2016 Nepal Visit
The final two months of 2016 were busy ones for goEast. In November Mike Raiter visited Vietnam and Nepal teaching Expository Preaching (Mike’s report appears earlier on this blog). Later in November Richard Fountain made his fourth trip to Nepal with goEast and taught the Life of Christ to an Mdiv class of upward of thirty students, most of whom were pastors. Following this class he travelled twelve hours west of Kathmandu to take twelve church planters through Matthew, Hebrews, and James. While Richard was teaching, Alan Stanley taught the book of Romans at Himalayan Graduate School of Theology to twenty Mdiv students. All in all, it was an extremely fruitful two weeks. Christianity has only been in Nepal for sixty years and it is exciting to see it continue to grow.
Also joining the trip were 7 students from Brisbane School of Theology. Their reflections are below.
My time in Nepal was eye opening to the greatness of our God and his church. It was encouraging to meet with other Christians with the same passion and zeal for the Lord as we have, and in fact greater. Sharing our lives with the Nepali Christians was a great experience and ministering to those that haven’t heard the gospel was eye opening. Overall a great trip!
The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). I’ve been interested in cross-cultural mission for a number of years and I was looking for an opportunity to serve on a short-term trip, so when Alan made this trip available to his students, I jumped at it.
Before leaving for Nepal I was excited, but also a little apprehensive. I knew the trip would be life changing and unforgettable, but I also knew that it would be challenging. I expected to be pushed outside of my comfort zone by the lack of Western comforts, the language barrier, and unfamiliarity of the Nepalese culture—all of which proved to be true. What I didn’t expect was how dirty, dusty, and unhygienic Kathmandu would be. While this was a struggle, it was more than offset by the beautiful people we had the privilege of meeting, the life altering experiences, and the breathtaking grandeur of the Himalayas, among other things.
I am really excited about what God is doing in Nepal and it was really humbling and wonderful to be part of it for two weeks. I was reminded again how beautiful children are regardless of whether they are hanging out at the beach in Australia or simply role playing in a Nepali classroom or singing and dancing in the slums. I love sharing about our awesome Creator and Lord and relished the many opportunities to share and connect with people.
I also loved ministering and doing life with our lovely and creative Australian team (7 Bible College students in total). Our worship and devotional times together were something special, as was our times spent with our beautiful Nepalese brothers and sisters, and our inspirational and wonderful hosts.
My trip to Nepal was great! I am very thankful for all we were involved in, whether that was sitting and talking with people, running children’s programs, experiencing the hospitality and warmth of the Nepali Christians, or doing devotions with the team from Australia. While the hold of idolatry is very evident in Kathmandu, God is at work there and his church is alive. As I looked around at the idolatry, the temples, the idols, and even the mountains, I was reminded and amazed at how big our God is! God does not need me to make houses for him to live in or wake him up in the morning, but he is the maker of all things and his Spirit is living in me, making me the person he has called me to be. He is bigger and great than we can ever imagine. I am so thankful for the opportunity to go to Nepal and am excited to see the name of Jesus spread wider across that country.
Going to Nepal was a life-enriching experience.
Often we get caught up in our little worlds and take the simple things for granted. So I was grateful for this exposure that led me to count the little blessings, such as water—hot water—and electricity. It was a breath of fresh air (though literal fresh air is impossible to find on the dusty streets of Kathmandu) to get away from the daily grind back at home. We taught children at a local school, visited a leprosy hospital, went to a hospice, traveled to a remote mountain village, ministered to and spent time with youth, and of course took in the breathtaking views of Nepal. I feel blessed, humbled, and grateful to have met amazing people—including our host family—who are living out the Christian faith in remarkable ways.
It was a real privilege and an amazing experience to visit Nepal with Alan Stanley and the rest of the team from Brisbane School of Theology. We were based in Kathmandu and stayed with a lovely American family who were able to accomodate all nine of us in their home.
The trip, however, was not without its challenges. Many of us had to step out of our comfort zones and do things we had never done before. We were very busy and things were not always easy or comfortable due to sickness and unfamiliar conditions. Nepal is nothing like home, and although it has many beautiful areas to visit, its capital city, Kathmandu, is a challenging place to live. The city is dusty, the roads are chaotic, there appear to be no road rules, car horns never stop, rubble is everywhere, a confused labyrinth of electrical wires are always in view, and stray dogs roam the streets.
Here are some highlights:
• Visiting the Leprosy hospital. It was quite confronting at first but it was lovely meeting the patients, handing out lunch bags we had brought with us, and sitting down alongside some and praying for them.
• Visiting a slum area where we ran a program for the children. We didn’t know what to expect and had not prepared anything, but it was so wonderful to see how our team banded together to put on a creative and fun program for the kids. The children were lovely and had a fabulous time. It was beautiful to listen to them sing and see their gorgeous smiles.
• Visiting the local Nepalese churches. It was so lovely to be able to sing in different languages. The Nepalese are beautiful people and it was wonderful to get to know some of them and hear their stories of how they came to know Jesus and how he has changed their lives.
• Getting to know the students from Brisbane School of Theology and make some new friends. Doing a trip like this constantly puts you situations where you have to depend on those around you; it brings you closer together as you support one another through the challenges, share experiences, and create memories together.
• Growing spiritually. I learned to rely and trust in God and step out to serve others. Indeed, it is truly more blessed to give than to receive.
So while this was a challenging trip there were many blessings that have come from it that I am very grateful for. I would recommend doing a trip like this if you ever have the opportunity.
Julia (aka, JB)
Travelling to Nepal for the first time is sort of like stepping into Acts 17 where Paul talks to the Athenians acknowledging that they are a very religious people. Kathmandu is littered with idol’s who are woken at 5am by their devout followers. The people are deeply superstitious and pay great attention to images created by human hands; and yet these idols are often dirty and in need of a fresh coat of paint. Here in lies the irony of Nepal; in a dusty and dirty country one only needs to raise their eyes toward the heavens to see breath taking snow-capped mountains surrounding Kathmandu. The contrast between these two images is enormous and a constant reminder amongst the rubble so prevalent throughout the city that Jesus is present and only he can make us as clean as snow. That is my prayer for Nepal.
It was an amazing experience going to Nepal with goEast. Our hosts were so welcoming and kind. From church life, to teaching at a local school, to visiting villages, and to visiting hospitals to pray and to encourage, everyone we met was kind and gracious. I am grateful to God and goEast for the opportunity to see the beautiful, authentic heart of Nepal.