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Our Mission to the Himalayas and Beyond

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belief

A Most Inconvient Time

nepalchildren-709159It was the day before the mission team was to arrive. I of course wanted everything to be perfect. Yet, nothing was going my way.

Instead, it seemed everything was going wrong.

For a week prior, rumors had spread of a possible fuel shortage, leaving long lines visible all over the city, as everyone tried to fill up on petro.

Now, a week later, all the fuel stations were closed, and news of a blockade between the southern border of Nepal and Northern India was all anyone could talk of.

It was early morning, as I sat down with my coffee, Bible and journal. My heart it seemed was racing, as I felt panic swell within me. I still had so much to do to prepare for their arrival. And, all I could think of was the petro shortage, wondering how this would affect our plans for the team.

Then I began to read God’s Word, and as always, the Lord was faithful to speak to my worn heart.

I had just begun the Gospel of Luke, and as I read the familiar text of Luke 2, and our Savior’s birth. I couldn’t get passed the part where it said….”While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born.”

See, they were far from home, trying to do the right thing, by going to register for the census, when at the most inconvenient time, the time came for the Baby to be born.

I’m confident that this is not how Mary had planned it. I’m sure, she wished she were at home, anywhere but in a stable for the birth of her first child. Yet, this was God’s plan, bringing Him the most glory.

As I read this, a calm that comes only from the Lord, settled over my heart. As the Lord reminded me that though this was probably the worst time for the mission team to arrive, due to the unrest and lack of fuel. That this didn’t take Him by surprise. For He knew long before they would come, that this would be the scenario that they would arrive to. He knew that there would be a fuel crisis, but He wanted them here for such a time as this.

The Lord spoke to my heart and said, “it is okay, I have them coming now at a difficult time, so that I will indeed receive the most glory.”

And He did. For now as I write this a week and a half later… I stand amazed. For though nothing is certain in Nepal. Though life is difficult even on the best of days. The Father showed out for His glory during the time the team was here.

For though there was a fuel crisis, and I feared our plans would have to change. Nothing changed, everything went as planned. Lives were changed,hearts were transformed, and the Lord showed out. All for His name sake, and for His glory.

How great a Savior and Lord we serve. Though His ways don’t always make sense. Though we often question His ways. His ways are perfect. And I give Him all of the praise, honor and glory, for the great things He has done!

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To the loved ones at home….

mission sendersToday I heard of two more who have left everything to follow the Lord, even to the ends of the earth. One who is now on her way to Kenya, and another family on their way to China. It is exciting to see more and more answer God’s call to go to the nations. And personally I can’t wait to see and hear how the Lord will use these for His glory. How He will use the nations to change them for His glory.

Yet, there are also now a few more families back home, who are dealing with the pain of saying goodbye. The fear of the unknown, and the ache of not knowing when they may see each other again.

I’ve realized that harder than leaving it all to go to the mission field, harder than living in a foreign land as a missionary. That harder still it is for the families left back at home.

Oh these families rejoice that their loved ones have answered His call. They are bursting with pride over their loved one’s desire to follow the Lord. Yet, the hurt remains.

I know because our family has left our loved ones twice now. Once to serve in Korea and now in Central Asia.

And though it was hard to leave, hard to say goodbye. Life for a missionary is busy, a little complicated, and yet fulfilling. The missionary is doing what God has called them to. He/she is getting to do what they have always longed to do. (Not that it is always easy, and not that there are not days when he/she wants to go home).

Yet, for the loved ones back home… life somehow has to go on.

So to the loved ones back home, the one’s who have watched teary eyed as their child or grandchildren have boarded a plane to fly to the ends of the earth.

I want you to know it is okay to cry. It is okay to miss them. It is okay to write them, call them, email them. And yes, they need your prayers.

But, God also has a purpose for you.

He want to use this time in your life to change you for His glory. He wants to use you to tell the stories of your loved ones, giving others a heart for the nations as well.

And though, you will watch at a distance as your loved one experiences the path chosen for him/her.

Your life will go on, and God can and will use you right where you are.

A great article put entitled, “Does Missions Separate Families?” put it just right. They said,

Does missions separate families?
Yes. For a time.

But it also expands them. By inviting the lost into a family. Those who had no family, no hope, who were on the outside and separated from God. (Ephesians 2)

There may be a few empty seats at our next Thanksgiving dinner. But by those seats being empty, it will mean that other place settings are being made ready for the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Because lost brothers and sisters who live across the ocean, whose skin is darker than ours, whose language is different than ours, will be invited into God’s family, and will be called for the first time sons and daughters, and will be given a place at His table forever.

