Nepal Observations: Batteries Not Included

..."you make beautiful things out of the dust...". Gungor I tote my Samsung smartphone, Nikon compact SLR, iPad, and Kindle Fire around the world with me in a Timberland backpack wearing my Keen hiking sandals and Nike brand dri fit t-shirts. When the battery life begins to wear down, when the new sandals feel a little tight as they are still stretching a bit, when the shirts get a little tattered, when the wi-fi signal boasts all four bars but leaves me hanging without the Internet, and when the air conditioning fails four hours, I feel the pain. All of these represent a failure of investment; I put my money and resources into these things, and they, for a time, failed me.

I try to be flexible, but to try is to fail.

My impatience flows into me in the form of heat: my face reddens, my hands and forehead instantly perspire, and my one track male mind derails. My whole entire body screams for the thing that I desire in that moment. The panicked impatience does not allow room for anything. I am able to eek out a forced smile. I can perform nice on command, but nothing in my heart truly believes it. Give me what I want. Five minutes ago preferably.

Meanwhile, in the tiny, one-room church building, sans AC, in the heart of Kathmandu, apart from the uber tech world, the simple sights of paper, colored pencils, markers, tracings, and thoughtful moving hands, creating something lovely from the mess of construction paper and Carrefour shopping bags, brought joy into a warm, interwebs free moment.

The children and yes, even the local adults, made simple, yet personal, crafts, small shields and belts to remind them of God's provision of faith and truth from His Word. As a teacher, I know almost instantly if a group of people working together is engaged in an activity. There is a body language and presence that develops, and I can spot it in a second. This was a series of engaged little groups facing the floor, writing utensils in hand, enjoying creating something special with their hands.

Later in the week, a group of teenage boys decided to use their creativity and build a full armor suit out of construction paper.

Pradip and all the boys walked downstairs to display their creation for the rest of the children and our team. I was not at all surprised by their ingenuity; after teaching teenagers for ten years, I have learned that with the right mix of engagement, interest, and fun, kids can do wonders.

Deep down within each person, perhaps there is a God-given desire to create with our hands, mirrored by what we see in the natural world. When given the chance our hands can make beautiful things.

And I am glad someone had the patience to do it.

I discovered that I lack patience for certain things; all of those things were challenged in Nepal. When the electricity failed us on many occasions, all I could focus on was getting it back on. I was relentless in my desire to get back what I felt was rightfully mine.

Meanwhile, the kids made beautiful things.

About the Author: My name is Tom. After coming through a desert season in my life, and inspired by Hillsong United's "Desert Song," I began this blog to chronicle what I am learning about God during my two year teaching assignment in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. You can find me on the web at