Bangladesh Adventures

Monday, May 26, 2008

Prayers Needed for Jonathan's Health Situation

May 12, 2008 I received the following letter from a good friend of Nita and mine. We went to Graduate School back with him in 1991 and have stayed good friends with him and his wife , Thelma over the years. In fact we visited them as a family in the Philippines where they live in 2003 and I visited again just last December when I was in the Philippines for work. They are a great couple who have gave their life to helping prostitutes get off the streets and out of the bars of Manila; and come to the Lord. Please Pray for the healing of Jonathan's body.

Dearly loved family and friends,

The events of the past 3 weeks have all exploded so quickly for us that we haven’t had the time or energy to deeply absorb them ourselves, let alone sit down and write a letter to share these things with each of you. But now as we know and understand more of what is happening, I want to try to summarize for you what has happened and where we are right now.

Late last month, after about 2 weeks of what felt like annoying muscle pains in my left arm, I went in to the doctor for a checkup after my left shoulder and chest began to feel swollen and sore. During that examination, the doctor and I discovered for the first time a lump under my left arm. A subsequent CT scan revealed a 5cm x 7cm mass under my left arm. A biopsy a few days later showed that this mass is malignant. Further lab tests confirm that this is an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. We are now working with both a medical oncologist, as well as a nutritional oncologist, and they are coordinating together an integrated treatment plan. Last week I already started on some comprehensive natural supplements and therapies to boost my body’s immune system. Probably some time this week I will have my first cycle of chemotherapy.

This has been an emotional roller coaster ride for Thelma and me, going from dark moments to rays of hope back to discouraging reports. Thelma has also had to juggle some new aspects of caring for me at home, alongside of some Samaritana activities and responsibilities, as well as taking care of Katrinka and household. It has been a tremendous challenge, and there have been moments of exhaustion. Both of us cry from a deep place in our souls for Life, that God grant me longer life, and that we enjoy each present moment and each other in every moment of life.

The Lord has been gracious to see us through the initial days of our shock through the love and concern of those of you who have begun to pray, and through friends and family who have come to provide practical help and encouragement to us. The next months will be full of new diets, new routines and rituals, new vulnerabilities, new ways of letting go and depending on others and receiving (even things we don’t like or want). We realize so much more how we NEED people who will pray for us and accompany us through this journey.

Thank you so very much for your friendship, love, prayers and support!

Jonathan, with Thelma

PS. I go later this morning to the hospital for additional tests, and eventually for the first cycle of chemotherapy. Thanks again so much for your prayers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Response from a friend- India

Dear Friends

It is very sad indeed to hear of such tragedy. It is common in my part of India where poor farmers ending their lives to escape poverty, debt and humiliation. Same situation exists with the people at the lower end of poverty.

Our country that boasts of best IT investments, super defense capability etc. cannot contain poverty. It is not shortage of resources, but lack of political will & good governance.

Hence it is a call for the church to be on the side of the poor and mobilize all efforts & resources to address their immediate & long term needs of the poor at micro level.

Sometimes we are guilty of spending too much time in formulating systems and procedures that looks good to us and fail to be there where it is hurting the poorest of the poor.

It is a continuous challenge to do right things rather than doing things right.

May God grant us wisdom, understanding and empowerment to change.


The Devil Smiles, the world knows nothing and I cry

I received this sad news just now. It is from one of Compassion Project in Bangladesh. A partnership facilitator sent it to me.

There is a sad news from Gilatola program that one of our child BD 310 0058 Antora Pal’s father has committed suicide by hanging himself with a rope because of his big debt in the dead night of 20, May, 2008. The family is consists of 3 members. Antora, her mother Tripti Rani Pal and the father Sushanto Pal. Sushanto took loans for his family but could not repay it for his small income. Creditors used to come to him for money continually but as he was not able to repay it, he hid himself for the time being. In this situation he fled away from his village in other place for work. He used to work there but in mind he could not cope with this situation. At last he committed suicide last night. Now the family is in critical situation. Child mother can not afford herself in this situation and breaking down herself thinking however she continues her life.

