One way my husband, John, and I instill a personal passion for the growth of God’s church worldwide is through a Barnabas group. We love meeting together with other church members to hear from fellow believers on the other side of the world. It challenges us to think outside of our American culture and remember God’s desire to see every nation, tribe, and tongue in his family. We also see it deepen our prayer life and dependence on him to meet the needs of our friends.
One day, our Barnabas group received an email from our College Park friends in Nepal. They asked, “Who would like to come and help with childcare for a conference?” We hadn’t planned on going on a Vision Trip this year but were thrilled at the opportunity. We now had the chance to see the very place and people we’d been praying for.
We were blessed to help with a small conference by teaching and playing with a group of children whose parents serve in Nepal. The conference allowed the families to enjoy refreshing Christian community. The children were a joy to us, and we hope we were an encouragement to them as they processed life in a new culture. The larger fellowship allowed us to hear beautiful praise songs in a new language. Though believers seemed to cherish the opportunity to sing in their native English tongue, when they sang in Nepali we could see the yearning in their faces for the Nepali people.
During our travels through Katmandu, we learned how deeply the culture is integrated with Hinduism and Buddhism. Our eyes were opened as we walked through crowded streets filled with dozens of shops. Every third store seemed to be selling various idols. We witnessed religious rituals in which people walked clockwise around the stupa (temple) 108 times, holding prayer beads and spinning prayer wheels. Many of these temples, as well as storefronts, were decorated with religious flower garlands. We even saw morning sacrifices outside doorposts in the streets. The culture is integrated religion. Yet, few Nepali people know of Christ, the beauty of his grace, and the complete forgiveness he extends to all.
We cherished seeing our dear College Park sisters who selflessly serve and love the Nepali with Christ’s love. They showed us their home and we toured their local market. We met their language teacher, whom we had heard much about and had prayed for often. We walked their streets and rode in their favorite taxis. As we did, our friends explained the complexities of the cultural challenges they face. Seeing the Nepali’s faces helped our hearts connect to the need.
One morning, we were blessed with a breathtaking view of the sunrise over the snow-covered Himalayan mountain peaks. As I reflected on the sovereignty and might of the God who created them, I gazed out over the city of Katmandu. I had prayed for this city from across the world but experiencing it in person was a treasure.
As a result of this trip, my heart grew and my prayers deepened. I didn’t just see the place and people I had been praying for; I gained a greater excitement for and understanding of his global Church.