Slaughtered goats & touched lives

Streets of Katmandu, Nepal

They all live together in one house here in Canada. It makes life easier when you are all on temporary foreign worker visas. One Nepalese family in the basement and 3 single Nepalese guys on the main floor.

Sharing life and living in community allows them to bring their customs from afar, helping to feel at home in this foreign land of Canada. Occasionally on a weekend morning, the Nepalese go to a nearby farm to buy a goat together. The selected goat is then slaughtered, butchered into sections while the internal organs are placed in bags to take home for the next month’s meals. Homemade yogurt is a favourite as well.

They work together too, sharing transportation and shifts. Their work visas allow them to only be employed with a specific fast food chain in Canada. Their $11/hr wage has to go a long ways, you know. It needs to pay for life in Canada while some is sent back home to relatives in Nepal.

While thankful to be in Canada, at times they feel like modern-day slaves.

When your work visa allows you to only work for one employer, that employer has a lot of power over your life and the tasks required of you. The threat of having your work visa pulled looms heavy on a day-to-day basis of responding to things asked of you in the workplace.

Into this milieu arrives my friend Robert.

Since travelling to Nepal and having his heart unexpectedly caught by the people there, he had tried for years to meet Nepalese in Canada. He’d learned the difficult Nepali language on his own from books and CDs. But he’d met only one Nepalese family in town, and found it a bit difficult to connect with them. However, last fall they invited him to a celebration of Nepal’s biggest festival.

In a Knights of Columbus basement, Robert ate goat curry and danced with most of the town’s 40 or so Nepalese. There he met the fast food workers mentioned above. One thing led to another and before he knew it he was hanging out in their home several times a week. Eating home-made yogurt and goat organs and watching Hindi TV shows together.

After a few months passed, it became clear to the Nepalese that their new white Canadian friend was there to stay. One day N. began to share more about conflict at work and being treated differently as a foreign worker, who risked losing his place in Canada by standing up for himself.

Robert responded, “When I am stressed, I have friends pray for me and it really helps. Can I pray for you?”

“Sure, I guess”, his Nepalese friend said.

Robert reached over and put his hand on his friend’s shoulder and began to pray. His words didn’t feel too empowered. There seemed no great inspiration or sense of a God moment… just the trusted expectation that Jesus was real and would somehow do what he does.

Nepail - Hindu - Holy men

The prayer ended quickly and the conversation went elsewhere. A few hours later, N. ended up talking about Hinduism and bizarre stories about gods and “sadhus” or holy men. He had been steeped in Hinduism since childhood but said, “I see contradictions in Hinduism. They say it’s bad to kill animals, but then some gods want animal sacrifices. But I don’t see contradictions in Christianity, actually.” At this point, Robert shared a bit about who Jesus was and what he taught his followers.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, N. said, “No one has ever prayed for me like you did, specifically. While you were praying, I felt something I can’t describe, the hairs on my arm were standing on end and the stressful thoughts were coming off.”

Robert smiled as he now knew what had happened, though up to that point he had no sign that Jesus had decided to show up.

“That’s what we call the Holy Spirit”, Robert said.

“Oh really,” N. replied with interest. “I think I could go to church with you some time.”

Both friends were excited, for different reasons now. One for knowing God would come to his friend and the other for experiencing the reality of the person of Christ versus just talking about religion.

Does letting Jesus live his life through us get any more fun than that?!

For more of the story read Pt 2…

Todd Rutkowski
(with edits from Robert)

~ by blueporch on May 15, 2011.

2 Responses to “Slaughtered goats & touched lives”

  1. Lost my comment. This brought me to tears, Todd and Robert.
    Robert, can you tell me where you found cds teaching Nepali?

    I’m looking forward to reading pt. 2. For some reason I haven’t been receiving email notifications of Blueporch blog additions.

  2. I mostly learned from Teach Yourself Nepali:

    The Lonely Planet Nepali Phrasebook is also quite helpful:

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