Today Marilyn and I went to the ancient city of Bhaktapur. This city possesses the best and largest of the Darbar Squares in the Kathmandu valley. I had visited Bhaktapur in 2006 during my first trip to Nepal and was very impressed by its architectural beauty.
Once we arrived at our stop, we walked down the narrow cobblestone street to the Square entrance.
The entrance ticket costs $15, which is very high. The fee goes toward preservation efforts. However, once purchased we were able to extend our day pass for the length of our stay here in KTM for free (which in my case is the entire year).
While walking around the city (and once again being asked to be photographed), a woman suddenly approached me and asked if I were a Christian. Upon replying “yes,” she said that she too was a Christian. After speaking a bit, she became joyfully animated and taking my arm, asked me to go with her and her young daughter to her home. So off we went. Her name is Mariam and her 7 year old daughter is Prasansa.
She is obviously very poor. Neither she nor her husband are educated and neither do they have regular jobs. Mariam does some volunteer work in the city and spends a great deal of time each day in prayer. Every Hindu home has a separate “Puja room” or worship room. She too has what she calls her Prayer room. It is a small sitting room which she dedicates to prayer. She often gathers other women and young children in that room for prayer and meditation.
Her husband, Shuman, is not a Christian and is upset with her for her conversion. He was shocked to see her enter the house with a Christian priest. Reluctantly he came into the Prayer room to meet me and to speak a bit together.
Mariam prays for his conversion. Meanwhile she suffers his verbal and sometimes physical abuse because of her Christian Faith. She asked us many times to pray for his conversion. And I ask any who read this also to pray for Shuman and Mariam.
Today is Saturday, the only day off for Nepalis and so also the day that Nepali Christians attend church services (they also have services on Sunday, but not many are able to attend because of the 6 day week cycle). Mariam was overjoyed that coming out of church, she had met a Christian priest. She practically leapt for joy on numerous occasions and exclaimed that our meeting was an answer to her prayers.
She offered us something to eat and though neither Marilyn nor I were hungry, we felt we should accept her hospitality. She then set about preparing the traditional Nepali meal, Dal Bhat; a meal of rice and curried vegetables. It’s a meal that I like very much.
After the meal, she brought out a Nepali Bible and a Gideon Bible in English (which she is unable to read) and asked me some questions from the New Testament, and then it was time to leave. She asked us many times to return. She said we would be her Father and Mother and she would be our daughter and we must come again to her home and bless her family.
And so she walked us to the gate of the city where we said goodbye and boarded the bus back home to Patan.