Kathmandu, Nepal

May 7-25, 2018

Have you ever had plans and they got changed?  I don’t mean just little changes, but big, major changes?  That is how it was on this mission trip to India and Nepal.

First, we had planned to spend around five to six days on the foothills of Mt. Everest involved in village-to-village evangelism and planting churches.  But the rains came and there was mud and lots of it. Buckets of the wet stuff.  All that brought landslides, so the Mountain Patrol called off all activities.  That closed the mountain.  But, opened up a big block of time, so Father gave us a bunch of new plans.

Second, He gave us a Pastors and Workers training conference.  This conference was the first of its kind that most of these men had ever attended.  Topics covered were preaching, teaching the Bible, and the work of the pastor.  

Third, Father took us over to the Malphi International School for two days of baseball/softball training and Gospel sharing.  Malphi is on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal.  I had been there before, but, never for more than one day. Starting on Friday afternoon, we held practice on two make-shift diamonds with over 50 boys.  My good friend, “A,” who is the Director of the Nepal Baseball and Softball Federation, and I led the clinic.  After a couple of hours of calisthenics, throwing, batting, fielding, situation practice, and running we were through.  It was time for supper and we were ready and hungry. Some of you may remember, that last year this was the field we had to be off before dark as tigers come down from the mountain to look for food there.  

Supper was very good. I sat at a table with the faculty. There were about six at the table. For at least an hour, as we ate, all they did was ask question about Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, Christianity, and what it means to be a Christian.  Then, they decided that all the students and faculty needed to hear this, so I was invited to speak at 10:30 a.m. the next morning, on the topics, “What is a Christian?” and “How Does a Person Become a Christian?”  I almost couldn’t believe it.  Dad had been at work. They told me there would be about 350 in attendance.  I replied, “Yes.”

That night I was in a daze. I was not sure if my shaking was from fear or excitement.  But, I did sleep and soon it was morning.  I prayed and prayed some more.  Got ready and then on to breakfast.  After eating it was time to go to the auditorium. The place was packed.   I was introduced and told to begin.  All 350, plus some more, were there.  I was informed that there were only two or three Christians in the entire group. The rest were Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists, or Agnostics.

After about twenty-five minutes of explaining what is a Christian and what one does to become a Christian, the question and answer time began.  They had lots of good and thoughtful questions.  God gave me the answers to every question and the students and faculty there understood the answers.  After a while they said the time was up and thanked me.  A little later they invited me back when I return in November.  They said they want more baseball and softball training and teaching about Christianity.  I told them, “Sure.  See you in November.”

After some snacks, it was off to the ball fields for more training.  Then lunch, pack up, and head back to Kathmandu.  

Fourth, the next several days were filled with unexpected time at a student center in Kathmandu, leading two more pastors and workers training workshops, and a meeting with the Nepal Baptist Church Council (NBCC) to set up and coordinate some village-to-village witnessing and church planting work on the mountains.  The Executive Director and The Church Planting and Missions Director represented the NBCC.  I was impressed.  Both these men are committed to reaching people, planting churches, and discipleship.

By now we had only a few days left on the mission trip.  I had to fly back to Delhi and preach at the Good News Center Church on my last Sunday. The church had two services.  

In the first service I preached on John 1.  In the second, preached on John 4.  In preparing for the first service I talked to the translator about the text and what I was going to say.  This text is not easy, and I wanted to be sure she understood the text and its meaning. I explained to her this was about Jesus and His incarnation and preexistence.  But, before I could explain more she interrupted, “You mean you will preach about Jesus, The Logos, and how He is the Word.  How He is the incarnate Son of God who explains the Father to us and how He is everlasting to everlasting from eternity past, present, and future?”  I said, “Yes.”   Nothing else needed to be said.

During the invitation time, a total of 14 came forward to ask Jesus to forgive them of their sins and come into their hearts-to become Christians.  Pastor told me that the follow-up will begin next week.

The next three days I had two more spontaneous training conferences.  These were for small group house church leaders.  We studied such topics as “What does a Small Group House Church Leader Do?” “How to teach a Bible Study,” “How to Study the Bible,” and “The Importance of a Daily Walk with The Lord.”  The two days were well attended.  The place was packed.  There were thirty-five in attendance each day.

In the evenings, I taught the young people there how to play softball and baseball. They taught me how to play Cricket.  This was a “first time” for both them and me.  I also broke my record as to the temperature.  This was the first time I ever played ball in temperature of 111 degrees. That was hot.

By the way, one time in Kathmandu, Pastor took me out to eat at a local restaurant.  There he bowed his head and had the blessing, but he did not invite me to participate with him. He did his in silence, but he did move his lips.   I had noticed this at other places and in his home. His family didn’t invite me to pray with them either in home or out in a restaurant.  I asked him about this.  He apologized for not letting me know what was happening.  He related to me that the government forbids any outward show of religion except for Hinduism, Buddhism, and/or Islam.  There is a big penalty (five years in jail) and a monetary fine for breaking this law.  The authorities are watching.  However, this does not stop Pastor, other pastors, Christians, or Christian families from distributing tracts in public and/or witnessing.  “It is against the law to proselytize a Hindu, Buddhist, or Moslem,” he said. “You must be discerning,” he whispered. “After all, do you want to be arrested for having the blessing or passing out tracts?  You want to be sure you have maximum impact.” This immediately reminded me that we Christians in America, live in Christian Disneyland.

After all of this, I had only one day remaining, so I packed my luggage and met with Daniel, in Delhi, for one last meeting.  We talked about many things.  He asked me to hold a big Sports Ministry Conference sometime soon.  He related to me that most of the churches in India, have some kind of sports activities, but do not know how to use them to reach people for Christ.  He asked me to help them use sports for outreach, church planting, and discipleship. I agreed.  We will get this set up soon.

Thursday, my last day, as always, was filled with mixed emotions.  I was sorry to leave but would be glad to see family and my wife, Barbara, again.

Some of you have asked what happens on the last day when you leave those you have been working with while you were there?  It is just the same as it was in the Book of Acts, so many years ago.

Acts 21:5-6 (NIV)
5 When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach [at the airport]we knelt to pray. 6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, [went to check-in and board the airplane] and they returned home.