Sunday, October 23, 2011


So last week, I trekked through the Himalayas, laid my hands on people, called down the power of Jesus, and saw miracles. This week, I harvested a rice field. My life rules :).

But which was the more rewarding experience? Seeing first hand people being healed through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in me, or having the joy of putting my sweat and hard work into a field of rice that was grown for 25 adorable little kids who have been pulled out of hopeless lives?

See, the rice harvesting wasn't just for kicks and giggles. The missionaries we're connected with here are part of an organization that runs a children's home in a village just outside of Kathmandu. They have a farm at the children's home, where they grow the rice, milk a cow, and have 7 goats (three of which were born just a few days ago! Soo cute.)

feeding a baby goat :). 
There's about 25 kids there, all of whom have incredible stories about how Jesus has saved them and brought them into this incredible home where they're loved by many. They have over 20 brothers and sisters, 11 adults who day in and day out are actively involved in their lives and loving them unconditionally, and a constant flow of people like us and the YWAM team who just want to give the kids love in any way we can. Definitely a positive alternative to the homeless, parentless lives they were living before!

When we first arrived to the home on Wednesday morning, they were right in the middle of their morning worship session. Now, as a camp counselor I've seen my share of kids get into their favorite worship song, jumping and clapping and laughing at the craziness. But these kids were worshipping their King, and I have rarely seen the kind of passion that they were singing and praising with even in the most Christ fearing adults that I know. Not to say that it's a bad thing, we all have our different ways of worshipping, but these kids GOT IT that they were talking to a real and living Being, and that he deserved all of their praise and devotion.

At this point, I completely lost it. I can't remember a time where I have seen anything as beautiful as that sight: 25 children who used to be orphans, singing praises to the Being they can't even see because he has saved them out of the cruelest types of childhood you can imagine.

And then as if that wasn't enough, I was pointed out Bhim, the little boy that my family personally sponsors, and I saw him worshipping and praising God with the biggest smile out of everyone in the room. What's a poor emotional girl like me to do? Those kids probably will always remember me as the crying lunatic, because from the first moment I met them I just couldn't keep in my emotions. I've never been so overwhelmed by any sight in my entire life! (No exaggeration).

After I got over my blubbering expression of joy I had the honor of going out and working hard to get those kids the food that they deserve. The rice field wasn't huge, but I certainly hadn't done any kind of gardening let alone farming before, so I was in over my head. Turns out though the process is relatively easy: grab a stalk, grab a sickle, and cut as low as you can. After two hours of this and with the help of about 20 people the field was done! There's nothing quite as rewarding as seeing a field full of ripe rice turn into a field full of piles of cut ripe rice, and knowing that your sweat and determination went into it.

Anyway, the longest part of the whole process turned out to be the next day, when we had to get the kernels off of the rice stalks and somehow collect all of them. Thankfully we had the machine, a wonderful man-powered device that spun really really fast, and when you put the stalk over it, the kernels would just fly off and land on the tarps we had set up to catch them.

That part was so much fun! It took a while though, because we had to take every bundle of rice we had made the day before and let the kernels fly almost individually.

Alyssa Hughes: rice harvester.

My favorite part of the day though came later, when we got to celebrate three birthdays at the children's home. Crazy that three out of 25 kids have the same birthday right? Well actually, wrong. See, the kids don't know when their birthdays are, so when they first come to the home they're told they can pick any day of the year to be their special day. I think that most of the kids probably pick the day right after they arrive (because who would choose to wait for the birthday?), and since a lot of kids arrive at the same time, they get to have a major birthday celebration :).

For one of the boy's we were celebrating, he even had the special treat of choosing how old he wanted to be! At first he was told he was turning 8. But then one of the older kids politely informed him that he was actually turning 7. I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't be able to handle that kind of disappointment! Especially if I were either 7 or 8! So of course he was very upset. Thankfully no one really knows how old he really is, so he was just old that he could choose how old he was turning that year. I think he landed on 10. Doesn't their life just sound great?

But while the birthday party was adorable and very educational for some (I had to show the kids around me how to eat a cupcake), I lost it again when I saw Bhim. His smile is just so huge, and even though he doesn't speak much English he knows that my family prays specifically for him and he never left my side all evening. He was holding my hand, and always just smiling up at me. Gosh he is just so great! I showed him pictures of my mom and sister and he was just so happy to see them, it was really a very special moment for me.

I also had an amazing personal moment up on the roof of the children's home during sunset. This week I've been having to process a lot, from things back home and from things going on here, and I was just so amazed that even in my own times of turmoil, I have a God that cares. I have a God that invites me up on to rooftops like that just to be with him, even though the pain in my life is nothing compared to what the children just one floor below me have had to endure.

So, which was more rewarding, the healings or the harvest? I really couldn't say, because even though they are SO different, they are still showing the love of Christ to people who need it. In the villages, we were showing the love of Christ to people by easing their physical pain. In the children's home, we're showing the love of Christ by harvesting food for kids who really need it.

But either way, we're showing the love of Christ, and that's what matters. I think that these two experiences are really highlighting for me exactly what the Body of Christ means and is capable of. Because we always hear about how some people were meant for teaching, and others for serving, and even others for praying. But to see just how much Christ can do in different expressions of himself shows me even more that you can spread Christ's name and love in so many different ways! You don't need to come to Nepal and pray for miracles to share his love. You don't even need to harvest a rice field for orphans to share his love. All you need in order to share Christ's love is a willing heart and and genuine prayer to ask God how he wants you to. There's no stopping our King!

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