Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wrapping up

The countdown is on! We will be back home in less than 3 weeks now. It doesn't seem like 16 months since we came here together, but here we are!

We've entered a very lovely season here in Nepal, much, I'm sure, to the jealousy of those of you still battling snow and wondering if spring is ever going to arrive. The days are starting to get hot, but the mornings and evenings are very pleasant. It's sunny almost every day. We could actually use some rain to fill up our water tanks, as there is a severe water shortage at the moment. We have run out of water a few times in the last few weeks. Surgeries had to be cancelled over the weekend because of a lack of water. There are fights breaking out at the local water taps, where people who don't have running water in their homes go to stock up. Our large storage tanks are less than 30% full, even with getting tankers of water to truck water in and pump it into the tanks for us. Send the rain, Lord!

This is an issue every year at this time, and the solution isn't obvious. Trucking water in is expensive and not sustainable, as more and more people move to the community and also rely on the town's water supply. Our rainwater storage tanks are a great idea...when there is rain! In a couple months, the monsoon will start, and the tanks will be full to overflowing, and most will forget that we were in a crisis just weeks earlier. There are plans to build an even bigger rainwater storage tank (over 1 million litres of water), which will certainly help, although it still may not be enough during the dry season. Drilling for water may be a better long-term solution...assuming when we drill there is actually water to be found (which is not a guarantee). It is an issue that has very much been on our hearts and minds since we came to Tansen, and we continue to pray that God will make the way for us to have an abundant, clean supply of water, not just for the hospital, but also for the surrounding community.

As Jessica goes on maternity leave, the hospital is facing even more of a shortage of surgeons than there has been. This challenge is compounded by a new policy that medical licenses are not being granted to short-term visitors, so our usually steady stream of short-term surgeons coming to help is also not happening. She is leaving the department in the hand of 1 Nepali surgeon who has worked here for the last 3 years, but may be leaving in the next few months to go do further training, and 2 newly graduated Nepali surgeons who had some significant gaps in their training and are still learning the ropes. Please do pray for the surgical service and for provision of adequate coverage and support, both as we are away, and when we come back.

Our new Nepali surgeons operating together

Paul's building projects are coming along, though disappointingly, it is likely that neither of the 2 major projects will quite be finished before we leave. He's working hard to try to get them to a place where they don't need his oversight anymore. They're getting close, but we're still waiting on shipments of supplies that should have been here ages ago, as well as some other things that are outside of our control. He is sad to be missing out on the satisfaction of being able to survey the finished project, but trusting that it's all in God's hands. 

The nursing station in process

With the challenges and suboptimal circumstances we're leaving behind both on the surgical side and the building side, we're reminded that this is indeed not our work but God's, and that we need to hold onto things loosely, allowing Him to use as as He sees fit, but remembering that we are only a small piece of a much bigger puzzle. "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labour in vain." (Psalm 127:1)

Our current plan is to be home for about 6 months, and then to return to Nepal in late October. The baby is due on July 11. Do please pray for us as we wrap up the last couple weeks here in Tansen for this season and prepare for the next chapter of our lives.

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