Please pray for this family as they can cope with this situation.

Thank you


The precious little girl is Antora, the mother is Tripti Rani, and the project is Gilatola.

The devil is happy as a human takes his own life because of despair and now the family, mother and precious daughter are losing hope. The world knows nothing about it. Food prices are so high in Bangladesh that people are starting to borrow money just to eat once a day. The average family of four in the USA spends $350 a week on food which includes: eating out, soda, junk food, processed food, plus their children are over weight. In Bangladesh, the average family of four spend $6 to have rice, lentil, some vegetables and if they are very lucky one or two fruits. But you say they can grow fruits, yes they can but they need to sell them to make money to eat enough rice.


- Where have you gone?

- Have you ever been here?

But the Bible is also an invitation to repentance and change. The one who is disclosed as boundless love also is revealed as truth, holiness, and justice. Therefore God calls those to whom he freely offers his grace to repent, forsake their self-centered ways, and begin to love their neighbors as themselves. Love for God is inseparable from love for neighbor. By Ronald J. Sider

That is why they are fat:

Jeremiah 5:26 For scoundrels are found among my people;
they take over the goods of others.
Like fowlers they set a trap; they catch human beings.

Jer 5:27 Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of treachery;
therefore they have become great and rich,

Jer 5:28 they have grown fat and sleek.They know no limits in deeds of wickedness;
they do not judge with justice the cause of the orphan, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.

Do you consider your self poor? What about the people in Bangladesh or other third world countries are they poor?

Do you want the cheapest price no matter what injustice it is doing in the country where the goods are being made to the workers?

Do you want the cheapest price for food no matter what it does to farmers in poor countries?

How do you love your neighbor?

How do I love my neighbor?

What are we doing to show God’s love in this world?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our first broken Bones- CJ’s arm

On Thursday, 8 May CJ broke his arm during school attempting to clear the high jump, all of 6 inches. Somehow he fell just perfect to break both bones in his forearm. One was a crack and the other a serious breakage with a big gap and the bone pressing out on the skin.

The teacher called and I was off to the preschool to take CJ to Apollo Hospital. They needed to put CJ under general anesthesia to set the bone- pulling the arm then shoving it back together. He came out of surgery with smiles. We had to stay in the hospital all night because of the use of the anesthesia. CJ’s teacher came and visited us plus Aunt Prova, Cousin Ringu, Danielsons, and Larsons with Gracia. I stayed at the hospital while Nita was with the other three. We were ready to go home by 9 a.m. but had to wait until 2 p.m. for the doctor to visit and discharge CJ. CJ is still on pain and inflammation medicine.

It is amazing that none of the Stout boys have had a broken bone before this with all the rough housing we do plus the heights I throw the boys in the air. All it took was a simple fall at the right angle and pressure point, I guess.

Please pray for CJ’s bones that they will heal correctly. Thank you.

Today, Saturday he is feeling fine- he even set the supper table. He has a cast on (see picture) from his bicep down to his hand. It was his right arm.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

James C. Dobson, Ph.D Taxes vs Donations

In Dr. Dobson latest Family News letter he complains bout the US Government and taxes. I like everybody else would like less government and less taxes. BUT, I have lived overseas for 10 years and have visited or worked in more than 30 countries and let me tell you I will take the US Government and taxes any day, yes- any day.

Maybe Dr. Dobson doesn’t know what it is like overseas but the USA has a lot going for it- from roads and traffic that work, to electricity, to food being available, the list just goes on. Americans and Dr. Dobson should feel blessed not abused. Live one day in Bangladesh and you would know what I’m talking about.

On the point of taxes, let us remember we pay the lowest taxes among the industrialized nations. Even, Dr. Dobson who doesn’t like to pay taxes to the government ends his newsletter by asking people to give more donations to his organization. Sounds a lot like the government- Please give us more money. Whether you are government wanting more taxes or a charitable organization wanting more donations- in the end it is the same thing- give us the money!!!

