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Ballymoney family preparing for new life in Nepal

(Money Times):  A BALLYMONEY family is preparing to set off for an exciting new life in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Andy Bleakley (33) and his South-African born wife Laura (31), along with their two young children Asher and Hadassash, will leave their Millbrooke Park home and head off to Nepal to carry out missionary work.

The couple are members of Ballymoney Elim Church and they leave on July 20, initially for two years.

A special leaflet prepared by the couple said: ‘July 2012 is a month that we have been thinking of for a number of years. Nonetheless, until now, it has long seemed an eternity away. When we moved back to Northern Ireland in 2006, our goal was that Laura would get to know this wonderful country better and that Andy would gain his PGCE and several years of teaching experience. It was always in our thoughts that we would take what we learned back to the mission field.

‘Along the way, we have enjoyed making wonderful friends who have been a great support as we take this huge step. Our family has also grown as we have welcomed Asher and Hadassah into our world.

‘After spending a year thinking and praying about opportunities, we felt drawn towards the mountainous nation of Nepal. We recognised it as being a country of huge physical and spiritual need. When we consider the needs, we feel very insignificant. Nonetheless, we believe that with God’s grace we can make a difference.

‘Many people live in terrible conditions as slaves in Nepal. In order to borrow money for simple necessities like food and medicine some people’s only option is to try and work off their debts as slaves. In reality this means that families can be working in slavery for life, passing on their debts to their children

‘A quarter of a million Nepali girls have been sold to work in the sex industry across the border in India. It is estimated that between 8,000 and 12,000 girls and young women disappear every year. Up to 70% of them are HIV positive and few of them will live to the age of 25.

‘Before 1960 no Christian could live in Nepal. Now there is more freedom of religion, but it is still difficult and dangerous to tell other people about God.

‘Today, there are an estimated 500,000 Christians in Nepal (about 2% of the population). Praise God for this amazing growth.

‘A new Nepal began in 2008 with the absolute power of the Hindu monarchy yielding to pro-democracy protests. This is an answer to the specific prayers of almost all Christians in Nepal who have interceded for their nation, and it paves the way for new freedoms and opportunities for Christian ministry.

‘When we move to Nepal, we will spend the first 6 weeks on a language and orientation programme. Andy will then be serving at KISC (Kathmandu International Study Centre) whilst Laura will look to get involved in local projects and bring up our two wonderful children.

‘KISC was established in 1987 as many missionaries in Nepal were having to leave prematurely due to the pressing need of their children’s education. There are three aspects to KISC – a primary school, secondary school and EQUIP (Education Quality Improvement Programme). EQUIP seeks to link with rural Nepali schools and provides support, including teacher training. To impact a teacher is to impact every child they will ever teach.

‘It will be a privilege to serve at the school and to know that our work will enable around 100 families to continue with what God has called them to in this special country,’ said the leaflet.

The Bleakleys are organising the following fundraising events:

* The Oasis coffee shop at Ballymoney Elim Church. Friday 13th April at 7.30pm. * Exhibition football match on Monday 14th May. Ballymoney Elim will compete against an Invitational XI. Venue to be confirmed.

* Providing refreshments at the Dervock Festival of Running on 21st July.

Brochures are available giving more details and ways in which people can help to support the initiative. Either, drop in to Ballymoney Elim church and pick one up or write to: C/O The Bleakley family, 173 Garryduff Road, Dunloy, Ballymena, BT44 9DD

The Bleakleys are also keeping an internet blog: http://bleakleysinnepal.blogspot.com

Published Date: Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 | 01:54 AM

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