Connecting with Nepal

The Setting

Over the last three years, the church that Paige and I are apart of has entered into the conversation of global missions. The bulk of this conversation has been within the context of an organization called BILD International that provides leadership training and church planting resources worldwide. Their domestic City Church Network, is an intra-state network of churches focusing on training leaders and planting churches here in the United States while partnering with an international church to spread the gospel to an entire country. Our church, Noble City, has entered into discussion with and has sent key leaders to encourage and understand the mission that is unfolding in Nepal.

This has been an ongoing conversation. While Paige and I have not been directly involved in the ministering to the Nepalese people, it is our hope to travel to Nepal to see the work that is being done there. This desire is always heightened during the month of November as we have either traveled to the BILD International conference that takes place in Ames, Iowa and/or have been visited by the Nepalese country leader, Harka, who is responsible for the training of leaders and networking of Nepalese churches.

Conditions in Nepal during Flooding

Harka

As you can see from the photo, Harka may be short in stature, but he has a warm heart and an encouraging personality. It is always a pleasure to be in his company when he comes to visit or we attend the conference. He quietly observes everything and then slowly responds, thinking through his words. Harka has a strong grasp of the English language and world affairs, as most international, high-networkers do. You could place him in any situation, amongst any kind of people, and both parties would depart from each others’ company with a friend for life.

Last week, Harka spent six days with our church in York, Pennsylvania. It was our pleasure to host him for a dinner one evening, inviting some our friends to the conversation that centered around the work being done.

Harka, Paige, and myself from November 2016.

The Mission

Over the course of the evening, our conversation ranged from world affairs to what was going on in each other’s lives. As we were not able to attend the international conference this year, and our time together was limited, we were most interested to discuss how the gospel was progressing and what the pressing needs were. Work is, as is often, slow progress and the needs are many. I will share with you the most interesting and relevant work that is being done.

Printing Materials

Harka and team have set up a small print on demand shop. Think Kinkos in Nepal. They can take in work from those who require printing and use the gains to offset the costs of printing materials for the gospel and training to go forward. However, the demand for training materials outpaces the funds quite considerably. There is a need to print a thousand copies of fourteen booklets – the First Principles series – each cost about a dollar to make. These materials have been translated into one of eight Nepali languages (there are 127 altogether) and are ready to be printed. Each series of books represent great training to an individual leader, multiple leaders, or many congregants who belong to a church.

The First Principles series sets up the gospel and the ways of Christ, teaching its readers in a similar manner to how the first church and early church did in the book of Acts. To learn more about this series, click here. The books Harka is printing is a direct translation of the English materials. Paige and I have worked through many of the books with our church context.

I will say that the materials are not the only training resource these leaders receive. Harka is the leader of the network that is training pastors, whom go out and train other faithful men. There is much diligence to the work that is being done to make sure Christ’s doctrine is taught soundly and guarded faithfully to be used correctly. Harka’s participation in the BILD network offers guidance and training as well.

Printed books for training.

Radio Broadcasting

This is perhaps the need that I have heard Harka speak about least – it may also be the newest project he is working on. There is an opportunity for a radio station to be set up in one of the many cities in Nepal. The project is inexpensive, costing only $8,000, and would allow for the network to reach one million people. Airtime would be split between educational broadcasts that build up the community in common sense ways, Christian broadcasting of the gospel, and time sold to other programs. The messaging would be closely regulated for healthy content.

Farming

Paige has been having an ongoing conversation with Harka about farming, public health, and nutrition. It was clear Harka was eager to talk about the agrarian needs of his community. Less network building or large broadcasting, a farm in a semi-urban context would offer much to the local church and community Harka leads in. Jobs, relationships, opportunity to share the gospel, food for sustenance, food for income, and community working for a common goal are just some of the good that would come from a farm.

The major obstacle is funding and access to land. Land is quite expensive and much of it is being developed as Nepal is a small but growing country. In Nepal, land is measured in bighas. One bigha is 1.67 acres, and costs between $20,000 and $30,000 in a city like Damak. A high price for a church in a country where salaries are often counted in the single or tens of dollars a month.

But the reward would far outweigh the cost. Harka was excited to speak about the purpose it would give many people as it provided jobs and hopes – not of self-fulfillment, but survival. Their current progress towards the goal of saving for land is perhaps 30% and does not include tools, materials, and other supplies that would be needed to start a functioning farm.

The Struggle

I want to take a moment to mention the challenges facing Nepal. An anti-conversion law was just formally passed by the government last week. It is now illegal and punishable to evangelize and to convert a Nepalese person. These acts carry a five-year prison sentence and up to a $500 fine. This law hinders the expansion of the gospel by causing fear amongst those in the Nepalese church and to those who would be ministered to. Harka says there is constant fear of when the church is meeting in his home and it is becoming hard to evangelize in public. Read this article published in Christianity Today for more information.

Parting Words

There is much work to be done in Nepal. There is also much to be done here at home. The first step is to build up and train godly men and women who can perpetuate the mission. This is accomplished through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the work of faithful leaders, and access to inexpensive, quality resources that set up belief in Christ and adherence to sound doctrine. Then we can look out to our neighborhoods, region, and the globe.