PS: Dr. Dobson, 100% supports the war in Iraq. That war is one of the reason the deficient is so high- because of the billions of dollars we are spending on the war in Iraq. You need to have taxes to pay for the war that Dr. Dobson wanted and supports. You can’t have it both ways- if you want an expensive war you are going to have to pay taxes to support it.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Food Crisis in Bangladesh- Please Pray

Two floods and a devastating cyclone last year, combined with a sharp rise in global rice prices, have left some 60 million of Bangladesh’s poor, who spend about 40% of their skimpy income on rice, struggling to feed themselves. Compassion’s registered children and the projects they go to our feeling the affect of the Food Crisis first hand.

The price of rice the main food in Bangladesh has risen by 90% in the last 6 months. Each project in Bangladesh has a 5 to 6 day a week Supplemental Feeding program for the noon meal for each registered child. The current food crisis (price increases) has caused projects to reduced the amount of rice, lentil, fish, meat and vegetables they feed at lunch time to the children; and many children’s’ only meal comes from the projects as families are hard press to buy food at the current price.

Brief Description:

Bangladesh office is working on a BD-DRF-Food Crisis in Bangladesh intervention. The funding is to maintain the current level of Supplemental Feeding in all of BD’s 82 projects for the next 6 months. The proposal is for $ 138,213. The current food crisis (price increases) has caused projects to reduced the amount of rice, lentil, fish, meat and vegetables they feed at lunch time to the children; and many children’s’ only meal comes from the projects as families are hard press to buy food at the current price. For example a family of 6 need 3kg of rice a day, what was 31 cents a kg (3 months ago) is know 56 cents a kg- the father is a day labor and makes just above $1 a day- the family no longer has enough money to buy all the rice it needs- let alone other food stuff.

Two stories of many:

Ashu Das (BD-5040123) was asked about the meal at their own house, the 9 year old boy couldn’t control his tears. He said, “My parents and my brothers and sisters don’t have anything to eat at lunch or dinner. We don’t have food every day. They starve the whole day, I have a meal in the project, but when I am having meal then it reminds me of my parents and brothers and sisters who are starving. I can not share my meal with my family; my family is in great misery. ”

Two orphan girls Sonia Akhtar (BD-5081034) and Jakia Sultana (BD-5081020) at project BD-508 are facing the cruelest reality as the families that took care of them are trying to get rid of them due to price hiking of food and others.

Thank you for your prayers for the children of Bangladesh.


To maintain the quality and quantity of the Supplemental Feeding program in all projects for the next six months to ensure at least one proper meal (5 to 6 days a week) to all registered children during this time of high food prices. Including:

  • Helping the projects maintain their Supplemental Feeding program to all registered children following proper nutritional guidelines.
  • Helping registered children’s families by providing one proper meal five to six days a week at the project for their registered child.
  • Helping the projects maintain all other activities as per their annual plan instead of diverting activity funding to the supplemental feeding program.


All 82 projects children both sponsored and unsponsored for a total of 11,882 precious children.

Activity Dates:

1 June 2008 thru 30 November 2008.

Total Cost: $ 138,213 The minimum amount of funding is $46,071. That is the amount needed to assure a balanced meal 5 to 6 days a week for all Compassion Bangladesh registered children for two months during this food crisis!

This is to keep you informed and praying for the precious children of Bangladesh.

However, if you would want to donate money to the Food Crisis in Bangladesh please go to and donate to Disaster Relief or call Compassion at 1-800-336-7676 and ask to donate to Food Crisis in Bangladesh.

More Pictures of Nepal Adventure

We Made It- Annapurna Base Camp at 13,800 ft

From 18 March to 4 April we where in Nepal on a trekking expedition to Annapurna Base Camp. Involved 11 days of hiking, up and down from 3,900 feet in Pohkara to 13,800 feet at Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). It took us 7 days to get up to ABC and 4 days back to down. Nita did a great job but says she will not go trekking again- too much walking up and down. Or as they say in Nepal, “Nepal flat is a little bit up and little bit down.”

