Vehicles wait in line
One girl, Pema
John 4:14; 17:3… Jesus said, "The water I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life…to know the only one God" NRSV
Shortages! Shortages! Shortages!
In January, because of the shortage of electricity, rolling blackouts were regularly scheduled around the country. In the Kathmandu Valley, it started with 1½ hours per week. Presently, we are loosing electricity three hours a day. That is to be increased to 4-8 hours per day in March. This is because water resources are low, and the hydroelectric facilities' capabilities aren't large enough to provide all the electricity needed throughout the country.
This also means that the city water is low and so the supply has been reduced. City water lines that used to bring water to taps twice a day, from which people collect it in buckets to take to their homes, have been reduced to once a day. Sometimes only a small dribble comes, so that not all those waiting in line get water. Fortunately, we are spared this as our house has a cistern that collects the water from the city.
Meanwhile for the last few weeks the southern part of the country has been having political problems.That has resulted in "strikes" which close its roads, roads used to bring goods in to Nepal from India. So, bottled cooking gas is in very short supply. Some people have had to switch to cooking on kerosene, which is also in short supply. In our house, three weeks ago we started to use our spare gas cylinder, so we need to be careful with the gas we use for cooking and heat. However, our local shopkeeper just sent us a full gas cylinder, so now we are covered. But many people are not.
Petrol is also in short supply. Motorcycles, cars, busses and taxis have to wait in line 4 to 6 hours to get 5-7 liters (less than 2 gallons) of petrol. Rationing has started: 2 liters for motorcycles and 5 liters for cars. The price remains about $4 per gallon!
All these shortages, oddly enough, constantly remind me of my recent Bible reading in John 4. There Jesus asks the woman of Samaria to give Him some water. That leads to a conversation with her in which He tells her He gives living water that will become a gushing spring in those to whom He gives it.
There are no shortages where Jesus is concerned! The living water He gives will never be in short supply! In fact, it will gush out of us so we can pass it on to others.
One group of people that demonstrate that spring of gushing water everyday are the teachers of ABBS, the Children of Hope Service, a ministry of HDCS. They teach children with disabilities. Most of the 55 children cared for by the 12 teachers at three day-care centers have cerebral palsy, with the remaining having Down's syndrome, autism, and moderate or severe mental retardation. The children come 5 days a week from 10 am to 4 pm. Everyday starts with devotions, including a time with the children joyfully singing songs of praise to Jesus to the best of their ability. They know God loves them. They experience it throughout the day through the words, prayers and actions of the teachers.
The students also show that they feel loved. For example, at the ABBS' Christmas celebration last December more of the ABBS children took an active part in the program this year than previous years. Groups of children sang songs. Individual children performed simple skits, singing, dancing, and speaking. One girl, Pema, has cerebral palsy and can barely speak. But she wanted to sing a simple song in the program. The morning of the celebration her mother reported that Pema woke up early and practiced her song. Her mother could tell she was practicing because Pema was making the sounds she made when she would sing her song. Though those sounds are largely unintelligible to us, they must be music to God's ears.
As one teacher said: "Hearing about the family and the societal difficulties the parents of these children have to face makes me sad, but it causes me to love the children even more. Their circumstances challenged me and gave me a peace about my desire to help them. This work is challenging. It can take months and even years of teaching for the children to learn a simple thing. Patience plays an important role in the teachers' lives. We must have patience always. We feel we've reached a major success when the children learn what we are teaching them. I am very happy when a child has learned even a small thing. I feel their pleasure as my pleasure. God has granted me the energy, power, and grace to be able to help these children.It is God's blessing to me to be able to minister to the children at ABBS."
The children at ABBS experience God's love for them through their teachers everyday by the way they are cared for and taught. That love comes from the spring of water Jesus gives the teachers. Jesus promised that there will never be a shortage of that living water of love for the students.
As I see the lines of vehicles waiting for petrol, or people waiting for water, or the empty gas cylinders lined up in front of shops, or I use candles during the evening blackouts, I am reminded to pray for the teachers at ABBS, giving thanks that they will never experience a shortage of living water for the children they serve.
Please pray with us:
for the teachers of ABBS, that God will continue to fill them with patience and love as they minister to the ABBS children;
for the ABBS children and their parents to continue to know and experience God's love for them.
Your prayers are an important part in our ministry here!