Mission in Nepal, Bangladesh and Singapore
Vassula's visit of December 2008
As many readers of True Life in God will be aware, and for those of you reading who are not so aware, Vassula requests someone to accompany her on any witnessing mission that she undertakes. This was instructed by Jesus in 1996, as Vassula explains in her footnote of the message of December 24th 1996, "this came like a command" when Jesus said to her, "You are not to go on your own" meaning not to travel alone on the missions to which she gives her yes to do.
I write this as a witness as I believe it to be important to understand, as it is a huge privilege to be asked to accompany Vassula when doing the Lord's work. I write therefore asking pardon from any reader in the lateness of this report, as in undertaking the opportunity to travel with her in December 2008 to Nepal, a country that she had never witnessed in before, I have neglected to share with the world until now, the wonderful visit that took place. I write now and wish to share the Goodness of God's work and Love in our time that I experienced and witnessed as a result of Vassula's visit there. Furthermore with the lapse of time, there is very strong evidence of fruit yielded as a result of this witnessing, photos of which can be shared, as a fruit, with you too.
In the beginning.....
When I was in my kitchen in Scotland one Saturday afternoon in October 2008, chatting to Vassula on the phone, as I do now and then, I didn't think for one minute that I would come off the phone as if I were dancing on air. The reason?...towards the end of the conversation, she told me that she had been invited to witness in Nepal, for the first time and may well tie in other countries in Asia as part of the same trip, and was thinking to ask if I would be able to accompany her. I was so surprised and yet ecstatic at the thought, on two accounts really. The main one being that to travel and participate with Vassula on one of her missions is for me a great grace as it allows for the opportunity to watch and learn as she shares the messages of True Life in God around the globe; but also to be with Vassula and share the friendship that she has given me, and that we share, and to experience that on familiar "stomping ground", as I used to work and live in Bangladesh and every now and then would travel to Nepal as it is very nearby.
The next couple of weeks planning saw a programme being pulled together that would also include a brief visit to Bangladesh, as Vassula felt that she wanted to see how the Beth Myriam is developing there, given that it is now 9 years old, having been opened in December 1999. The initial invitation was however from Nepal and all preparations were around this. Imagine the added bonus of hearing that following the mission visit to Nepal, we would end the journey in Singapore, as Vassula's husband had kindly offered her this part of the trip as a Christmas present, knowing that Vassula could visit her younger son, Fabian, who resides there at this special time. Being so close, i.e. a couple of hours away, and not having been able to see her son would have been hard for her, so it was with wonderful generosity that Per, her husband, suggested this and allowed me to accompany her.
Only two weeks before the trip was to commence, the usual tribulations manifested. There was communication from the organisers in Nepal that the meeting scheduled could no longer go ahead partly because of some opposition that threatened to sabotage any attempt to allow people in Nepal to come and hear Vassula speak and also because of lack of resources, mainly with regards to books being available for the people.
The importance of the books, messages of True Life in God, being available at every witnessing cannot be stressed enough as Vassula can only give the equivalent of an "hor's d'oevres" in relation to the banquet of love and wisdom contained in the messages that the Lord gives to this generation in these days. People become hungry after this taste and need to be able to access the message in book or audio visual format.
True life in God, however, is not merely the title of the books of messages for this generation, but as Jesus explains in the messages, ""True Life in God" means to dwell in the love of God and in God.
God's aim is to draw everyone towards Him, to Himself and in Him. The soul cannot live without God, but it takes its life from God. "Come and I shall show you, if you are willing what "True life in God" means. I tell you solemnly, that anyone who lives in love, lives in Me, your God, and I live in him."
The organisers in Nepal were suggesting that the mission trip be cancelled and in true style with a spirit of fortitude, Vassula replied that the trip will and would go ahead and that the organisers were to continue with their plans and that the people would come...which, is exactly what happened, again proving to me, and I hope to others that nothing can stop this great work of God's although we will always be sent trials.
Books were arranged to be sent from India and although in Hindi language, could be accessed by many Nepalese, as you will understand from the description of the country of Nepal below.