We had a big party with us. My cousin Tricia came from PA to join us plus our friends here in Bangladesh, a family of 6. So that was 5 adults, Tricia, Nita, Gary, Ruth, and me, plus the children 2 @ 13 yrs old, 2 @ 11 yrs old, 2 @ 8 yrs old; and 2 @ 4 years old. Actually CJ celebrated his 5th birthday at our goal ABC! The kids were Charles, Jonah, Chase, Hannah, Chad, Marta, CJ and Gracia. That is 13 people plus 3 porter for a total trekking party of 16 people!

Day 1: We took a van from Pokhara to Nayapul at 3,000 feet. From Nayapul we trekked to Birethanti where we had to stop and register with the Annapurna Conservation Area. From there we went to Tikhedhungga at 4,900 feet. Everybody walked well even C.J. but it was a lot of up and down. We spent the night at a nice guest house and had Lentil and rice for supper. We were on the trail from 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. You don’t go by distance but time when its so much up and down.

Day 2: We put in a long day today from 8 a.m. to 4:30 but made it to Ghorepani at 9,600 feet with beautiful views of the Mountains. We started with very steep stone staircase. We went through unbelievable forests of oak and rhododendron. The rhododendrons are as big as the oak trees just filled with blossoming flowers. The flowers were bright reds and pinks. We hit the perfect season for rhododendrons. I just couldn’t believe how big they were, considering ours in Pennsylvania are more like big bushes. We passed long caravans of pack horses carry goods up the trail. In the morning we had a spectacular view of the Himalayans Mountains. We had views of the back side of Annapurna South and Machhapuchhare both near 24,000 feet.

Day 3: We went over Deurali Pass at 10,400 feet we ended up at Chuile at 7,200 feet. Remember 8 children are doing all this hiking and not complaining. We trekked from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. we had steep trail both up and down plus thru landslide slate area. The normal day consited of getting up at 6 to 6:30 packing up, eating breakfast of fried bread with honey and getting on the trail by 8:30. We would then hike to 10 a.m. take a tea break from there walk to 1 for a good 1 to 1.5 hour lunch and then finish up hiking around 4:30 p.m.

Day 4: 9 a.m to 4 p.m. on the trial up to Sinuwa lots of ups/downs and ended at 7,400 feet. We passed Chhomrong the last permanent village on the way to ABC. That means in the winter time people don’t live past Chhomrong. We went over a suspension bridge and thru more Rhododendron Forest. It was getting cold but no snow yet. At the end of hiking everyday the kids would play some sort of sports game with a ball while the parents had tea or coffee and relaxed- say sore muscles.

Day 5: Walked thru a thick bamboo forest today. Made it to Dovan at 8,400 feet. We hiked from 8:30 to 2 p.m. Rest was needed.

Day 6: (getting close to the goal) We hike to Deurali at 10,200 feet, it is now cold and the kids made their first snowman in four years. Tricia’s knee was really hurting so this is where she stayed for day 7 and 8 as we made the push to ABC. At night we all stayed in the common room. The kids played card games as we talked to other hikers. There was one big table with a blanket around the outside and a gas heater underneath. You would put your legs under the blanket to stay warm. The sleeping bags where zipped up when you slept but everybody stayed warm. The rooms had two small wooden beds with thin mattresses. We pushed them together to fit more people on them. Nita, Chad, CJ and I slept in one room with Tricia and the other two in another room. COLD water and an Asian toilet was available outside. Hiked 8:30 to 12:30.