One day we will come together, all of us, those who were far off, and those who were brought near, as one family, with exploding joy.  And there in the presence of Christ, we will see that missions never separated our family at all.

It only ever made it grow.

Your loved one may have left, but through your loved one, God will grow His family. And one day, you too will meet those whom your son/daughter impacted for the nations.

To the loved ones back home, your missionaries need you. They need your prayers, they need your encouragement, they need to know they have not been forgotten. They need your love and they need your support.

For just as it is important for the called to go, it is just as important that the one’s back home send.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!

You play a vital role in the missionaries call, and work!

So thank you to the loved ones who are left back home. How precious you are in the eyes of the Lord.

Does Missions Separate Families?

The blood of bulls and goats

jesusToday is Easter. A day to celebrate our risen Savior.

In many churches today, the cross, and the blood are offensive. They are depicted as too gory and not something to talk about.

Yet, I wonder, what is there to talk about apart from the cross and the blood of Jesus.

Here in Nepal, the sacrifice of bulls and goats is a common thing. Back in the fall my kids and I watched as our neighbor slit the throat of a goat, pouring out its blood. At festival time, hundreds of bulls are sacrificed up to the gods.

And I can’t help but be reminded of the verse which says, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (Hebrews 10:4)

The blood that is shed here as a sacrifice can not cleanse them of their sins. No amount of good deeds they do can appease the gods.

As I daily walk past, and see these people living in darkness, going through their own religious motions, my heart breaks.For I know that apart from the blood of Jesus, they can not be forgiven. Apart from the blood of Jesus, they will die and be eternally separated from the One True God.

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:11-14)”

Jesus has come and been sacrificed once for all. His blood is enough!

So as we celebrate the cross, as we celebrate the blood that has cleansed us and set us free. As we celebrate our risen Savior.

Let us not forget that as His children, it is our responsibility, no our duty, to go and share this good news with those all around us.

IT IS FINISHED!

WHAT A JOY, WHAT A SAVIOR!

Ring the Bell

images (1)This past summer back in the USA, our church hosted some Sunday evening movie nights. On one of these nights, we watched the film, “Ring the Bell.” It was a great story of how at a home for orphaned kids, when they came to know Jesus, they would go out in the yard and ring the bell. One man traveling through encountered Christ while there and well, you should go watch the movie to see what happens.:-)

Yet, the other day as I was walking the kids to school, we passed one of the many temples located here in Central Asia. As we walked by, there were people there bringing offerings, lighting candles and incense, and ringing the bells.

My inquisitive daughter turned and asked me, “Mommy, why are they ringing the bells?” I then explained to her that they believe they must ring the bells to alert the gods of their coming and their prayer request. It is also believed to word off the evil spirits. I told her that this was a part of their worship, that they believed they must do to please the gods.

She listened and nodded and then said, but we don’t have to do that do we? We can just talk and pray to God anytime.

And of course she is right. But, as we continued on to school, I was struck by the sound of the ringing bells. In the movie, it was a declaration that someone had accepted Christ as their Savior. Yet, here it means nothing close.

Morning, noon and night, I hear bells ringing, as the Hindu’s offer puja and go to temples to worship their gods. Each time, my heart breaks a little. For though they are sincere in their prayers and beliefs. I know that these acts of worship are not heard nor answered. For there is only one God, Jehovah, and only one way to gain access into His presence. Through Jesus Christ, His Son.

Please join me in praying for this nation and these people. That the Lord God Almighty, who neither slumbers nor sleeps. Will open the eyes of His people that they might see their desperate need for Christ. Pray that His Word would go forth and spread, never returning void, but being used for the furtherance of the Gospel in this land.

 

The Harsh Reality of Culture Shock

culture shockI have always heard of culture shock. I have studied it and read about it. But the harsh reality of experiencing it is different.

We have now been in Nepal for one week. Yet, it feels more like a month. Nothing about life here is normal. In fact, everything seems backwards. From driving on the opposite side of the road, with the steering wheel on the left to the complications of daily life.

The stress of life on the mission field combined with culture shock can lead to many a melt down. In fact, today, I had two. One while in the pots and pan aisle at the store and once while out buying furniture. I know this seems crazy..but if you had, had my day you would understand.

