Nepal STM 2017: Reflections & Next Steps
Hello Friends and Family,
My Father and I have returned home from our STM to Nepal! It was a blast to be able to go to Nepal for two weeks and then have some personal vacation and bonding time in Taiwan :) In total, we were gone from June 29th-July 19th and we are both very thankful to be back in our own house with family!
First off, I appreciate the prayers, chats and loving emails from all of you during this trip and your support was really felt.
Nepal is a country that is experiencing a huge revival where many young people are leaving Hinduism and Buddhism to come to Christ. But there is still a dark spiritual hold in the country where many students struggle with the reality that following God could cost them social ostracism from their communities and family. There are also many social and worldly distractions that keeps people busy and afraid to fully trust God. A profound question to ask the Nepali people and ourselves was... What is your Life Purpose? Why do you think you were created to be on this earth for? These questions were things I even asked myself and it was a good reminder to desire that Christ is sweeter than life and all things.
WHAT WE DID
My teammates and I taught English, Chinese, computer skills and guitar at the afterschool program that also had times for fellowship and games that are similar to a church youth group. It gives the Nepali students great hope and joy because our God freed them from their religious past and caste system...if you are born into a farming family, you are most likely going to be a farmer like your parents and grandparents before you. Out on the streets of Nepal, people look glum and hopeless. In the classroom, these kids show a lot of joy and love from the community around them.
1) HOUSE VISITATIONS
Another thing we had an opportunity to do was house visitations!! During the morning and evenings, We had a chance to visit our students families and to be a light and witness for discussions about the gospel. These conversations and talks left a big impact on me because of the obstacles and trials each student faced with their own family members hearing the gospel. Some of these students also lived in really abject poverty where they may have a plastic tarp for a roof and slept very close to their own livestock.
2) AMAZING TEAM UNITY
This missions trip was probably one of the most blessed ones I have ever been on in terms of team unity, health, weather, and strategic support of the local missionaries that we were working with. It was ridiculous how nice and cool the weather was the entire time and how easily we all worked and served together as we covered over one another's weaknesses! Some of our teammates have come to Nepal for the past 5 years, and even they couldn't believe how blessed we were!
A big prayer request was health before we left on this trip (my father has gone through some health issues in the past), and it was amazing that most teammates stayed healthy for the most part and we really felt God's grace as we fought against the spiritual warfare in this country.
3) SUMMER CAMP AND BAPTISMS
One of the busiest parts of our trip was hosting a 3 days summer camp for fifty students. Many of them seemed to be Christian already but were hesitant to get baptized. In this culture, baptism was a huge deal because of the outward confession to become a Christian and renouncing all other beliefs. This is a huge cost but by the end, eight of the students got baptized and committed themselves to following Christ. Half of them made their decision the night before the event! Pray for these students and believers to be strong and faithful in living out their faith!
THE BLESSINGS OF TWO PASTORS ON THE TEAM
I think the biggest takeaway from this trip for me personally was letting God use my availability and experiences to share His Gospel. I don't think I've ever played worship, led prayer meetings and games, and spoke this much on any other mission trip I've gone on beforehand!
On my team, I was blessed to be around two amazing Pastors from Bread of Life who decided to make this trip with us. Both men were faithful to preaching and sharing the gospel in anyway they were needed, and they in turn challenged me to be more flexible and faithful than I have ever been before.
Their character and daily discipline also challenged me to pursue new practices of quiet times and prayer that really brought a lot of energy and zeal for the Gospel. I have been trying to bring these disciplines back to my house in the United States and it's really helpful having my dad keep me accountable during our quiet times and shared memories of Nepal. :)
As I come back from Nepal, I enter a time of unemployment and seeking potential church job opportunities. Please Pray for:
- Transition and Community: I have relied very heavily on my position as a pastoral intern to receive accountability from my fellow interns and staff at CEC. In this new season in San Diego, I am praying about how I can stay disciplined in God's scripture while also receiving community support in all I do. Please pray for the right people to receive accountability.
- Church Job Opportunities: This time of job searching has been an INCREDIBLE blessing and I am learning so much about my passions and the doctrines of the church. Please pray that I continue to trust God with his timing with which church he will want me to be at and to wait on His call with the right opportunity to serve. :)
- For Family and Disciplines: This trip became a big bonding experience for my Dad and I, and I hope to continue to build off of that relationship in how we lead and serve our own family. Please pray for personal disciplines and a continue growth in studying the scriptures as a family.
- For Patience with this time of Unemployment: I think in this season of unemployment, it's easy to want to scheme and make plans that will help me get out of this situation instead of trusting God that he will provide and being patient with the job hunt. Please pray that I remind myself that I am whole and complete in Christ already and will make decisions and choices from that place :)
Thanks for reading all of this!! I feel like I barely scratched the surface with how much this trip meant to me but feel free to ask me questions when you see me or to shoot me an email or chat to hear more details about different aspects!
Your friend and Brother,