29 November 2004


Jorina. Thanksgiving Day, 2004. Kolkata, India

12 November 2004

Egg Night

While in Nepal I was able to participate with WMF staff in egg night in Thamel. It was a blessing to me. I hope it helps you understand some more about what the ministries we're involved with look like.

"Egg Night"

Their high voices call out in excitement to their friends as they arrive. We enter the dimly lamp-lit temple courtyard and join the swarm that is bustling in circles around us. The air is beginning to turn frosty; we can see our breath rising up to the lines of colored flags strung from the corners of the temple. The kids are making mostly pleasant chaos. We have them sit along the step on the edge of the courtyard. There are toddlers, older siblings, a few moms scattered about talking with the staff. For the most part, there is the sound of joy only children can make, their smiles and eyes reminding me of a creator who is good and who is the author of beauty. He sets us in families so that we will not be lonely, he tells us.

Tea is handed out. The children sip it carefully from white plastic cups that look large in their little hands. I take out my camera and nearly instigate a riot as the kids who want their picture taken by themselves. They calm and I begin moving down the line."Single, single!" they say as it comes to their turn, and light up when I show them their photo that I've just taken. He sets us in families so that none will be forgotten.

The Nepal staff members do minor first aid while the kids are drinking the tea. They have a line-up of scrapes and cut feet, some more serious wounds from disease or infection or drug use. The drug users are slight and wiry, with pleading eyes that have been yellowed by drugs they take to forget that they have been abused and pushed aside. They puff furiously on cigarettes and shiver. The staff have known most of these boys for several years and would do pretty much anything to make them understand that they are loved and can be forgiven.

Back on the steps, the eggs are being handed out. The little ones need help peeling theirs, the older sister caring for them that night distracted by all of the activity and people around. When everyone has had their eggs, the incentive to remain calm and seated is no longer viable. The noise level rises.

I sit on a step and several kids crowd around to see the photos I have taken so far that night. One little one sits down on either side of me and I put the camera away and put an arm around each of them. They snuggle in and sit quietly while the older kids bounce around us trying to get me to understand Nepali.

He sets the lonely in families so that we will understand how he loves us and shelters us in his faithful love.

The first aid team finishes the last few dressings and the remaining kids who have been lagging behind talking make their exit and scatter in a dozen different directions into the dark night. We gather our things and walk through town to a restaurant to have dinner together. We eat together with laughter and celebration of friendship. We eat together aching with the knowledge of the pain that these children whose hands we have just held have experienced. We eat together knowing that some children left our company and went to shoot up before going to sleep in a stairwell or on the cold street. There is this insatiable sadness gnawing at our hearts the moment we begin to understand that these are our children, that their wounds are Your wounds, that You desire for each of their delicate hearts the same fierce love pursuing each of us.

We know you through the children. We know you through the broken and torn lives because these are our lives. We know your love because you ordain praise from the lips of these, and you give us love through their small hands.

Pray with me for the hearts of the children of Kathmandu to know the love of our compassionate God.