I’m having to learn to let go. Let go of my mindset of how things should be. Let go of my high expectations. Let go of my concept of normal. In fact, it’s like learning my abc’s all over again. Letting go of all the things that seem so wrong and realizing that there are other ways of doing things.

I’m learning that my concept of time and doing things doesn’t work here. Life is on a much slower scale. And accomplishing two of the ten things on my list for the day is a great achievement.

Yes, culture shock is real. Adapting to a different culture is hard. Learning to let go and seeing things through different eyes takes time.

I’m also learning to give myself some grace. Seeking to let go of my own high expectations and realizing that the oppression of this land is real. The spiritual warfare a definite reality.

Tonight as Eric and I rode to the house on the bus, I looked about me and realized we were probably the only Christians on board. The utter lostness here is overwhelming and I wonder how God can use us to penetrate the darkness.

But,  I’m realizing that we can’t penetrate the darkness, only the Gospel of Jesus can. I’m learning that I must daily depend on the Lord. That I must walk in step with Him.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (I John 1:5)

This is my message, this is your message. May the Lord use us both to shine His light and be His light, pointing others to Christ.

The Smell Of Death

monkey-on-swayambhunath-stupa-kathmandu-1024x715The smell of death lingered on as we made our way through the largest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. Believed to be a holy place. A place where when Hindu’s die, they want to be cremated and have their ashes poured into the river. Believing that somehow this will lead them out of the endless cycle of death into heaven.

As we walked through there was a sense of oppression, for we had entered into the enemies territory. Walking up the stairs we watched as bodies were burned. Of course you could not see the body because it was covered with wood and hay, yet, the reality of what was taking place could not be disguised. The fact that the dead were cremated was not the issue however, the real issue was the number of Hindu’s who come daily here to this holy place to bring offerings and who seek to appease their god for their sins. We were told daily thousands are cremated here and thousands come with offerings. Once again, my heart broke for the bondage the mass majority of Nepal is under. How thankful I was when it was time to leave, yet glad for the chance to truly see the desperate need for Jesus here in Nepal.

Next we toured the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in Kathmandu. Though the atmosphere was different, the lostness remained the same. We watched as numerous Buddhist lit candles, spun prayer wheels and offered fruit and flowers to their god. The amazing part was the area of repentance, where we were told daily people come and cry out for forgiveness for their sin. Sadly, these will never know true forgiveness apart from Jesus.

Going to these two temples was needed to fully grasp the spiritual darkness and belief system we are dealing with and that the students from the seminary encounter daily. For some, these students are the only Christian in their families.

What a relief it was when it was time to go to the house of the Lord and to watch the students take in the Word of God. To hear them pray in Nepali is awesome and though I do not understand what is being said, the Lord does and He is pleased.

Nepal: A Great Need for Jesus

gurung girlsI awoke after some much-needed sleep to the relentless sound of dogs barking and bells ringing.Everyone is Nepal has a dog and they all enjoy talking to one another.

The bells ringing however are the result of the Nepali people as they  go to temple each morning. They go ringing the bells  and bring offerings of fruit and flowers. In the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” one of my favorite lines is when the little girl hears the bells ringing and says, “every time a bell rings an angel gets it wings.” Yet, that is far from the case of the bells ringing here. Each time I hear the bells ring, I stand amazed at the number of lost people who make up the land of Nepal and I pray for the Lord will show them their need of Him.

There are numerous foreigners here which is quite surprising. Many are here working in orphanages, teaching in schools, doing humanity works. I am thankful they are here and thankful for the work that they do. However, after talking with a friend last night, I am reminded that these are not what the Nepali people need the most. What they need the most is Jesus.

I was told that most Hindu’s have no concept of sin. The numerous things we as Christians see as sin, they have no problem with. Thus the only way to change their society is to lead them to Jesus.

So coming to feed the poor and provide them with safe drinking water and schools is great, but these things will not change the heart of the people.These things must be coupled with the Gospel, for only it can change lives.

It is amazing the difference Jesus makes in the lives of these people. I was told me of a man who was notorious for beating his wife, stayed drunk most of the day and treated his daughter as nothing. Then one day, he met Jesus and his life has never been the same. Now, he wakes up each day and makes tea for his wife and daughter and serves them. Daily he rides his bike throughout Nepal telling others of Jesus. This girl said her home went from being hell on earth to heaven on earth. Oh, what the difference Jesus makes.

What the people of Nepal need is Jesus!! Please pray for the Lord to open the eyes of the blind and turn their hearts and eyes upon Him.

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