Nepali (official) & 20 other languages divided into numerous dialects. Derived from Sanskrit, Nepali is related to the Indian language, Hindi, and is spoken by about 90 percent of the population in either native or second language fluency. Many Nepalese in government and business also speak English.
We had departed from Dhaka in Bangladesh just after mid day on 11th December 2008, as Vassula had wished to make a brief stop over trip to visit the Beth Myriam there which continues to sustain itself and grow from strength to strength.
She met with Duleep and the Muslim Imam, who she considers a true friend and she also spent a short while visiting the Venerable Suddananda Mahathero at the Buddhist Monastery in Dhaka where we were invited to a most wonderful lunch and hospitality. It is beautiful to see the love and friendship that the venerable has and demonstrates towards his "sister" Vassula, and for me I can see why they embrace the messages of love contained in True Life in God as readily as they do as I witness them living this love.
A welcome meeting for Vassula by Venerable Suddananda Mahathero of Dhammaarjiki Buddhist Monastery, Dhaka
The family who oversee the running of Beth Myriam on a daily basis in Dhaka.
Vassula enjoying catching up with Imam on her brief stop over in Dhaka, Bangladesh
The country of Nepal
Nepal is landlocked and a strategic location between India and Chinese-occupied Tibet. It has extremely diverse terrain ranging from fertile plains and broad valleys to containing eight of the world's ten highest peaks.
It is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with nearly half of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for over 80% of the population and accounting for 40% of GDP. Apart from agricultural land and forests, exploitable natural resources are mica, hydropower and tourism.
More recently, however, political instability-five different governments over the past few years-has hampered Kathmandu's ability to forge consensus to implement key economic reforms. Nepal has considerable scope for accelerating economic growth by exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest.
Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors remain poor due to the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.
The people of Nepal
The population is 23,200,000 (2001 census) Among the earliest inhabitants were the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley and aboriginal Tharus in the southern Terai region. The Indo-Nepalese migrated from India and are ancestors of the Brahman and Chetri caste groups, which account for nearly 80% of the population. The Tibeto-Nepalese account for the remainder and trace their origins to central Asia and Tibet, including the Gurungs, Magars and Tamang in the west, Rais and Limbus in the east, and Sherpas and Bhotias in the north
Religion: 90% Hindu (official state religion) 5% Buddhist, 3% Muslim, 2% Other (Christian, indigenous & animistic practices) While Nepal is the only Hindu country in the world, Hinduism has synthesized with Buddhism in Nepal. As a result, Buddhist and Hindu shrines and festivals are respected and celebrated by all.
Arriving In Nepal
Nepal has a climate that ranges from subtropical summers with mild winters in the southern lowlands to an alpine climate with cool summers as well as severe winters in the mountains.
When we arrived it was a beautiful December afternoon with brilliant sunshine, and a cold fresh "snow-breathed" nip in the air that breezed its way down from the surrounding Dragons teeth peaks of the surrounding Himalayan mountain range.
Vassula was greeted by the organising team and immediately drowned with an array of beautiful flowers and silken kerchief type scarves that is a tradition for people arriving and departing from Nepal.
The Organisers of the Nepal mission trip welcome Vassula at the airport
We were quickly transported to the hotel in Kathmandu where Vassula would stay and later in the afternoon, a familiar and very welcome face arrived at the hotel, that of Fr Stephen Rafael, Catholic Priest from Calcutta, who had agreed to be a Spiritual Companion on the trip in Nepal.
Fr Stephen was clad in woollens as he experienced the cold in a very strong way, coming from hot and humid West Bengal and he was the source of great smile and laughter as he sported a Nepalese woolly hat that covered his head and ears. Both Vassula and I had belly aching laughter at times when we saw him as we revelled in the great winter and warm sunshine and acknowledged and incongruence in the attire with the sunshine, although when the sun goes down in winter in Kathmandu, it is cold.
Fr Stephen sporting his new Nepalese hat in the Winter sunshine outside Assumption Church, Kathmandu
The first evening was about meeting with prayer group members and organisers of the mission trip to Nepal, namely Christiane Plompen and Joseph Naraula who was to translate for Vassula at her meeting the following day.
