Those Who Serve in Hard Places...
Pastor's Training has been completed for this mission trip. The Nepali pastors have soaked up the teaching and the theology and have asked question upon question. Much celebration is called for but we must, as a church family, celebrate with the correct focus and motivation.
As I have had the privilege of reading the reports and thoughts and impressions that have come across the digital airways from far, far away, I have been sorely tempted to think that my church and my people are something remarkably wonderful and amazingly special and that we, and they, have truely outdone ourselves.
We all must fight the temptation to think this way. A fellow family-member-left-at-home said as much this morning...
This is not our story. His kingdom advances with us or without us. Everything is His. In humility, let us remember the cause and marvel at God's good plan to use his people to reach his people.
Join me as we praise God for allowing us to take part. Who are we, FBC, that we are permitted to come alongside such work? Who we are is blessed, privileged, and awestruck to get to be part of even a smidgen of it. Our missionaries have said it best in the words they've sent back home to us. Look for it in this and the posts to come in the next days.
This year, training did not take place under a plastic tarp stretched over PVC piping. This year the pastors didn't have to write in their laps while seated cross-legged on the ground. There was to be no sleeping 3 and 4 to a small tent this year either. This year was a tad different. There were tables and cloth-covered chairs, notebooks and lanyards, electricity and a sound system, and even a white board to boot.
What remained the same however, were the humble-hearted pastor-students who, with endurance, absorbed hours of teaching with healthy appetites. Our team's teachers are always impressed with their students' hunger for the Word. When talking with our in-country "host" about these faithful pastors, our host said: (this is one of the "be sure to give God all the glory" places...really, aren't all of the places?)
"You have talked about how well the pastors are engaged. It is because you guys take this so seriously and come prepared. They recognize that and it causes them to take it seriously. Ever since you started coming, you have always been well-prepared, taken it seriously, and served these pastors so well. After our personal calling to the children's home, our next priority is these pastors. That is how Nepal will be won, and you are investing in these guys who serve in such hard places"
Matt C. (pictured below)writes:
In Nepal, it is difficult to feel that the gospel is making any impression in the land. Hundreds of thousands of people are packed into small regions here and almost anywhere you turn, there is rampant idolatry. Temples on the heights of hills above and idols in the shops below. Imagine the feeling of proclaiming good news that there can be life from the grave. Imagine proclaiming this life with a bullhorn from the roof tops and hundreds of thousands of people surrounding you, going on with their lives as if you were't shouting at all. This gets close to the sinking, sickening feeling that you get when you land in Nepal.
In the US, with its churches on many corners and the general knowledge of Jesus in the land, you feel as though the message has at least been proclaimed and heard, even if it is often rejected. In Nepal, it feels as though the message is a bullet trying to travel through thick, steel-reinforced concrete.
Yet, in an upper room in a hotel in Pokhara, it is clear that the message of the cross has advanced.
The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that, though it is the smallest of the seeds, grows and becomes great. So it is with the pastors and the faithful missionaries in Nepal.
These humble men and women are advancing the gospel in Nepal and it is an honor to serve those who are so highly regarded in the eyes of the Lord.
It is humbling to be permitted to participate in what God is doing in all the nations."
As always, the Nepali pastors honor their teachers with a closing ceremony on the final day...
The pastors asked, "Pastor Darrin, this is your fifth time in Nepal. Why do you keep coming back?"
We know the answers don't we? For God's glory. For the furthering of the gospel. Because God has made us able to do so and so it is our privilege.
"Because," said he, "the first time I came I fell in love with Nepal, the people of Nepal, and you pastors. And we want to help you and encourage you the best we can."
The "Early Team" heads home and the "Late Team" heads north to Jumla. But before parting they have one adventure left...
We are going up the mountain to see the Hymalayas, grabbing lunch and heading to the airport to fly back to the guest house.
- for safe flights
- good health
- and that they are all able to get a little rest as they travel
- for the Late Team as they continue their work in Jumla
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. ~ 1 John 5:20
[We'll continue to share stories here as the teams travel. Stay tuned.]