On Thursday Feb. 13, my dear wife, Presbytera Marilyn (Mary) and I left the frigid Northwest, flying out of Seattle to Seoul, Korea. From there we flew to Bangkok, and then finally on to Kathmandu, arriving here on Saturday. It is Presbytera’s first visit to Nepal. She has helped me to start 4 churches over the years in California and Washington and now is the first person to come to Nepal to help me establish a mission in Kathmandu.
Many people have expressed a desire to come and help me, but until now, no one has actually followed through. Marilyn was concerned about me not having any liturgies especially during Great Lent and Pascha, so she decided to spend 4 and half months here with me and be my chanter. It was a blessing to serve Matins together Sunday morning, which happened to be the Feast Day of St. Nicholas of Japan, a saint whose life is a great encouragement and example to me.
Later on Sunday, we had the joy of meeting up with a fellow Russian Orthodox priest and his daughter who were visiting Nepal together. They were a great blessing to us just by their presence, but they also made a very generous donation to the mission work here, for which I’m very grateful. I hope they will return.
While walking to the ancient Durbar Square in Patan to meet our visitors, a young Nepali man passed by and spoke to us. I wasn’t sure at first what he said, but as he stopped to speak to us in English, he told us that he was a Christian. Pointing to my cross he said “I saw your Cross. I am a Pastor and I have a fellowship which we call “Return to the Cross.” His Christian name is Silas. He repeatedly mentioned that seeing my cross he knew I was a Christian and that he was encouraged to see this sign of the Cross. He gave me his email address and asked me to come and speak to his small group about an hour outside of Kathmandu. Marilyn and I later reflected on the fact that had I been in “street clothes” instead of my cassock and Cross, he would never have even noticed us. It’s too bad that there are so many of our priests who only wear the cassock inside the walls of the parish church. They are depriving themselves of many opportunities for evangelism and for encouraging their fellow Christians out in the world. – Fr. S.