However, we must strive to have a conversation in both a local and global context at all times. By doing so we reap the rewards of encouragement, shared insight, resource, service to one another, weeping together, and brotherly affection that characterize Christ’s Church.

It is my hope that this incomplete and sporadic brief on the mission in Nepal sheds some light on the work that is taking place there. It is also my hope that if you have made it this far and are not a Christian, you would please reach out to talk about the fullness of life that should be apparent from the loving works being conducted from one people to another. Finally, if you would like to give to the mission in Nepal, please send me an email – sethnenstiel@gmail.com – or visit give.noblecitychurch.org and select the Nepal Partnership. Your gift is tax deductible as it is stewarded by a 501c3 non-profit.

 

Preserve Me O Lord

There were many times over the course of our most recent trip that I reached for the words, Preserve me O Lord, for in You I take refuge (Psalm 16:1).

When you find your life in danger – even danger you’ve willingly placed yourself in – it’s easy to reach for these words. And the danger was real.

In the last week I’ve taken six flights, climbed several mountains in crazy weather, hiked on a glacier, encountered wild animals including bears and moose, driven hundreds of miles through snow, sleet, rain, and 80 mile-an-hour winds next to cliffs and rivers, and generally lived more daringly than I have at most points in the rest of my life.

It is in these moments that I called out to God for preservation. To keep me from dying. For Him not to forget about me. Which is an incredible thing to pray for!

I wanted to not die probably hundreds of times this past week. But what’s more is the fact that I wanted to live as well, for…

In Your presence is fullness of joy  (Psalm 16:11)

I sat in Seattle airport waiting for a flight, memorizing this verse using hand motions that I created. Anything to help me remember it and the surrounding Psalm. Onlookers – excluding my wife who sweetly laughed at my tiny commotion knowing what I was doing, although with some jest – probably thought I was crazy.

But I’m not crazy.

As I was begging the Lord to preserve me and my wife by praying Psalm 16, I was able to renew my mind in the fact that by praying I was entering into His presence. That joy would come from these moments of seeking Him. And that by hoping to be in His presence, I was also assuring myself of the future joy spent with God and Christ. Forever.

With this Psalm about preservation and joy, I was excited to live. Not just for this life, but for an eternal life. To live this life glorifying the Lord, so that in the next I may have pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).

Here’s to God’s great love, His promises of fullness of joy when we draw near to Him, the preservation offered in eternal life with Christ, and the knowledge that when we give Him the glory, our faith grows stronger (Romans 4:20).

North York: Photographs of a City Slammed by Winter Storm Jonas

York, Pennsylvania is one of the areas that received the most snowfall from Winter Storm Jonas with totals coming in around 31.5 – 37 inches of snow. A crippling amount for our small city — two days after the storm and there is no where to go with the snow. Here is a visual commentary on the storm’s affect showing the current condition of the neighborhoods in York City. Most of the photos are from the Avenues and Parkway neighborhoods with a short venture into the downtown area.

All photos pictured here are shot within an hour of 5p, Sunday, January 24th.

I would love to see your photos from the storm — please send them to me at sethnenstiel@gmail dot com

001-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09886

002-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09906

003-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09950

004-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09956

005-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09958

006-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09961

007-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09963

008-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09970

009-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09985

010-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09987

011-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09991

012-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09995

013-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-09999

014-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00013

015-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00015

016-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00027

018-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00034

019-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00042

020-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00045

021-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00048

022-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00058

023-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00064

024-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00111

025-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00114

026-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00128

027-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00136

028-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00165

029-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00174

030-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00179

031-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00184

032-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00187

033-snow-north-york-pennsylvania-city-seth-nenstiel-photographer-00229

Seth Nenstiel Photography – What’s New for 2016

First things First – Getting Healthy

I want to make very it clear — I am STILL photographing during this time and am having a blast doing so!

It’s no secret that my wrist has been giving me trouble. I have degenerated cartilage in my right wrist as shown by the last MRI in 2014. With that benchmark in place and new health insurance I am able to aggressively pursue healing for my wrist this year. I begin this month with an appointment to see a hand specialist. UPDATE: I saw a hand specialist and he feels that my wrist is stable but irritated by a small tear in the cartilage or a ligament. I go for an ultrasound in a few weeks to learn more and understand what can be done to holistically approach healing my wrist. The doctor feels it is an easy problem to address and heal!

I thank my clients, family, and friends so much for their ongoing support and encouragement through 2015 as I wrestled with how and what to photograph. It’s out of this encouragement that I am still photographing and making some changes to my offered disciplines.

What I’m Offering in 2016

08-business-portraits

Head Shots and Portraits for Business

I love working with people. It’s one of the things that makes my job fantastic. Out of new locations, great opportunities, and ability to be creative, the best thing by far is working with people.