Day 7: (the big day) Now we are in the altitude sickness area. We left at 6 a.m. one of the porters fell with CJ while they were crossing a stream of rocks and cold water. This was about 8 a.m. I carried CJ the rest of the way. He was not a happy camper- cold, wet and a little scared. The Porter passed out because of the pain in his knee but came around and made it to ABC. Once we decided to keep going I walked fast- 50 lb plus pack and CJ on my shoulders but wanted to get to Machhapuchhare Base Camp the only place to have breakfast and hopefully dry CJ out was. I made it to MBC by 10 a.m. and the sun was out in full strength so I dried his cloths, warmed him up with sunshine and hot chocolate. The rest of the gang made it and we had a nice breakfast of homemade bread and jelly. It took us 2 hours of up hill hiking to make it to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) at 13,800 feet!!!!! We made it!! Even Nita made it but she wouldn’t talk to me. We made it to ABC by 12 noon.

We were now in the bowl of many high mountain, close enough to reach out and touch the bases of them all- BEAUTIFUL! From the ABC we where at the base of Hun Chuli- 21,232ft; Annapurna South- 23,822; Annapurna 1- 26,700ft; Annapurna 3-24,931; Machhapuchhre- 23,090ft; and right beside the South Annpurna Glacier and glacial moraine.

The kids used plastic sheets and Charles’ snow-skate (like a skate board but made for snow- he carried it the whole way up and down lashed onto his backpack) to sled the entire afternoon- they came into the lodge room soaking wet and ice cold but what do you want after waiting 4 years to get back on snow. If the truth be told that is what kept the trekking- the thought of seeing snow- they all miss it. At night we celebrated CJ’s fifth birthday- no cake so we put his candles on a coke can- he was happy, loves soda. Everybody in the lodge sang Happy birthday to him. It was cold and we all used heavy blankets on-top of our sleeping bags. We didn’t have altitude sickness but we all had headaches from being so high.

Day 8: Time to turn around and head down. We had clear skies for spectacular views of the nearby mts. We took lots of pictures and started back to pick up Tricia by 9:15 a.m. arrived for Tricia in time for an early lunch and then walked to Bamboo at 7,600 feet in the rain/overcast. Going down was rough on peoples’ knees and Gary ended up loosing both big toenails by the time we returned to Bangladesh. In fact, on the last day on the trail he had to wear my good sandals (teva-wraptors) because his feet hurt so bad. Both of Ruth’s toes turned dark purple. So it was tough going down, down, down. Thanks the Lord I had good boots that saved my feet 100%. If any body remembers back in 1988 I trekked 150 miles around the Annapurna Circuit with more than 20 blisters. I learned my lesson back then- always have proper foot wear. The circuit went around the outside of the big peaks. This time we went up into the middle of the peaks. We stopped trekking at 4:30 a.m.

Day 9: 8:30 to 4:30 but with a bonus we spent the night at Jhinu that has hot springs. Oh! Did the hot springs near a roaring freezing mountain stream feel good after walking hard for 9 days. Jhinu is at 5,800 feet. We met two very nice men from Israel on the hike and spent a good time with them at the hot springs. Most, no all trekkers couldn’t believe we brought our children with us- 8 at that! But to tell you the truth they all did great.

Day 10: Made it down to Syauli Bajar at 4,200 feet as I said Nepali flat means lots of ups and downs. Carried CJ a lot he was running out of steam. Had some steep ravines, steep stairs (didn’t make Tricia happy- sore knee) and went thru some nice orchids and ferns areas.

Day 11: Final day on the trail. Trekked from 8:30 to 11 a.m. to Nayapul where we caught a jeep back to Pokhara. CJ said, “I’m done hiking!”

We spent a day in Pokara and then took the 8 hour bus ride back to Katmandu. We spent two days wondering around Katmandu. We walked to Durbar Square which is the heart of the ancient city of Katmandu. It has old temples both Hindu and Buddhist built between the 12th and 18th centuries. We also spent time walking around the shopping district for tourist- all sorts of hand made stuff. I bought a very nice hemp shirt that is suppose to last a life time and get better after every washing.

I probably had the best time of all 13 people- I love to be in the mountains trekking but it was a colossal adventure for everybody and we made our goal of ABC at 13,400 feet!!!!!!!