We’re Back…

It is strange to think that we haven’t been home for even a week. It seems like we left Kathmandu a long time ago. It has been difficult to formulate and gather all of the thoughts of what we experienced and saw there. It is difficult to completely understand what that means for us. I don’t think we know quite yet what we think. People ask, “did you have a good trip?” Yeah, it was good, but it was so much more than just good. There are sights, sounds, smells, feelings that we will never forget. It saddens me to some degree that many of those things are lost to all who have never ventured to Nepal. That is the nature of missions I guess. A lot happened the last week we were in Kathmandu. We saw our time of teaching come to an end; which for me was much more emotional than I thought it would be. I was quite sad to be done. Something that I poured so much into all came to an abrupt end. I can only hope and pray that God uses that class in some way. I recognize that one can’t change the world in three weeks, and also one little class in the course of three years is seemingly small and inconsequential. But as they often say about short term mission trips: “they are often more for the person going rather than the people there.” That is true. I learned so much about myself, my insecurities, my strengths, and things I like and don’t like. Teaching was a joy, one I never thought I would really care for. I only did it because it needed to be done, but I realized the value that it has. (Dr. Willsey you were right!) Even though I myself probably didn’t really impact the lives of those students all that much in the grand scheme of things, there is something amazing about teaching the native Nepali’s things that will help them be more effective in reaching their neighbors. They are the ones that will change Nepal by God’s grace. They are the ones that will impact the nation for God’s glory. It was humbling to be able to be a part of their lives and see the faces and hear the stories of the many who sacrificed seemingly everything to follow God. What a stark contrast to our culture. Faith is strengthened in the midst of trials and suffering. Sometimes I think our churches would do well to encounter sufferings. I am thankful beyond words for this opportunity. We are thankful beyond words. To see our God, the God of creation, the Alpha and Omega, the Great IAM, in light of the bondage and fear that resounds from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam is like nothing else. Our God is the true God. Our God is the REAL thing. Our God will never fail. I am struck by the awesomeness of our God. I am saddened to see the increasing amount of people here in the states buying into the Eastern religions. If they could only see these religions for what they really are. They are not some hollywood fad, they are not some great beliefs on compassion. They are faithless, there is no grace, no love, and no compassion. They are religions steeped in bondage and oppression rooted in fear rather than love. It is my prayer for these Hindu nations, may God shake them at their very core. May he break the bondage that enslaves millions. May our God, the one true God be glorified, and may the nations rejoice and turn to Him.

Many other things happened the last week of our trip, we both enjoyed Singapore very much…swimming in the South China Sea was so much fun. It was a wonderful time, a time of growth and reliance upon God like no other. And through it all, God was and is faithful…always. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and encouragement over the past month and even before that. We are truly blessed to serve such an awesome God!

To Infinity and Beyond

I already typed this entry once, but as accustom in Nepal, nothing ever goes as planned and the power went out right before I was about to post it. The power goes out quite often here. It’s a way of life really, but the nationals assure us this is nothing compared to the winter months where most nights are without power.

So unfortunately I will only post a little bit tonight, and tomorrow will post a little more.

This week has been a busy one. The beginning of the week I (Jeff) spent three days at a pastor’s conference in a little city to the north called Nagrokot. I taught four sessions on apologetics to 18 pastors. I’ll be honest, it was a little intimidating, but by the grace of God it went well. The conference was wonderful to be at. It was a huge blessing to see so many pastors come together and put differences aside to glorify God through prayer and teaching. The vision cast by these leaders for this country was so encouraging to see. There are many parts of this country that have little or no Christian influence. There are districts of this country that have no churches and/or Christians themselves. This is still a very unreached country and in need of leadership and vision. It was so refreshing to see so many pastors from the same area come together in unity rather than fighting over territory. God is moving among the leaders of Kathmandu and this conference was the start of something big. What a blessing it was to be a part of. So many times pastors say they want to reach their areas but when it comes down to it they would all rather do it alone than together, and this was a great reminder that unity in Christ brings glory and honor to Christ’s name! For pastor’s to say its not about numbers but rather, where can each of us be most effective…that’s something we all need to take a look at!

The city of Nagrokot was at about 6,000 ft. and utterly beautiful. It was so green and the air was a bit cleaner than down in the valley. We were in the foothills of the Himalayas. We even took a nice hike to a little peak that was at 7,500 ft.. It had a beautiful view…unfortunately we didn’t get to see the Himalayas still due to the monsoon season. At any rate, it was a great time of fellowship, prayer, and learning.

I will write more tomorrow. I had more, but that whole power thing left me not wanting to retype it all again. We have learned a lot…it will take a while to process through all that God has taught us throughout this trip. Our faith has been strengthened, that much is true. God is good, always and forever. Good night for us, good morning for you!

