We absolutely love the lives we live.
Every day we have the opportunity to stand alongside strong individuals and communities who are striving to break cycles of poverty and oppression here in Nepal. It’s not ‘easy’ work – there’s bouts of giardia, 17 hour dangerous bus rides, and rats that nibble on your toes – but we believe that for us, right now, this is exactly where we’re meant to be.
We’re often asked “How did you guys end up doing what you do in Nepal?” Well here’s how…
BUT… before I tell you our decision making ‘process’, let me just say this – The last thing this article is meant to be is a ‘subtle boast’ about the “awesome lives we live.” Not at all!
We believe people can live lives of deep meaning and purpose through ANY profession, in ANY neighbourhood, at EVERY stage of life and with ANY sized bank account (whether that’s with millions of dollars in assets or hardly a cent to your name).
All good? Great. Let’s get into it!
Our Decision Making Process
Step 1 – Set your ‘non-negotiables’
No matter where we live or what we do, the decisions we make in our lives must always satisfy the following four non-negotiables. Will it;
- Serve others
- Focus on the poor and marginalised
- Lead more people to realising the purpose they’ve been created for
- Bring us closer together as a family
The greatest investment you can make is in the lives of others.
Money, houses, reputation and success are all such fickle things, each highly susceptible to becoming quickly lost or tarnished beyond repair.
Investing into the lives and futures of others, watching their joy as they achieve things they previously thought impossible, there’s simply nothing like it.
These non-negotiables ensure our joy and the joy of those around us.
Step 2 – Revaluate your ‘wants’ vs. ‘needs’
Having set our non-negotiables, we’re then completely open to where life will take us, and boy has that lead to some adventures!
Key to this is we place no stipulations on either the income or lifestyles we ‘have to have’ in order to be happy. This leaves us ‘freed up’ to basically go anywhere and do anything, which we love. We’ll share houses, take public transport, eat what the locals eat and sleep on the floor of the occasional airport (as seen below on Instagram).
Step 3 – Don’t ‘overthink’ it
“How did you know Nepal was THE place you were meant to go?”
Short answer. We didn’t. Nepal could have been Cambodia, Bolivia, New York, Ghana or inner-city Sydney.
We didn’t look up to see the word ‘Nepal’ written in the clouds, nor did we randomly spin a globe and go wherever our finger landed.
Instead, we were alerted of an opportunity that matched our skills, satisfied our non-negotiables and aligned with what we believed God’s heart for the world is according to the words of Micah 6:8 which speaks about acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly (we’re both Christians and so our faith plays a vital role in all of this).
Step 4 – Limit your ‘conditions’
How many times have you heard someone articulate an exciting life-giving dream only for them to finish with, “But not until…. [I’ve graduated from college / we’ve paid off the mortgage / the kids have finished school / my parents are taken care of etc. etc.]”?
I’m not suggesting you should follow your dreams to the detriment and loss of the other people and responsibilities in your life – that would be selfish. But we need to be real with ourselves.
Are we using these ‘conditions’ as excuses for not doing what we know we’ve been called to deep down inside? And would following our dreams really ‘rule out’ our ability to fulfill these responsibilities or would we just need to get a little bit more creative with how we live our lives?
Step 5 – Limit your debt
This is not a set prescription (and I’m aware of many examples that could be used to counter this) but for us personally, not having a large debt, especially a mortgage, has left us a lot ‘freer’ to respond to where we feel we’re being called to go.
Step 6 – Take others with you
We don’t do this alone. Everything we do is enabled by our community – which includes friends, family, mentors, pastors and organisational leaders – who love, support and encourage us at each step of the journey.
This proverb nails it.
Step 7 – Count the costs
Like I said at the beginning, we love the lives we live, but this often comes at a cost. As we dedicate our lives to serving others in some of the harshest environments, the costs includes risking our personal safety, missing out on being with family back home and never being certain exactly what lies around the next bend.
If you think about it, none of us can ever predict or control our lives. So far better to get out there and take life on rather than continuing to play it safe.