Roz’s Big Nepalese Picture

Roz Brain H & S 2015 croppedA  journey in Nepal with INF

Here is one story which we have seen develop over a period of 10 years. Roz tells her own story below, from sensing a change in her work in Australia, to following God to Nepal and serving there, to having returned home and waiting for the next step.

(Parts of Roz’s story have been published here previously, but we have included this in its entirety so that you can see the thread of her journey. Her reflections allow us to participate in some of the journey with her.)

“Now that is the job I would love to do!”

“By 2005 I had some idea that a new path was opening up for me and that my time as School Chaplain was drawing to a close. I sensed it would be with some mission in Asia, but all my investigations came to nothing. It was March 2007 when I finally opened up Second Wind Network to check for vacancies (it took me a few months to accept that I was actually in the second half of my working career!). While my first matching was not outstanding, I returned again to the site and had a look at Top Needs – and it was here that I discovered a position that seemed to match not only my qualifications but also my desire to take Isaiah Chapter 61 seriously. I remember saying – ‘Now that is the job I would love to do!’

“After going through the application procedure with International Nepal Fellowship, and being accepted, I flew into Kathmandu in January 2008 to take up my new role: “Pastoral Care Co-ordinator” for the 70 or so expatriates who were working in health and development roles within this organisation.  My mandate: to do whatever it takes to enable the workers to not just survive, but to thrive – to flourish in their respective roles. I spent 10 months in Nepal first learning language for 4 months then 6 more visiting all the field workers. I listened to their stories and helped them walk their walk on the field, using my professional skills to do so. I had to adapt to the culture myself along the way. About my daily work in Nepal I remember saying ‘Its so exciting! I have to pinch myself – I get to do THIS!’

“I have grown to have the greatest respect for God’s work in people’s lives and to honour the result and I aim to participate with God’s hand in their lives.”

Reflecting on her second term Roz says “In February 2011 I began my scheduled visits to our Centres – travelling long distances in old buses (200 kms takes 7-10 hours!). During March and May I was orienting new arrivals with talks on Stress and Culture Shock or Managing your own Mental Health and issues that prepare expatriates to live and work in this colourful and sometimes unusual culture. With each arrival I begin new relationships and because we are all unique it is so important to share informal times and listen to them in order to uncover how I can best support them. I have grown to have the greatest respect for God’s work in people’s lives and to honour the result and I aim to participate with God’s hand in their lives. Thus, being invited into a person’s work and personal life has become the greatest privilege for me in this role.”

Roz on bike #1cropped

The quickest way to get around in Kathmandu – but not the safest!

She concluded “I have known God’s nearness in new ways as I have waited on Him for assurance and guidance, not only in my role but in regard to my tenure here… My heart has been enlarged, my mind stretched, and my body… well riding along the road to my flat is a workout, worse than the corrugated North Shore Road used to be, and as dusty as our Northern Territory bulldust!”

“It was every day, a great privilege…”

Looking back on these seven years (2008 – 2014) Roz says: “It was every day, a great privilege to develop the role of Pastoral Care Coordinator, especially to allow it to become what was a best-fit for the needs expressed by the INF expat workers during the times we shared.

“My work was essentially in two areas: proactive and reactive care.

“Primarily the proactive care was in maintaining contact with the workers and their families, sometimes remembering birthdays/special days and wherever possible visiting their homes and workplaces for meals and to gain an understanding of each one’s unique support needs. Yes, for some, especially singles, it was being a sounding board for challenges or an ‘unworthy’ opponent in an evening game of Rummicub, or reading Pooh stories , worship and prayer, or just ‘being with’. For families and for Project Teams, it was great to provide a weekend away for times of community learning, worship and ‘play’ as well as designing “purpose-built” guidelines for individuals in times of retreat or need. Overall, the purpose of proactive care is to enable each one to build resilience in their life and work – so they ‘thrive’. As the years passed, it was a great privilege to see some good outcomes for many who availed themselves of care.

“The reactive care was provided by way of counselling and guidance where requested. Being a trained counsellor was a great blessing at times when the quality of medical and paramedical care was not as comprehensive as it is in our home countries. Again it was my privilege, to journey with some through major life issues, and see lives being shaped into the likeness of Jesus.

“I have a full sense that I have completed the task set for me with INF…”

Roz is back in Australia now and will complete her time with INF in April 2015 after a series of meetings with supporters to speak about her experiences, and to pray together for the future of INF work in Nepal and also for the Pastoral Care role that has developed during her time there.

“Everyone is interested to know how I knew it was time to return to Australia. I think it is a different process for everyone. For me, there came a time when I sensed it was my turn to pass on the role. I have a full sense that I have completed the task set for me with INF in Nepal, and it is now time for the next appointment to take place.

“I am now waiting on God for confirmation of what I sense is coming next! I have confidence that it is not actually what I do that pleases God and fulfils my purpose, but that I continue to allow my heart and life to be transformed into the likeness of God’s Son” (Isaiah 26: 3,4,7-9).