Dear Kidstown Friends,
The time here in Nepal is quickly coming to a close. It has been a full, yet productive time. It is encouraging to see God at work, and humbling to know that He has invited us to join Him in this work. I hope that the last few posts have been helpful, giving you a glimpse of life and ministry here in Nepal.
For the last few days we have been travelling in Southern Nepal, referred to as the “terai” which means “the plains”. Low in elevation, this area grows most of Nepal’s rice, wheat, and barley. Due to its proximity to India, the terai is heavily populated and there is a larger concentration of heavy industry, although (sadly) many of these have failed to make it due to internal political unrest. This area is also quite hot this time of year, and by 9:30am this morning it was already 98 degrees, according to my thermometer.
We had come to this region to visit three orphanages. All are doing great work for the Lord as they reach out to kids, help them, educate them, and raise them up to be men and women of God. After our visit to the last of the three, we checked into our hotel. On the desk was a hot water pot, a couple of cups, and a single bag of Nescafe “3-in-1” (coffee, cream, sugar). Unfortunately, I could not find the cord for the coffee pot, so couldn’t drink the Nescafe, but…that’s OK because God used that little packet to make me think. So, here is the lesson from the “Nescafe 3-in-1″:
Nepal has many needs. Three have registered a bit higher on the radar for me:
First: social needs. Lots of social needs! Orphans, child trafficking, marginalized people groups, diseases such as leprosy and tuberculosis, and severe poverty are but some of the social needs that innumerable INGOs (International Non-Governmental Organizations) are laboring to address. In West Nepal, for example, I have seen many aircraft departing from the Surkhet airbase, heading towards remote mountain areas such as Mugu and Calicut with food aid. Conditions in those areas can be so severe that without such aid people would starve.
Second: political drift. In 2006 the civil war ended. The Maoist party secured the majority of the seats in the new parliament and moved Nepal away from being a Hindu Kingdom to a more democratic-style of government. This has afforded an unprecedented window of opportunity for the church. Evangelistic campaigns, church planting, Bible teaching, and Christian-humanitarian endeavors have all enjoyed incredible freedom…and God has blessed by growing His church! However, recent elections in India has seen a fundamental Hindu party come to power. Some anticipate that things will get tougher for Christians in India. This also impacts Nepal, however. Given its weak track record over the last 8 years, the Nepali government is anything but stable, and this means that all is up-for-grabs politically-speaking. Political Hindu fundamentalists here in Nepal will try to capitalize on what transpired in India in order to move things towards their desired end: take Nepal back to being a Hindu Kingdom. Probably don’t need to expand on the ramifications for the church if that happens (remember, during the days past when Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom, church activity was highly restricted). The point here is to recognize that we are in a window of time…a window of opportunity…a window that may close…a window that we need to take maximum advantage of while we can.
Third: relative shallowness of the Nepali church. Most of you who are reading this will know the meaning of the term “discipleship”. In-short, this refers to our on-going walk with God. It entails learning the Scriptures, applying the Scriptures, and growing deeper in our faith. As referenced above, the Nepali church has experienced significant growth over the last decade. But…those close to the pulse of the church tell us that spiritual depth is lagging. That’s not a good report…especially when a threat of harder times for the church is potentially on the radar.
Nescafe 3-in-1. Three significant needs: social, political, spiritual. One…what is the “one”? This refers to the orphan outreach that God has given us the opportunity to engage. I surely don’t mean to be sacrilegious, but I maybe God is saying to us something like this:
1. There are lots of social needs in Nepal. You can’t meet them all, but you can meet some. Orphan ministry is what I’ve called you to, so do it well. Reach out to these kids, and share My love with them. Feed them, clothe them, educate them, and help them to become productive citizens of this country so that they can participate in building a better Nepal in the future. You can’t meet all the needs here, but you can help one child at a time!
2. The political winds in Nepal are stirring, potentially in a wrong direction. But I have given you a window in which to engage in Kingdom work here in this country. So, while there is time, wholeheartedly give yourselves to the building of the church in Nepal through the avenue of helping orphans. Remember to pray for these kids, and for the leaders, because they constitute the church. And if the day comes when the window closes, you will know that you have done your part.
3. The church in Nepal has grown in number, but it also needs to grow in depth. What better way than to engage children in a day-by-day, bit-by-bit, year-by-year process of teaching them about Me, modelling for them what faith looks like, acts like, sounds like? You have a captive audience…kids that are living in Christian orphanages for 5, 10, or even 20 years! A perfect opportunity to raise up “generation-2” of Nepali Christians which will be deep, strong, committed, and missional. Yes, you may live far away, but you can still pray, encourage the kids in their faith, and take other opportunities which come your way to enhance the discipleship process at these children homes.
3-in-1. A spiritual lesson from Nescafe. Who would have thought it?
Blessings on you as you participate in what God is doing at home, and here in Nepal.