Laura and Carie

On Sunday morning, August 11, we all were transported to Gajuri, Nepal, for worship, celebration and feasting. Laura shared with us her life and experiences over the past year of living and working in a small Nepali village in the foothills of the Himalayas. As we came together for our worship service in Taftsville, we were greeted in Nepali by Laura, wearing her beautiful sari, and instructed (with interpretation) to remove our shoes before entering the chapel.

Laura gave Taftsville a little taste of what church in rural Nepal is like—including seating men and women on separate sides and making us take off our shoes at the door!

Laura gave Taftsville a little taste of what church in rural Nepal is like—including seating men and women on separate sides and making us take off our shoes at the door!

Once inside, we were invited to sit on the floor, and separated, male and female, on either side of the aisle. Laura then treated us to a typical Sunday morning service at her church in Gajuri, filled with singing, dancing, clapping and loud amens.

Laura spent her year in Nepal living with her ‘Didi’ (sister) and extended family in a small house and learning the language as well as local customs and traditions. She worked with SALT (Serving and Learning Together), a year-long service program for young adults with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Her assignment was working with Shanti Nepal, a Nepali Christian organization concerned with transformation of poor and marginalized communities, primarily in public health. (Visit www.shantinepal.org.np for more information.)

Laura shared with us her personal struggles, and her victories, in the difficult process of adjusting to an entirely different culture and way of life. She had the opportunity to confront fears, and the opportunity to make a difference in others’ lives. She had the opportunity to learn the Nepali language, and the chance to teach a course of English to friends and neighbors. Her faith deepened and she has much to give and to share as she enters her new year as a graduate student in public health at Dartmouth College.

Following the worship service, Laura served a tasty Nepali meal of rice, lentils, curried meat and vegetables. Thank you, Laura, for sharing a glimpse of your year with us! We are glad to have you among us once again, and praise God for all he is doing through students like you around the world.