After a delayed flight out of Kathmandu, a missed flight from Istanbul to Chicago, an unexpected (and fun) 24 hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey with five star hotel accomdations provided by the airline, a four hour tour of old town Istanbul, another delayed flight from Istanbul to Chicago, a few temporarily lost pieces of luggage, finally all seventeen Mission Helpers to Nepal landed safely in Chicago and are headed home. Thank You Lord for Your protection and provision!
Friday, July 28, 2017
Having gone on mission helper trips before, I was anticipating a perspective change. When you visit India, Africa, or Nepal and work side by side with the pastors and see first hand the work of the Lord, your perspective will be changed. It's unavoidable. And this is a good thing.
At home in the U.S.A it's very easy to fall into the "swing of things" and forget about the unbelievers in the world. It's easy to dwell on your own problems, both the significant and the insignificant ones, and forget that throughout the world there are people who have never heard of their Savior.
Today we visited a few Buddhist and Hindu temples. Seeing all those people worshiping empty idols is a blunt reminder of Satan's grip on many people. Right in front of our eyes was Satan, hard at work. The feeling you get when you see something like that is one of dismay, motivation, and resolve. Dismay at sight of so many people who don't know their Savior died for them. Motivation to get up and start preaching! And resolve to spread the Gospel despite Satan's attempts to sway us. It is an eye opening experience the Holy Spirit gives us and provides deeper insight into Christ's command to go and make disciples.
We saw today the work of Satan but more prevalent throughout our trip we saw the work of the Lord. We saw Him working through Raju and Rajan, through our translators, through the pastors and
church members. We saw the the Lord working in the hearts of little children singing their praises. Our trip was filled with examples of the Lord's work, not Satan's. The Gospel is a shining light in Nepal! The past 16 days opened my eyes to the power and love of our Savior.
Going forward, I pray that the Lord will remind me of the work left to do. I pray that He will guide my heart and mind to keep the right perspective during my day to day life. I thank the Lord that He has redeemed me and given me the tremendous privilege of telling others about their Savior. And I pray that the Lord would keep my eyes open.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Pastor Bruce Naumann
<>< "One died for all" 2 Cor. 5:14
While the past few weeks have presented many challenges, the last couple of days of every Mission Helper Trip come with their own unique set of challenges. Emotionally we try and balance our love for Nepali brothers and sisters in Christ along with all the people of Nepal with our love for friends and family back home and our longing to be with them. We are physically exhausted, sore, and blistered and we are so ready to be back to the cushy comforts of home and yet we know that our own "sacrifices" are nothing in comparison to the ultimate sacrifice our Savior made for us and even the sacrifices our fellow Christians here in Nepal make everyday for the sake of the Gospel. We are troubled and our hearts ache with compassion because of the great needs we have witnessed the past few weeks and yet we are confident in our heavenly Father's good and gracious plans! We are full of joy for the privilege and opportunity to have proclaimed the Gospel to so many and yet overwhelmed by the great need and the work we have left undone. We are hopeful as we consider the potential for a great harvest and yet struck with the saddness of witnessing firsthand the darkness of the idol worship that dominates every aspect of the lives and culture of the beautiful people that dwell in this incredible land.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 4:20-21
Thank You Lord for faithfulness to Your promises and blessings too abundant to list. Thank you to everyone for following along with this blog, for your support of this effort, and for your love and concern that led to your many prayers on our behalf. Thank you to wives and families and friends who encouraged, supported, and sacrificed in the absence of their loved ones so this Kingdom work could happen. Thank you to Raju, Rajan, Suraj, and Julia for your patience and loving care in making all the preparations for this trip and for using your amazing translating abilities and other God-given gifts to help us proclaim the Gospel. Thank you to this year's sixteen Mission Helpers who meshed so well together to wllingly give of themselves in so many ways to carry out this glorious work of proclaiming the Good News of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life by Grace through Faith in our Savior Jesus!
"I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you..." Philemon 4-7
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
On the way to Rasuwa, our bus carried us over a range of hills on a fairly nerve-wracking road--narrow, broken, shredded by monsoons and earthquake damage. At one point, we came around a switchback in a narrow, forested ravine and stopped just above a place that looked for all the world like a fish hatchery . . . and a restaurant. Which, in fact, is just what it was. We were encouraged to catch a few trout with a dip net, which were promptly (well, in an hour's time), cooked to order. Fried trout and dahl bat. You haven't lived until . . .
While we were eating, the monsoon rains came in torrents. The bus driver, undeterred, drove us in even more thrilling manner to the city of Nuwakot. (God be thanked, for His protection—and Raju, for asking the driver to take us home a different way!) The next day some of our group taught in established church congregations in the rice paddies of Rasuwa district, while others went to earthquake refugee camps where the Rasuwa Christians have been working.
Today, while the teams are out at Bardibas, a few of us begin a two-day conference with HCLCN pastors and theology students. My presentation will be on teaching Bible History, and I'll use "Jesus Calls His Disciples" (Matthew 4 & Luke 5) for an example throughout the lesson. Jesus called the unlikeliest people to carry on His all-important work: unlettered fishermen; He announced to them that they would 'catch men'; that is, gather the souls of men and women through the fishnet of the gospel. "Fish to be caught"; "fields white unto harvest"—Jesus' metaphors for the gospel calling are simple yet rich. But how humbling it is to see this calling in this dramatic sense.