Christiane had mentioned that the Bishop, Monsignor Anthony Sharma was unable to come to the meeting arranged for the clergy, from the respective churches in Nepal, the following day so Vassula suggested that she go to him and asked if Christiane could lead the way to his house. We duly left and once we located his humble residence, which was without heat and power due to the daily load shedding that takes place, Vassula had an extremely warm and comfortable reception from a the Bishop who was empathic and openly discussed the state of the church in its political context in Nepal and generally about living the Gospel and doing acts of faith so as to be witnesses to Christ in a country that is has both political and religious constraints due to some of the factors described in the paragraphs above about Nepal
Vassula with Bishop Sharma, Kathmandu, Nepal
A group photo with Bishop Sharma, Fr Stephen and Christiane Plompen
The following morning on 12th December, following a good night's rest and a hearty breakfast we welcomed another beautiful dry crisp fresh morning in the Nepalese capital.
Christiane, Carolyn and others form the prayer group had arranged a short visit for Vassula to go to Patan Durbar Square in Kathmandu. This is the plaza opposite the old royal palace in the three main cities in the Kathmandu valley in Nepal Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, and. The square is filled with temples.
The prayer group members and organisers arranged this so that she could flavour the old buildings and stupas of the capital and experience the hustle and bustle of the narrow side streets busy with people's daily lives and activity.
Vassula with one of the nuns from Sisters of Charity of Nazareth order
Shortly after this at 11am, Vassula was taken to Assumption Church in Kathmandu, the only Catholic Church that there is, but itself a most splendid building and visually stands in keeping with the local architecture of the city.
The members of the clergy who arrived represented the Kathmandu Spiritual church, Parish Priest of the local Catholic Church, UCA news reporter, Protestant Nepali church, Baptist Church and some nuns from the Catholic Church and representation from the national human rights commission of Nepal.
Fr Stephen introduced Vassula at this meeting in which she described the approach of her Angel in 1985 and went through the explanation as to how her Angel Daniel prepared her for when God approached her. Vassula explained to the clergy that when this happened and she was allowed to experience seeing herself with God's eyes, she felt like a leper when she saw herself and shared that this was the beginning of her purification. She continued to explain how this went on for about three years when she continued to doubt what was happening to her and said that she was kind of rejecting what was happening to her and yet she knew that she was being formed by God for the mission that was to be given to her.
She shared that before she was approached by God and got to know Him, she had made God a judge and explained that this was like He is portrayed in many icons, but that in the words that Jesus gives us in the messages, "My Father is King, yet so motherly, He is Judge, yet so tender and loving, He is the Alpha and the Omega yet so meek." allows us to understand what Vassula said next, in that she has been allowed, like David in the book of Psalms, to taste the sweetness of God and immediately her soul recognised The Creator, when He approached her.
She shared how the Lord said to her and to us all, as remember we are asked to take away Vassula's name and insert our own as God is talking to us all, "You belong to me, you come from me, you descend from me, and you are mine"
Vassula went on to say that when God speaks, he goes straight to the soul of a person. When this happened to Vassula she shared that "her soul woke up, and that her soul had so much joy". She then went on to say that to get to know God is to understand Him. If we do not approach Him and get to know Him intimately then we cannot get to understand Him. Jesus tells us in a message from 7 August 2002 that "true theology is the contemplation of me your God"
Vassula went on to talk about many things with the clergy in relation to sharing the messages and the implications in our days.
She focussed on emphasising sharing with the clergy the intimacy that God desires from us in our relationship with Him and also the importance of unity, once again reiterating that this is a spiritual unity that Christ desires of us and that the keys to unity and love and humility. She talked about how Jesus has said that, "Administration has industrialised my Church" and that unity can only come about with a deep repentance from us for the sin of division.
She continued by saying that Satan keeps us divided and division weakens the church. We have the opportunity to exchange one's gifts with each other for example the protestants have the love and knowledge of scripture in the Bible the Orthodox the tradition of the Church, the Catholics, adoration and stations of the cross to mention a few. Through this we have the opportunity to exchange these gifts and make the Church richer. She concluded with asking how can the world know that Jesus was sent by God if we are not seen as united here on earth.