Over the last few years I have be cultivating my approach to head shots and portraiture. This year one of the key disciplines I am focusing on is head shots and portraiture for business. My style brings a creative, jubilant feel to the head shot because the people you work with & companies you work for are not mindless drones! Now you can bring fresh, smiling faces to your website. During the session we laugh a lot and have fun, it really is effortless on your behalf–just show up and smile.

Whether you need a natural light look and feel or a studio consistency, I’ve got you covered. I bring the lighting setup to your location and we plan out the steps and timing to get everything perfect.

Contact me to feature the people that make your organization great.


01-garlic-poet-food-photography-seth-nenstiel-08878

Food and Restaurant

They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Apparently I am not the exception, just ask my wife!

Throughout 2015 I had some AMAZING opportunities to photograph food and restaurants for publications and private organizations. I love working with chefs as creatives, building the photos, and perfecting the details. There is much to be said through the art of food and everyone knows consumers are buying with their eyes (and stomachs!).

In 2016 I want to take my food and restaurant photography to the next level. If you have a friend in this industry I would love to connect with them over a great cup of coffee — put me in touch! And share with them a few of my thoughts on the value in food and restaurant photography: Four Reasons Your Restaurnt Needs Great Photography


14-architecture-photography-york-pa

Commercial and Events

What a whirlwind of a year in commercial photography. I shot an rebranding for a regional company, three billboards on I-83, several magazine covers being published worldwide, and countless events. This year I am excited for more.

In 2016 I am open for commercial, advertising, and editorial work. As part of this discipline I get to work with Creative Directors and Marketing Directors to brainstorm and build art direction. I am looking forward to blowing boundaries away. Let’s get together and create!


Legacy Project – Films

This is something that Paige & I have been brainstorming for awhile. All I can say is stay tuned for an announcement about the Legacy Project — it is an outpouring of my heart to capture the value of the lives around us.

Here’s a quick preview logo made by the fantastic designer Jesus Rosario.

legacy

What I’m Saying Goodbye To in 2016

Weddings

My apologies to everyone who has contacted me about photographing their wedding this year. I am no longer offering weddings — they are long days and to be honest I find that my wrist cannot maintain holding the camera for that amount of time without becoming irritated.

Please know, I treasure your moments and I want you to have the best opportunity to have them covered. I do have a selection of gifted photographers and vendors that I can recommend for your wedding if you reach out I can connect you with them!

Not Loving What I’m Photographing

This year I am going to be more selective. It’s not just about the work, it’s about the lifestyle. It means being at home with my wife, or at church on Sundays, or on a needed vacation. It means shifting to project based pricing, so I don’t have to watch the clock. It means working with people who believe what I believe. Finally it means harder work, more discipline, more progress, and being honest with how I feel!

In 2016 I want to love my work and grow more than ever!

Over & Out

01-seth-4285
I cannot thank you enough — dear reader, client, friend, family member, mentor, or bystander — for supporting my work and my life. You make this possible. Please keep in touch or get in touch. Let’s make 2016 great…

Let’s create together!

Chicago Black and White

A sequel to my post Chicago in Color, these photos are a little grittier and more true to my own form and function as a photographer. I want to document life. This is Chicago as I saw it, raw and uninhibited.

A thank you to my wife who was also photographing that day for capturing me documenting this man. His name was Napoleon and what caught my attention was his hair. When I asked him if I could make his photo he pulled out the hat that you see in the cover photo. We laughed and I told him I liked his hair, so he removed the hat and allowed me to photograph him again.

Keep on looking up & photographing.

If these have moved you in anyway, I’d love to hear from you.

That time I almost had a beer with Jeb Bush

The setting is the Iowa State Fair. Brightly colored stands line the streets and the smell of cartelized onions, Italian sausage, and cow manure fills the air. Excitement begins to bubble up as we pull into the field to park. Yes, my wife’s entire family and I (seven of us) are going to the Iowa State Fair. It’s an impulsive decision, but when in Iowa… right? So we file out of the car, garner our tickets, and head into the sprawl.

The fair is everything you’d hope it would be — greasy food, farm animals, tractors, people bumping into you, cabin-fever crafts, and carnival types everywhere. Want to see the worlds smallest horse? It’s here. The world’s largest Adirondack chair with people falling into it? Yep, it’s a sight to see!

We were just minding our business, walking along the Sky Glider, when there is a din of media piling into this pavilion. Guess who’s having a beer… Jeb Bush. So we wander over. Since this isn’t my first rodeo (or State Fair) I go into photographer mode and begin documenting the whole shindig.

Jeb’s talking with constituents and enjoying a brew at 10:30a. All in a days work. I’m snapping away, and manage to get a few words with Jeb on the coattails of my father-in-law. He seems like an okay guy.

And if you’re wondering, Jeb’s mom is doing a lot better. Turns out she was sick for a stint.

jeb bush

iowa state fair

jeb bush drinking beer

iowa fairgrounds jeb bush

So there you have it. I guess I really didn’t almost have a beer with him, but we hung out… for like a second.

All in a days work!

If you have an event that requires photo coverage, be sure to contact me!