Your grace has found me just as I am

It’s hard to believe that we have been here two weeks and that we will leave in only one. We have seen and learned so much in a short time, and we could not be more thankful. On Saturday, it was so good to visit another church. This church was much smaller, but they were so happy we were there! They were all welcoming, and after the service we stayed to chat about their ministry in the church with two men, one being the pastor. It was so sweet and refreshing to see them excited about their ministry. They shared what they were doing currently as well as what they will do in the future. They asked for prayer for their ministry and we have their contact info, so we can perhaps support them long-distance over the next couple years. This was a great opportunity for us to see God at work in Nepal!

On Sunday Jeff walked and explored the local area while I (Jenifer) was at the women’s conference that I was one of the guest speakers for. This was an amazing day! There aren’t many women’s conferences in Kathmandu, so this was quite exciting to be a part of something few and far between. It was encouraging to see so many women involved and attending. We had about 75 women attend from about 5 or 6 different churches. We also had about 6 women involved in leading this conference from leading worship, teaching, translating, making introductions, recognition of leaders, and leading the group throughout the day! I was definitely not the only one out of my comfort zone and leaning on the grace and power of Christ to get me through. I can now officially that I have finished teaching at my first ladies’ conference!

After the ladies’ conference we heading out to the Padechi (or foreigner) Fellowship. This provides a great source of encouragement and fellowship with a small group of other American missionaries to Jenn and Leah. On our way to fellowship we saw the largest Buddhist temple in the world! We also saw a large group of people who walk around the temple in one direction only praying , some of which were Buddhist monks. It was another sad reminder of how lost so many are. I saw a couple bow down to what looked like a stone statue to me, but what was probably an idol to them.

Jeff is at the Pastor’s conference until Wednesday morning, so please pray for him as he teaches as well as the other men attending.

Only one week to go! We are waiting to see and hoping to see as much as we can while we are still here.

A blast from the past…

The past couple of days have indeed been a blast from the past…It feels like we have been stuck in 1992 all over again. Between class, chapels, and small groups we have been reminded of the times we had growing up in the church. Today I had the opportunity to teach the students the game that is so “cleverly” or “cheesily” called “Sword Drills.” Yes, that’s right, I had my students waving their Bible’s in the air anxiously awaiting me to call out the next verse I was to have them look up so that they might be the first to stand and read the verse…all for a piece of candy. I haven’t done a sword drill since, yeah, like 1992. Not only that but many of the worships songs sung in the chapels and in small groups are great little diddy’s like “Thy Word,” “I Am a C-H,” “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord.” Many of these songs I haven’t actually sung for years. It was kind of weird and at the same time refreshing. I had forgotten about many of these choruses, and decided they need to make a comeback in the states. We should turn back the clocks of sorts on worship.

We have been doing more walking around and exploring of the city…it’s definitely a chaotic city…stuff is always happening…on any given day you could have riots or strikes or religious ceremonies. You never know. (Note to parents: we are fine, we have only seen such things at a distance, and have been safe…if you avoid them, they avoid you.) There is very little semblance of order or control, much different than in America. But here, the people are used to unrest, and chaos, it is a part of life and culture. I (Jeff) went for my first run here in Nepal with one of the guys I met here, it was great, difficult but great. Things I learned you must consider when running in Nepal. One, hold on to a rock so if at any time you are attacked by stray dogs you can scare them off between kicking and throwing (Again, note to parents, I was not attacked, just told to do such things as precautionary measures.) two, no amount of training can really effectively prepare your lungs for the terrible air quality, the air is really rather gross, sometimes we would run right through clouds of exhaust from a truck unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Three, watch out for rocks…there is very little even ground here…many roads are dirt and have rocks jutting out all over. It was great to go on a run, I will probably do so again. It is so interesting to have to think about certain things that would never be an issue back home.

As far as teaching is going, it has been really good. The students seem to be understanding that of which is being taught, so that is a plus. I covered transcendence and immanence in detail today (thanks Dr. Willsey!!) It went well and I think they actually understood it, we’ll see when the final comes around. It has been fun and even though it took over a week many of them are much more relaxed then the first couple of days. Jenifer has been working with a number of ladies and is really enjoying getting to know them and pray with them. She will be teaching on sunday so pray for her…it’s her big day to shine! I will be preaching tomorrow morning, I will be at a different church so I will bring the same message I brought last week to the other church. I tell you what if I don’t have Philippians 3 nailed down after this I don’t think I’ll ever get it! Three times preaching the same message gets a little tedious, but that’s ok…the Gospel message never gets old!!

Anyways, God has been good, we are learning a lot and it is difficult to articulate all that we are taking away from this experience, it is definitely invaluable. We are blessed to be here, and blessed to see how the other side of the world lives. What a joy it is to serve the men and women who will impact this nation for Christ…it’s really a cool thing.

On a side note…today I encounter some Rockmanites…scary, if you don’t know who these people are they are a group who believes that the KJV is doubly inspired…it is sad that even here in Nepal the issue of which translation of the Bible to use is evident (the even more sad thing is that it didn’t come out Nepal itself, but the missionaries from the states who brought the fight over). It is interesting to see the things that churches face in the states are some of the same things that happen here as well. Sin is sin, no matter where you are.