The entrance and stained glass window of Assumption Church, Kathmandu
Vassula sharing with respective members of the clergy, how she was approached by her Angel Daniel and how she was formed for her mission.
Throughout her whole visit in Nepal Vassula, she frequently made reference to the rich messages given to us through out True Life in God on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our times like never before. We are being called to reconciliation through the Holy Spirit and many of us have and are experiencing a New Pentecost through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Once the meeting with clergy was over, an opportunity to soak up the sun and for a group photograph
The clergy who attended seemed very impressed and when I was able to ask them individually what they thought of Vassula's witnessing and discussion with them some of the replies were as such:
"This is a timely coming in Nepal, and very positive. We would like to work ecumenically. Good things have been started by women and I feel very good about this" Draupati Rokia, Shugarmata Protestant Church
"It was good to have this kind of meeting. She talked on unity and this is very important for us I am really impressed and I feel good" Rev Dr Isu Jung Karki, Kathmandu Spiritual Church
Ashish Pradhan, from Union of Catholic Asian News said, "It is a good thing to have such a good meeting in church and the first time about unity in the Catholic Church. Unity is a good thing for all denominations.
This was very nice it was very genuine, real. Fr Robi Rai, RC priest Assumption Church,
Followed by Pastor Simon Gurury Emmanuel Baptist Church who said, "This was very good"
Sister Teresa Madassery from the Sisters of charity of Nazareth stated that, "It was wonderful"
As Vassula concluded her meeting with the clergy in Kathmandu she quoted form scriptures saying
"Listen! I stand at the door and knock; If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his house and eat with him, and he will eat with me" Revelations 3, 20
Vassula, Fr Stephen Rafael, Joseph Naraula translator and Christiane Plompen outside Assumption Church prior to meeting
13 December 2008
The morning's programme for Vassula began with a morning celebration of Holy mass in Assumption Church. It was wonderful to observe the church being filled up with people, young old and what I was also to learn, people not only from other denominations but from other faiths who had come to listen to Vassula witnessing on God's love for His people.
It was fitting then that the witnessing focussed primarily on approaching God and getting to know Him and Vassula sharing with everyone there, the taste and sweetness of God as she has experienced and that we are all invited to partake in.
She again began with the Lord's Prayer and stated that it was her first time in Nepal and thanked the people for coming to listen to her.
Vassula begins her witnessing in Assumption Church Kathmandu
The people who had come to listen to Vassula's first witnessing in Nepal, Assumption Church Kathmandu
Some of the young members of the prayer group in Kathmandu who cannot speak English but who I heard recite some of the prayers of true Life in God in English by heart. Here they are saying the prayer of deliverance given to us by Jesus in November 2006
Vassula began by explaining as she has many times and in many witnessing before that she was a normal housewife when she first heard God speaking to her. She heard a voice so tender that she felt as if she had heard Him and knew Him before. She felt Him as "my Father", before her father here on earth. When asked to pray the Our Father, she explained how the answer, "Yes, Dad", just slipped out of her mouth and she was afraid at having caused offence at first but was reassured by God that he had taken this answer like a jewel in His Hand. This was God showing her and all of us that He desires intimacy from us. To preach teach and pray is one thing but to know and understand God is another. To be intimate with Him and to have fear of the Lord are like two feet walking towards Him so that it is possible to penetrate to the depths of God.
Through these messages Vassula explained that God, our Father is teaching us the image we have lost. The message is a call to conversion, a change of heart, of reconciliation and of unity, especially that of Christ's Mystical Body here on earth, His church. I have heard and witnessed Vassula witnessing in many places and in many different countries for which a witnessing report is written as explained at the beginning of this report. All the richness of what is shared with those who come to hear is so vast that it is impossible to capture all of it and experience in one brief report. My attempt to witness here is to capture what stood out for me as someone listening and observing these people in Nepal hearing the words and love of God flowing through the mouth of Vassula. I made notes as she spoke and recorded what she witnesses and as I write this so much further down the path of time, it is as if she spoke these words only hours ago so fresh is it still in my memory.
