Sending JOY to Nepal

In 1989, Joy lived six days’ walk from the nearest road and could only communicate through letters. Things are going to be very different during her second long-term stint with BMS World Mission in Nepal. Get to know her and her fascinating story in our Q&A!

It’s almost thirty years since Joy Ransom first boarded a plane to Nepal to teach with BMS. Now, God’s called her back. She flies on Tuesday 28 August, arrives in Tansen (her new home) on Friday 31 and begins teaching on Monday 3 September – talk about hitting the ground running! The next two weeks are going to be an absolute whirlwind for Joy and she would love it if you would pray for her.

But how rude of us… first you better get acquainted.

Joy smiling next to a Nepalese woman
Joy is getting ready to move back to Nepal, where she'll be working as a teacher and making lots of new friends.

You’re about to leave to serve long-term with BMS in Nepal, but this definitely isn’t your first rodeo. Tell me about when you’ve worked with us before.

In 1989 I went to teach missionaries’ children in a very remote place called Okhaldhunga, in the east of Nepal. There was a hospital there, a community health project, a forestry project and non-formal education. I taught the children of the missionaries who were working there.

I was there for five years, and at that time Okhaldhunga was very remote and the nearest road was six days’ walk away. We used to travel by plane, which only went twice a week, and in the monsoon it often didn’t fly at all because it was too cloudy. So it felt quite isolated. But there was a good community there as well.

What was it like to live so remotely?

It always felt like a lot of thought to leave, because you had to walk to the airstrip and that was about five hours away. So it wasn’t like you could just nip home again if the plane didn’t come. And in the monsoon it did feel quite cut-off. We had no radio, no telephone and no computer in those days, so it felt very different.

I went back to Nepal with BMS as a volunteer in 2015, and I had the chance to go back to Okhaldhunga to visit. That’s the first time I’d been back in 20 years. Now they’ve built a road and you can actually get there by jeep or bus. It’s changed the place. It was lovely to be back there.

Florence nearly got washed away – and the porter literally saved her life

How did you keep in touch with people? Through letters?

Yes, through letters. But we only got mail when the planes came. Quite often I’d be in school with the tutorial group and we’d hear the plane overhead, and the children got very excited and so did I, because we’d think ‘oh yay, the plane’s come today, we might get mail from home.’ But some letters took three months to get to us.

Joy previously served with BMS as a volunteer in Nepal in 2015, when she taught English to teachers.

Tell me about your most memorable experience from that time?

It was monsoon time and I needed to leave the project because it was the holidays and I’d just been in the village for such a long time. So a friend of mine, Florence (who was in her 60s), and I decided that we would walk out. There were no planes, because it was the middle of the monsoon. So we set out with a porter.

I kept asking God, ‘is it time to go back?’

The first few days were fine, but then when we got further south the rivers were huge, and we ended up walking through flooded rivers really, full of grit and sand. Florence nearly got washed away – and the porter literally saved her life by helping her. Reaching out to her, holding her up, and then taking her across the river.

When we eventually got to the road, we still had a 12-hour bus journey to get to Kathmandu.

Wow! It sounds like it’s going to be pretty different this time. Why are you going back to Nepal?

When I left in 1996 I felt that God had still got a work for me to do in Nepal. I had just adopted my daughter Bethany, and she was six months old when we came to the UK. I thought maybe she and I would live in the UK for a few years, and then when she was old enough, we would go back. But that didn’t happen. And although I kept asking God, ‘is it time to go back?’, it wasn’t.

But then three years ago, Bethany was at university and so I applied to go as a volunteer. I thought I’d go for a year just to see what it’s like, because, having been there 20 years ago, I knew the country would have changed, but also I would have changed. So I thought it would be a good chance to see if there’s still a role for somebody like me, and if that was really what God wanted me to do.

I built up relationships in the community and found that my Nepali language came back, and I felt very comfortable in Nepali church. So I felt like that was confirmation that I should explore the possibility of going back longer term. And maybe God did have a plan for me in Nepal.

Joy with some of her students when she was teaching in Nepal in 2015. We're so thrilled that God has called her back there.

We obviously agree! What are you going to be doing?

For the first year I am going back to Tansen, to the same place and same role that I had three years ago. The teacher who took over from me has to go back to the US for a year, so they have a need for a teacher.

After that year, I am hopefully going to work with KISC EQUIP [the Kathmandu International Study Centre’s Education Quality Improvement Programme] doing some teacher training or mentoring of teachers in local Nepali schools in Lamjung, with Simon and Wendy Hall.

This year I also have to complete my Master’s degree, because to get a visa in Nepal you need to have a Master’s. That’s what I’ve been working on this last year, but I still have the dissertation to write in Tansen.

Is it fair to say you’ve left a bit of your heart in Nepal?

Yes. I love Nepal. I love the people.

What are you most excited about, about getting there?

Meeting people again. The people that I made friends with last time. I used to walk every day along the same path from my house to where I worked at the school and there were lots of people who sat along the path, and we would chat every day. That was really nice.

It’s the Church who are supporting me and sending me. We’re doing this together.

Joy is keen to get back to Nepal and see her friends again! We can’t wait to bring you more images of her serving there.

What are you going to miss most?

Apart from family… I’ll miss having a bath.

Would you like people in the UK to get behind you with prayer and donations?

Yes! I believe that mission is a partnership, and although I get the opportunity to go to Nepal and hopefully have some skills and experiences that mean I can be useful there, it’s not just me going off on my own. It’s definitely the Church who are supporting me and sending me. We’re doing this together. And if I can pray for people here and they can pray for me then hopefully everything will be more effective.

What’s the first thing you’ve packed in your suitcase?

Family photographs and mosquito repellent!

Praying for Joy? Click Here
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What can we be praying for?

Please pray that in the next few weeks I get to know the children quickly, and their families. Pray too that I can support them and find out what their needs are. I feel the role of teaching the children of missionaries involves supporting the families too, because often parents feel guilty about taking their children away from their family and culture and peer support.

Pray also that I can make a good start on the study for my Master’s dissertation, that I can choose a really good subject. And that with the internet and the time difference, I can still catch up with my tutor back here in Scotland.

Settling in basically and making a good start.

Posted on: August 23 2018

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