A friend of our friends called us suddenly and asked whether I would have the time to go grocery shopping for a Bhutanese refugee family coming from Nepal. They even lured me more by saying that they’d also buy my portion of grocery if I went with them and showed what most Nepalese used for cooking. I was delighted since I was a poor student then and could use any generous offerings like this.
Secondly, the same friend asked me whether we could write “Welcome” in Nepali for a placard. That was simple, too and my husband and I made one. Thirdly, she wanted me to make something Nepali for her. Every Nepali thinks of the Nepali ‘chia’ or tea first. I grew up having tea multiple times of the day. So, I offered her some Nepali tea, which she enjoys a lot till this day.
All of these were pretty easy. I had not even wondered what all the connections were and why this friend of a friend was coming into our picture. We ran into her now and then. She also came to meet my new born son with a gift. This friendship was slowly developing.
This friend was very involved with the refugees. People called her mother of all Bhutanese refugees since she was so available to them all. Then, in the summer of 2008, my pastor and his family came on a furlough to the United States. Word had already spread to them that they were many Bhutanese refugees being resettled in the Grand Rapids area. He made it a big deal and invited many Bhutanese refugees for a gathering. This turned out to be a time of sharing the love of Christ with them.
The ball had already been rolled. We just had to pick it up and keep the pace. The friend pulled us in more and more, God cleared our vision of this people and we could not turn back any more. Yes, we picked that ball and with the help of some volunteers we started doing to forth-weekly fellowship at an inner-city church. For the first few months, the turn-out was great. Every one seemed eager to know and see what this fellowship was about. We created this Nepalese Service with potluck to keep the interest going. Gradually, the interest waned. People did not want to hear about the Man being shared in this fellowship. Yet we did not lose hope. The faithful and interested few kept coming. However, the zeal in the volunteer was reducing since the turnout was less, the potluck was a hassle and the vehicles were not always available. This led us to stop meeting at this inner-city church.God was forming something else for us. In closing this door, he was opening a new one in which all of our cares were taken care by Him. We were invited to work along side a church. Now we have a church that we can call home, a church that is nurturing us and a church that is providing the ground for us to prepare for our ministry among the Nepalese populations in town.