The Orphan of the Town (Nepal)

When I fall in love with Nepal I am walking through a dream, surrounded by green mountains and the world feels hushed. I had no idea the world was capable of so much beauty. We ride in a van for hours going nowhere and seemingly everywhere. We drift deeper into the dream, always upward on mountainsides so high that I think we’ll reach the clouds. The roads we drive on are dirt and rock, paved by travelers before us. The mountainsides are terraced for farming and look like God’s stairs.

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At the top of the world we reach a small remote village and are greeted by children colored by the sun with raven hair. They live on a cliff at the edge of a mountain, its vast majesty falling below. They are corralled into a group to sing us a welcoming song in their native language.

As they sing facing us, feet dusted with dry earth and some with dirty clothes or no shoes, there is a boy who stands in front with wandering eyes and a beautiful smile. He carries skinny limbs and swollen knees and his legs are deformed so that he cannot stand up straight. As he tries to do the actions for the song he loses his balance and falls.

His name is Shofall and he is twelve.

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He is raised by the village, having had lost both of his parents at a young age. The other children ignore him for the most part and I worry that everyone else does too, because he is so skinny and his clothes smell of urine. He dreams about playing soccer but can only watch from the side as his body will not allow him to play.  His eyes are older than he is, with a heavy sorrow suited more for an old man than a young child. He is a bright boy with a sweet spirit, speaking to my friends in English and curiously peeking into my camera lens with a quiet fascination.

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We are told that its time to go and we wave and hug goodbye before trailing down a dirt pathway to our ride. We walk a little way and then see something that make our knees lock and hearts swell. Shofall is limping quickly after us, struggling with each step but using every bit of energy he can to keep up with us until we drive away. We pray for him, aching for a miracle that doesn’t come. At least not today. We don’t understand why God doesn’t do what we know He is capable of doing, when we wanted it so much for this little boy. My heart is broken for him and it hurts to leave him in the same state as we found him. We drive away, as Shofall disappears in the distance, left in the village hidden at the top of a mountain.

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I don’t know why Shofall wasn’t healed that day. But I do know that on that day, he felt loved and important. He told us that he believes God can heal him. And I pray that He will. Our prayers were not in vain. Upon our leave away from the village, a teammate of mine heard the Lord saying :  “You don’t have to witness my healing to have faith that I will perform these good things for my children. I want you to trust me that even when you can’t see these manifestations of my love that my plans for all my children are plans of good and I never intend or want any of my children to suffer but I can only work throughout my own timing.”

 

I put together this video during my month in Nepal. You can see a bit of Shofall at 2:42

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