Nepal is celebrating its major holiday of Dashai, which lasts for two full weeks and a day. My instructor is away visiting his family and so classes have been cancelled for most of this week. It has been rainy and wet for the past few days and I’ve been feeling some cabin fever as a result. However, today is a nice change of pace. Not only is the sun shining, but I’ve had a good visit from a fellow Orthodox Christian, Serge Mironov and his Nepali friend.
A week or so ago, Serge contacted me from Jerusalem. He was on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Metropolitan Hilarion and about 100 others from Australia. After the pilgrimage, Serge continued on to Kathmandu to visit a friend and former classmate of his. Saphal, a native of Kathmandu, (not sure about the spelling of his name) graduated with Serge from Melbourne University and continues to live and work there. He’s back in Nepal for a few months to visit his family.
Together, they both came to the guesthouse where I stay and then Serge treated us to lunch at a nearby restaurant. It was a pleasure to meet both of them and to learn a bit about their lives.
Serge was kind enough to bring some gifts from the Holy Land. Through him, Vladyka Hilarion sent a beautiful blessing cross, some incense, and communion wine. Serge included some water from the Jordan which I can use in future baptisms, a couple of small copies of The Psalter produced by the nuns of St. Mary Magdalene Monastery, together with a few other gift items. What a blessing.
Serge is soon beginning a fundraiser to help the nuns in Gethsemane, whose monastery property is being taken over by Arabs encroaching on the land. They need to build any kind of structure on the remaining vacant land before the Arabs take that over as well, but they have no extra funds for such work. He also kindly offered to help raise money for the Nepal mission once he has completed the fundraiser for the nuns. May God bless his endeavors to help the Orthodox Church.
It was a joy to meet both of these young men and I hope to see them again. May God bless them and keep them safe. – Fr.S.