Right now I'm looking at a group of about 20 earnest Nepali men who serve, or will serve, congregations in their cities and villages; the hope is to strengthen their skills for ministry and evangelism. But I'm also thinking about the 17 of us Mission Helpers who have taken part in experiences such as you've seen described in this blog. This trip has given us an opportunity to cast out the net, to a few, for a little while. But it has been a dramatic seminar for us, as well. What is the Lord training and preparing us for in the future?
Nepali pastors and CLC Mission Helpers—in both cases, we will soon return home better equipped for the Lord's service in our own homes and regular lives, having been exercised in the Word.
Monday, July 24, 2017
|Earthquake Refugee Camp in Rasuwa District|
|Children listening to the lessons about their Savior!|
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Pastor Bruce Naumann
<>< "One died for all" 2 Cor. 5:14
I was able to teach at four different congregations so far. Whether it was a group of 300 or 30, it's a wonderful sight to see. I hope to teach many more in just the few days we have left.
After my last lesson, we had time to sit with the kids. Interacting with someone who doesn't speak the same language or know general hand movements is something I haven't encountered before. I was sitting by one little girl who would copy my hand movement, so I decided to see if she would play with me. I was thinking of doing some form of Patty Cake, but ultimately I just started patting my legs and clapping my hands, and she would copy me. Other kids started to gather around so I moved on to do it with a couple others. They loved it! They would laugh and smile while trying to figure out how to copy me. Then I grabbed my phone to take a picture and they all crowded around me. They were all so amazing and I hope they grow up to be great Christian people.
On Saturday, we went to the church here in Kathmandu. Half of the service had to be singing. It was amazing to hear all those voices, along with clapping, all in the name of Jesus. They also had drums and guitars which made it sound even more powerful. Although I couldn't understand the words, I knew exactly Who they were giving praise to.
God works in amazing ways. I'm so fortunate that He is using me to accomplish His work here in Nepal.
How great are His works.
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Sent from my iPhone
This trip has been full of bumps in the road both literally and figuratively, and the longer we have been here, the easier it is to deal with it.
After beginning this trip with a 36 hour bus ride, I quickly realized that inquiring how much longer we were going to be half sleeping in a stinky bus with poor AC was not going to get me any kinda of response. We kept hearing "Oh it's not far" or "Ehhhh soon" and to us Americans it's almost more frustrating than anything.
Now, ten days into this trip, I've adjusted to living on Nepali time, where everything is an estimate and nothing is for certain. As I ride on this five-ish hour bus ride writing this post, I neither know what time we left, nor am I trying to calculate what time we arrive. Rather, I'm sitting here, gazing out the window to one of the most beautiful places I have been thinking America could learn a thing or two from this country.
Back home, everyone is so focused on time, which in itself isn't a bad thing, but I can say for certain that I'm not looking forward to being back in the hustle and bustle of the cities in less than a week.
The Lord has blessed this trip in countless ways from incredible good weather to an abundance of children (more than we had planned for!) and if I have learned anything from living in Nepali time, it's that having a priority makes everything seem like no big deal.
Now, instead of asking "Are we there yet?" Or "How long until we can sleep?" I wonder when we get to teach again, or how many children we will have this time? Five hour bus rides seem like a piece of cake--just a short stop away from our next church.
Only a few more teaching days left until, sadly, we fly home. We have truly been cared for by our Lord and Savior this far and I pray He continue to do so.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
From the valley to the hills, God's greatness is abounding everywhere we turn. As we hiked up the hills to Hatibong yesterday morning, more emotions were rolling through my head than ever before: excitement, nervousness, fear, queasiness, unease, and worst of all, regret.
But as I was sitting there thinking how easy I would be to just turn around and go right back to the hotel I remembered the reason for this trek: to bring the Word to all the children up in the hills, and the regret turned to determination. This, these children, kept me going, with a lot of support from my peers and a ten times more from the Lord.
Several hours passed by in a blur of stone after stone and zigzag paths with mud, but finally, we made it to the school. As we walked down the short path, the children sat eagerly awaiting us, excitement filling their eyes and my gut filled up with giddiness too.
Once we got to the school building, the children all ran inside and within a few minutes were all seated, quietly awaiting what we had to say. We taught our lessons, and sang some songs to the most attentive group of little ones I've, personally, seen! Then we handed out the bags we had brought up for each and every child as well as frooti juice boxes, ramen, and butter cookies. And just when I thought the grins on their faces couldn't get any bigger, they most definitely did!
Before we left, we were informed that about twenty of those hundred were already Christian, which was encouraging to hear. In addition, those believing children will be a blessing to the ones who had just heard the Word for the first or second time, so they can learn and grow together. It's so incredible the ways in which the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of His little ones, and for that we are forever grateful.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so I have a few showing the village, the school, and the awesome beauty of Nepal which we have been richly blessed with. However, even though this is a popular, and true saying, I think I have a better one:
A picture is worth a thousand words, but a smile is worth a million.
Seeing the eyes light up in the children's faces as we taught them about Jesus birth, death, resurrection and their salvation is not able to be fully captured in a 1,000 word blog post or even a 10,000 word paper.
I pray that the Holy Spirit continue to guide these children along the right path, into God's arms.