Vassula placed a lot of emphasis in this first witnessing on relationship with God and on repentance explaining that repentance involves
Vassula went on to share that when her Angel approached her, he asked her to make peace with God. Vassula replied that she was not at war with god and then later God showed her in a special way all the sins that she has committed as seen through the eyes of God.
This was the same topic that she has shared and emphasised with the clergy the day before and although I have heard Vassula witness this many times, at the time that she shared it again and even as I write, it resonates with me and it jumps out at me and is so profound a teaching that it emphasises the perfect pedagogy given to us by God through the messages of true life in God, which as we know are nothing new, add nothing new to Scripture and are a reminder of the Word.
The essence of the witnessing here in Assumption church was on love and Vassula reminded us that on judgement day we shall be judged according to the amount of love that we shown whilst on earth; love of god and love for our neighbour. Repentance, she said, is the gate that leads souls from darkness to light and then we can say that we are walking with God when we are truly repentant and when we want to get to know Him, Jesus reminds us that we "have to approach Me and speak to me with simplicity of heart".
Vassula reminded everyone there about the three levels of the spiritual life that Christ asks of us to detach ourselves (from earthly things and material things); To become dispassionate (where we give more importance to God in our lives and to achieve the angelic virtue of impassibility, that of when you are totally absorbed in God and God is absorbed in you
The witnessing concluded at lunchtime and was hugely successful with Vassula staying behind for another 45 minutes to explain about Beth Myriams and to discuss with interested parties as to what to do to begin prayer groups and Beth Myriams emphasising that faith is not enough but that acts of love will fill us with joy inside as it is what the Lord desires from us. Many people who congregated outside talked abut how wonderful it had been for them and they were eager to hear what Vassula was to say about starting up prayer groups.
A brief visit to the environs of Kathmandu during Vassula's witnessing visit to Kathmandu
Sunday 14th December
Sunday morning was a fairly early start for Vassula, but nothing that she is not used to in terms of her worldwide missions. In fact I suppose that leaving Kathmandu after 8am and breakfast to head for Godavari in the foothills surrounding the capital is quite a late start for her, compared with some of the hours that I have witnessed her having t rise and beginning her respective journey to wherever and she always does it without complaint and with sheer dedication and desire to accomplish the mission visit.
Christiane and the organisers had programmed a smaller witnessing to take place in a small semi rural location in the foothills that lie on the outskirts of Kathmandu as many hill people were unable to make the witnessing in the capital the day previously and this gave them the opportunity especially in a small area that is served by a Catholic church and whose population consists of many Christians.
The Catholic Church at Godavari
Prakash from the prayer group happily selling the volumes of TLIG books at Godavari
People had started to arrive early at the little church of the Sacred heart in Godavari as most of the population are hill people and see to their livestock and work on the land that needs done early in the Winter morning as sun rises. The difference and drop in the temperature was noticeable to Kathmandu and it was unthinkable for Vassula to have witnessed without a jacket and scarf.
The people who had come to hear her were not large in number in comparison to the Kathmandu witnessing however they were very attentive. Vassula began by explaining who the Holy Spirit is. She gave the example of a fish in water and that it needs water to breath. She said that it is the same for us humans...that we move in the Spirit breath in the Spirit and obtain our life in the spirit. She went on to say, "If we do not have the Holy Spirit in our lives then we dry up and spiritually die .It is therefore important that we continue to obtain the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows us the Will of God and through the light of the Holy Spirit we can see God's Will".
Vassula uses the analogy of a glass of water to explain the filling up of individuals of the Holy Spirit
She then put a question to those who had come to listen and asked "What would you do first to obtain God's Spirit? When people shouted out that they would pray and ask the Holy Spirit to come, Vassula replied, yes but the Lord says that the Holy Spirit cannot come upon us if we are in debt to sin so what is needed is for us to repent. She therefore continued the theme of repentance as she has in Kathmandu the previous day. She explained that "we are all called to a true dying to self and to true abandonment to God. By doing so, He then becomes our Intimate and Holy Companion and He will be conversing with us manifesting His sweet love to us".
