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Update from "Top of the World"

Written by Dale Nafziger
October 25, 2006

Dale & Bethsaba Nafziger – Nepal

Warmest greetings from the "top of the world." At the moment, we are spending a week of fall holiday with family at the "bottom of the world" (almost sea level) in West Bengal, India.
It has been several months since we were last in contact. Since then the monsoon rains have brought another year of both life and devastation to the fragile Himalayan topography—and, already, we are well back into the cycle of air borne dust and dirt that will carry us through until the next monsoon. Politically also, Nepal still continues to hobble from one political crisis to the next. Through it all, God still continues to perform wonders amid broken humanity. Enjoy the following update in the lines that follow…!

Update from Sushma & Shova

Sushma enjoys studies in Class 2 and Shova in Class 4 in a local Montessori school. We are blessed that they can attend a local school having good teachers and lasting friendships—in contrast to the highly volatile teacher/student populations in schools operated primarily for and by expatriates. Like most Asian countries; Nepal's educational system is "exam prone"—a legacy left behind by the British. The Montessori system here attempts to deal creatively with that reality-in-life; by on one hand teaching children how to take tests but on the other hand not basing their entire academic future solely upon exam scores. Each week the hospital emergency room and ICU where Bethsaba works bear grim testimony to an antiquated system whereby exam scores are the sole measure utilized to determine a child's fate-in-life.

Pineapple Juice!

As most of you are aware; we reside in Nepal on a business visa. This is neither a scam nor a cover-up. Honest business is what we are indeed here to do. During the month of August I (Dale) was involved in helping Wonder Products produce a test-batch of about 4,000 liters (1,055 gallons) of 100% pure pineapple juice. The consumer response to this new product has been quite positive. From a business perspective, however, we continue to face very stiff competition from both mass-produced multinational imports and from cheap made-from-concentrate local products. Nepal's past decade of internal conflict has had a major negative economic impact—creating an environment where it is nearly impossible for old fashioned honest/ethical business to survive.

Even though many people in the West would not call themselves Christian per se; they are still generally appreciative of and benefit from a society with ethics based upon Judeo-Christian principles. The following verses from the book of Deuteronomy may seem a bit archaic for the sophisticated West but they highlight a very common facet of life throughout much of the world: DT 25:13 Do not have two differing weights in your bag--one heavy, one light. 14 Do not have two differing measures in your house--one large, one small. 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures…. Next time you enjoy a 12 fluid-ounce can of Coca Cola—enjoy the fact that you are indeed enjoying a full 12 ounces!

Political Update

In recent months one major opposition political party has "come out in the open"; holding "education" classes in schools, introducing labor unions in industries, and soliciting donations from anything that manages to move and breathe. Solicitation of such donations has been necessary to "bridge the gap," as they progress from a life-style that previously involved fighting and hiding in the jungle to one involving social skills necessary for living honest/productive lives. Recently there has been productive dialogue—that we hope will bring the tourists/trekkers back. Growing up in Pennsylvania I remember looking for the "first robin"—confirming that "spring had arrived." In a similar manner; "tourist sightings" here provide a fair indicator of the state of both politics and the economy.

"We Want You Here!"

Despite the rollercoaster of life-in-Nepal; the message "We want you here" rings through loud-and-clear in so many facets of our lives—in the business, in school, in our church, with neighbors frequently stopping by to see Bethsaba for medication, and attempted-suicide cases calling her for a word of encouragement. As you are most aware, our continued being here is highly tied to your friendship, your prayers and your financial support. As you are most aware, our continued being here is highly tied to your friendship, your prayers and your financial support to Global Ministries, especially through the Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, One Great Hour of Sharing, and the Week of Compassion.

Thank you…and God bless!
For Sushma, Shova,
Bethsaba & myself—

Dale & Bethsaba Nafziger are missionaries with the United Mission for Nepal. Dale serves as an electrical engineer. Bethsaba works for the health department of the United Mission to Nepal in midwifery and general nursing.

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