of January, a conference in Spain in June and an ongoing plan to visit Indian hospitals from time to time. It is very exciting to see God revealing a plan for his time here and, while medical registration is still pending, he has been invited to deliver a number of post-graduate teaching sessions with junior doctors and to lead a major evaluation of seven rural health projects in remote districts. That seems to be plenty to be going on with!
We are enjoying getting to know the Pabitra church folk, with our friends Pastor Gajendra and Chinimaya. They are excited that after 20 years of faithfully building the church and meeting in rented rooms, and a long period of saving money within the fellowship, they have enough to buy a plot of land, and make a start on their own building. They had a lovely chat
with my parents, who also planted a church, in Weston-Super-Mare, and finally got a building about 20 years later! Although our regular place of worship is elsewhere, we continue to meet Gajendra and Chinimaya from time to time, Dan has been invited to preach a few times and I am working with their two sons, Isaac and Ashish to improve their English. Isaac is studying Business and Tourism and Ashish is applying to medical schools. This is expensive and also highly competitive, so we are praying with them that God will make a way. We had a great evening with them all when about 20 of the church members came to our house carol-singing just before Christmas. We had a fun time singing and dancing on our porch, with a really joyful feeling of celebration. They were out every evening for a week, visiting different homes and then sharing a meal together at someone’s house. They did not ask for anything, but were grateful for a hot lemon drink and cookie.
During Advent and Christmas, the reality of Jesus being the Light of the World seemed to be really important, with so many difficult and challenging situations weighing heavily on us, both in Nepal, the UK, and in many other places. Our prayer for 2014 is that we would allow the light of Jesus to shine in our hearts and lives as we follow him every day. And we look forward to weddings, motorbikes and lots of happy times.
Thank you all so much for your continuing love and support. We always love to receive your news too, so do drop us a line.
God bless you richly in your families, churches, friendships, work and holidays,
with our love, Phillipa and Dan.
P.S. Dan has now got his motorbike licence 🙂
Dan and Phillipa Munday Mission Partners
Nepal Update Blog: http://danandphillipa.wordpress.com/