The Godavari community listening attentively to her witnessing on the love of the Holy Spirit
In a message the Holy Spirit tells us, "I am He who brings you into filial love to lead a divine life and become gods by participation".
However if we do not repent God will hold us accountable for any:
Hostility .....and ...........disobedience to His precepts for ignoring Him and the graces when they were offered,
for our rigidity,
for our inflexibility when it comes to reconciliation.
So the Lord is asking is for peace and love
Vassula explained that the Lord is speaking to us because the world has become very cold...not physically but cold to love. There is a deep apostasy and a rejection of divine truth. She continued that God the Father, seeing His creation going from bad to worse is pouring His mercy like never before. The Lord has said to us through the messages that "I will not come upon you with My Holy Spirit to violate your liberty. I come to you with Mercy and to give you full knowledge of Myself. I do not come to you with new things but I come to place My Kingdom in each Heart"
Vassula continued by explaining that the least we are then the more God can be in us and that he can "show His authority". She explained that God asked Vassula, "be My Echo and give them the messages and let them know My Messages", however explaining that she has this charism of prophecy through no merit of her own but that God is free to choose whoever He wants.
She talked abut the importance of the Holy Eucharist and the fact that there is diminished importance given to the Eucharist in these days and shared the understanding on the teaching of equality of love that we have to return the love that God gives to us as it is not out love anyway and in doing so, we have an equality of love. Jesus says, "Without me you will live like the World.... and from Love descends all virtues".
On the subject of prayer
Vassula concluded her witnessing explaining the prayer without ceasing....to thirst and hunger for God all day long. She also emphasised that we should pray without self interest. She said that the Lord asks for acts of reparation.
She asked the people if they ever considered themselves descending from royalty and quoted from the messages, "You are offspring of the Most High, you descend from sovereignty and splendour. You belong to Us, You belong to heaven. You are of Noble descent". She reminded us that nothing is impossible to God.
The children who are residential at the church premises and ground here in Godavari
The witnessing concluded with the people who had travelled to listen, singing a hymn of prayer and thanks and it was evident to my eyes and ears that everyone who had travelled had been touch by the Love Hymn from Heaven and by God's Echo, Vassula.
The Parish Priest Fr Pius kindly put on lunch for Vassula and all of us who were with us and then took us around his parish church and residence that he has there for young children who are orphans and some of whom are terminally ill.
There was a peaceful and calming atmosphere at this little church in the hills and it was amazing to watch everyone disappear into the hills and landscape and chattering amongst themselves as to what they had heard and witnessed. For me, I had the same experience there in Nepal, for no matter how often I hear Vassula witness, I believe I hear God speak directly and my soul also sings for joy. With this, I felt united with the people of Godavari.
There are not so many places on a Sunday morning in the cold mountain air where that can happen readily unless we are being moved and fed by His Spirit of Love.
Fr Pius Perumana, Parish Priest at Godavari, Vassula and Fr Stephen Raphael
We then returned to Kathmandu but before that had a short stroll in one of the forest on the outskirts of the city with the prayer group so that Vassula could relax a bit. The following morning the prayer group came to the hotel where we all had a farewell breakfast together, talked with excitement about the last few days in Nepal and acknowledged that it was a lovely early Christmas present to be able to witness Vassula for the first time in Nepal.
The prayer group were very eager to continue with the acts of love that Vassula talked abut and not so many months after this visit, Christiane Plompen and members of the prayer group were able to open a Beth Myriam in Kathmandu which is an amazing feat of love. This may have been Vassula's first visit to this tiny kingdom of Nepal but it her witnessing has borne strong fruit in the year that has passed. Praise be to God!
A final stroll in the environs of Kathmandu to sample the fresh mountain air
And so to bed.............Vassula manages to share a laugh at the end of a busy two days in Nepal with her new purchases that she bought as Christmas gifts to take home to Greece with her following the trip
Farewell breakfast with the prayer group and organisers at the hotel
Farewell to Christmas tree in Nepal........
Hello to Christmas tree in Singapore as Vassula visits her son, Fabian and his girlfriend, Ching for a few days just before Christmas
The opening day of Beth Myriam in Nepal