Our Support Partners with CMS

Andrea and Andrew Young - Nepal

Dear friends,

Connection and contemplation (November 2019)

Walking up the road on our first day back in Kathmandu, we were touched by the number of Nepali people who stopped to talk to us, welcome us back and ask why had they not seen us for so long? The local taxi driver, the veg seller, the cafe owner and the girls working in the coffee shop all showed interest in our well-being. We felt such a sense of warmth and belonging as our return was acknowledged by our small “road” community. Although from a different culture and speaking another language, each with a different life story, we still felt the connection with this microcosm of humanity – God’s love for us being expressed through this varied collection of people. We felt welcomed and humbled.

We moved back into Kathmandu life without really noticing the transition and suddenly it is November. The monsoon is thankfully over, Dosai and Tihar (Nepal’s two main festivals) have passed and cooler weather is ahead. We had a short break during Dosai visiting Bhaktapur, an ancient town about 30 minutes’ drive from Kathmandu. Bhaktapur is a city full of temples and devout Hindus continue to offer sacrifices of goats and chickens to their deities but we managed to avoid witnessing what we felt were very much like Old Testament practices. What stood out to us and reminded us of Christmas time in the UK was the large family groups dressed in their best clothes enjoying time together, teenagers enjoying the tradition of flying kites and the whole community coming together to celebrate their main religious festival.

Mark 1:35: “It was very early in the morning and still dark. Jesus got up and left the house. He went to a place where he could be alone. There he prayed.”

Our priority since returning in August has been to focus on our own rhythms of life, being mindful of balancing work, prayer and rest. This has meant continuing to develop our spiritual life, where prayer is always a challenge. It is so easy to find a “good” reason for not having time to be still and to listen to God. We often think of Jesus, who sought solitude away from the demanding crowds in order to spend time with his Father. Our own quiet space is in the garden of a nearby hotel and when we look at the magnificence of the trees and flowers, we see God’s signature. It has become a tranquil space of solitude for us, away from the demands of our role and the noise and pollution of Kathmandu. We give thanks for quiet spaces and God’s creation which is still evident in a busy city. Pray that we can prioritise solitude and listening to God.

People watching in Bakthapur

From the start, our work goal has been to catch up with UMN mission partners, some who are new and others who have been here a number of years like us. We have enjoyed offering hospitality and have had many conversations with our colleagues from the UMN team in Kathmandu, Okhaldunga and Tansen. Out of these conversations has emerged a theme that led us to reflect on the need for time and space to allow a deepening relationship with God, affecting the way we connect with one another. Our challenge as pastoral carers is to help people to find the necessary space to do this.

The flat below us – our new office and prayer space – has begun to be used by people for personal quiet times and this month we begin a regular “pray as you go” session as an introduction to listening prayer, along with a simple breakfast before work. We also organised recently an English afternoon tea (Nepali style!). It was lovely to be able to offer our new space for people to come together and get to know one another better, and the success of this shows that part of our ministry is to provide a space for people to come together to connect.

It is largely through relationships with one another that we see God working and where we are able to glimpse our Father’s love. Our hope is to find ways to make the downstairs flat a place of welcome, accessible to the UMNers and the larger expat community, and a place where people can connect with God through contemplation and conversations. Kathmandu can feel a lonely place with people rushing around doing many things and not really connecting to others. Mission partners are not immune to such loneliness…

We give thanks that what was just a seed of an idea six years ago is now a tangible reality. We pray that we will be open to listening to other people’s needs and to different ways of using the space. We pray also that the downstairs space can be used to help mission partners thrive emotionally and spiritually.

Part of life here means there is always conflict of some sort; for us, our visa situation causes us to feel conflicted. UMN is beginning to process a work visa for Andrew but Andrea now has to go on a dependant visa and rules around these are now very restricting. Please pray into this.

In other prayer points, please pray that Andrea is given opportunities to share her counselling skills and develop her supervision skills with Nepali counsellors.

We give thanks for our link churches and individuals and pray that our partnership with you in our ministry continues to develop.

We send our love and prayers,

Andrea and Andrew

 

Working with the United Mission to Nepal, we are pastoral carers for mission staff who come from very different parts of the world. We seek to ensure that their health and spiritual well-being is looked after in order to help them have an effective ministry in Nepal. We are passionate about this task, as many are in stressful and challenging situations within a different culture. We previously lived and worked in Nepal during the 1990s.

Our role includes caring for new staff on arrival in Nepal, visiting the sick, leading courses and times of worship, listening and spiritual direction. We have also discovered that hospitality, availability and confidentiality are essential ingredients in all that we do.

Call

To use our skills and previous experience to support mission staff in the United Mission to Nepal community.

Role

Providing vital pastoral care to the United Mission to Nepal in Kathmandu, Tansen and Okhaldunga.


Andrea comes from north Manchester and has a professional background in dance and drama teaching. During our previous time in Nepal, she worked with expatriate and Nepali parents and children. With Andrew, she was a hostel parent at Kathmandu International Study Centre, caring for teenagers whose parents were working outside the city. She also supported the Nepali church, developing children’s work and the use of dance and drama in outreach. On our return to the UK she established a community theatre workshop in an area of high deprivation and worked as a psychotherapist in private practice. She also counselled in primary and secondary schools. This has helped her as doors have opened recently to help Nepali counsellors gain skills in working with children and young people.

Andrew comes from Yorkshire and trained as a biomedical scientist, working in the NHS. In Nepal previously he developed medical laboratory services for leprosy treatment at Green Pastures Leprosy Hospitals. In the UK, he ran a youth and community centre for disaffected young people while studying for a masters in theology and training for ordination in the Church of England. He was a team vicar in Manchester Diocese for 14 years and was area dean in the Eccles deanery. Back in Nepal, he works with mission staff in spiritual development, has begun to develop relationships in the Anglican Church in Nepal and mentors mission staff studying for masters degrees.