Monday, August 1, 2011

Naomi Bernthal- "This is a Last but it is not an End."

On one of the last nights in Kathmandu, two other girls and I were talking about how much we will miss it in Nepal. One of our new very good friends said something along the lines of the title of this blog. He meant that this will be the last time we see each other now, but we will eventually see each other. This really made me smile. It is such a comfort to know that no matter how far away I am from these amazing fellow Christians, I will still see them on the Last Day. As Kathmadu slowly faded beneath the clouds as we took off and I was fighting back tears, those words popped into my head and I took comfort in them. 
I can't even begin to express in words what this trip has done for me. When we were saying goodbye to our friends, I really felt unworthy of their thanks. They have done so much for us, they put a hold on their daily routines, they planned everything out for us, and they gave us food and anything that we needed. God has truly been working something amazing in Nepal. These Christians have built me up and helped me more than they know. I feel very privileged to have these fellow Christians in my life. 
When we finally hit American soil and I heard the sweet sound of a Midwesterner's accent, I knew I was home. It's nice coming back to a place where people understand you and you aren't disreguarded as an ignorant tourist. For some reason though, as we were driving home from Chicago I thought that I would be happier to be home. Don't get me wrong, I was very happy to see my family and friends and drink safe tap water and enjoy the luxuries I have been blessed with, but a part of me really didn't mind the conditions we lived with. It really was an eye-opener to see firsthand how different things are between my normal life here and the normal life of our brothers and sisters in Nepal. 

I am so grateful that God has blessed me so richly, more importantly though, I am grateful that God has blessed all of us with the gift of eternal life. After visiting some of the Hindu temples and seeing all the shrines to stone figures, it really hit me how much more work we have to do! The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few! I encourage anyone and everyone to take every opportunity you get to spread this wonderful news. At one of our stops, one of our friends had a devotion and he took it from Isaiah 52:7,  "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" These words are a comfort and a motivation to do the work God has laid out for us.
One very big lesson I learned that has stuck with me since I've been back is having a child-like faith. While in Nepal I never once felt anxious or scared whether we were going the right way, whether we got on the right bus or whether we were going to get there on time. I trusted that everything would work out. I knew that our friends knew exactly what they were doing and I knew no matter what happened, it was what God wanted. It's very easy to fall into the trap or worrying and stressing out about stuff but now I have found myself a bit calmer with things. Apparently it only took a trip overseas for it to finally hit me. I had always tried before but now, after being in a situation where I was clueless about all of my surroundings and I needed to rely completely on someone else, it's clear to me now. God is in control, He knows exactly what He's doing.
I encourage anyone who is even slightly thinking of doing a Mission Helper trip to do it! I almost didn't go on this trip. I had the application all written out but I chickend out at the last minute because I doubted that I could cover the expences. But then Pastor Ohlmann was in Eau Claire for some meetings and convinced me to hand it in. I thank God to this day that I handed that application in. And I would also like to say thank you to Pastor Ohlmann for everything he has done for us. I don't know how he can do this every summer but at the same time I understand. It is sad to say goodbye to your good friends not knowing when you will see them next, but just knowing that they have saving faith is worth more than any saddness or pain. He sacrifices a lot to do this work and we obviously could not have done any of this without him. So Pastor, thank you for being an effecient tool in the building of God's kingdom.  
And so, I ask you all to pray for our fellow brothers and sisters and please pray for the many souls who still need to hear about their Savior! This was a wonderful opportunity and I pray that we all see the many opportunities God gives us in our everyday lives. I know that I will always have a special place in my heart for Nepal and the wonderful friends that I now have there.

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