“Do you remember what you said when we asked if you would ever come to Nepal?”
This was the Rev. Vani and the Rev. Shanti, reminding me of a question that they had once asked during a visit their family had made years prior to the churches of North Dakota. In December of 2015 I had the opportunity to repay their kindness, travelling to Kathmandu with a small group from the Waconia and Lake Auburn churches in Minnesota, and a representative from the Moravian Music Foundation. Our mission was to lead a Winter Camp at a school in Kathmandu, and provide leadership for several church programs including a Choral Workshop, Vacation Bible School, and Young Adult and Board Retreats. There were also worship services with which to assist, and there was a pastoral dimension to our visit in the wake of an earthquake, and amidst fuel shortages imposed on the Nepali people by the government of India.
Prior to this trip, my experience of mission had been limited to more local responses: food and clothing drives, soup kitchens, shelters, and clinics. Any connection I had to any global Christian outreach, was largely through regional support of larger efforts abroad. So, coordinating and making this trip to be with sisters and brothers 7,000 miles away was a first for me. Even before boarding a plane, this voyage to Nepal drew me into relationship with many wonderful and helpful partners in mission: my fellow travelers, staff at the Board of World Mission, the Rev. Trina Holmberg and her husband Ken, and members of our community who offered their support. From the time we landed in Nepal, my sense of what is meant by “the world” (John 3:16) grew deeper and fuller.
Though it has now been a year-and- a-half since our work together, the Nepali church continues to inspire me by its humble and faithful witness to the power of the Gospel to transform culture and change lives. So, when Shanti and Vani reminded me of their question and my response, they did so in the warm light of days spent together ministering to the educational and developmental needs of young Nepali children and caring for a growing Nepali Church. Years ago, I had told them that I did not think it was God’s call on my life to go and serve in Nepal. We had a good laugh and thanked God that God had thought better.
Jai Masih (the Messiah is victorious),
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” ~1 Corinthians 1:25