Sunday, July 24, 2011

Natalie ~ Remembering Isaiah 55:11 ~

Hi there, everyone!

I just realized that this will probably be one of my last times posting from Nepal!  It's hard to believe that I only have two more days here...where did the month go?! :) 

We sure have had some excitement the past few days in northern Nepal.  We scaled a landslide on foot (during which a HUGE boulder half the size of a car came hurtling down the mountainside toward Pastor Ohlmann!~ It missed him by maybe ten feet!), unintentionally created a ruckus at the Nepal-Tibet border (our group was ordered to be hastily escorted away from the border by a Tibetan spy!), and were stranded on a bus for over an hour due to a severe bus crash ahead of us!  But through it all, God kept our team safe, just as He has been safeguarding all of us our entire time here in Nepal.  We are very thankful!

But the most significant event on my mind from our time in northern Nepal is the fact that I taught my lesson for the very last time.  We taught at a school that had so many kids that we had to split our team into two groups to teach them all!  My group taught in the church building.  As we began to teach, something awesome happened that I will never forget!  I noticed some kids passing by on the street.  They must have heard us teaching through the open church windows, and they curiously came closer to listen.  Before long, a large group of kids had crowded around the windows outside the church to listen to us tell our Bible stories, and the saving message that they may have never heard before!  It was amazing to see! :)

After we finished teaching our lessons, putting together Jesus puzzles with the kids, and spending time afterwards laughing and playing with them, I felt so sad that our teaching sessions scheduled for our trip had been completed.  I thought back to all the times this past month that I had the privilege to teach, and to all the unforgettable faces of the adorable kids and sweet people I met along the way...They are all so precious to me, and so hard to say goodbye to!  My favorite part of teaching was watching the facial reactions of the children as I taught.  My lesson focused on Jesus' death on the cross, and His resurrection.  As I would describe Christ's suffering and crucifixion, the room would quiet down, and sad, almost hopeless expressions surfaced all around the room ~ some kids even put their hands up to their faces as if they were close to tears!  But when I'd explain to them how Jesus conquered sin and death, and rose again three days later, their faces would light up with excitement and their smiles would return! That chain of emotions was so great to see in these kids.  And honestly, it was a wonderful reminder for myself how truly amazing the saving work of Christ is!  We should never let our own excitement and thankfulness for our Savior fade!  

I just hope and pray with all my heart that God worked faith in the hearts of every child through the words we spoke.  And I am so reassured when I remember Isaiah 55:11, " is the Word that goes forth from My mouth;  it shall not return to Me void..."  :)  I love that passage!  And I am confident that the HCLC pastors here will continue to "water the seeds" God planted through our lessons -- they are so dedicated to their work!  Please pray for them!  I will sincerely miss teaching here in Nepal, but I am, as Pastor Ohlmann encouraged all of us to do during our final days here and also when we return home, praying for open doors to any unexpected teaching opportunities we may run into. :)

Speaking of open doors, I may have missed a few today...  This morning and afternoon, my team and I (minus Pastor Ohlmann and Chad Seybt, who were attending the HCLC pastoral conference all day) went sightseeing all around Kathmandu!  We hiked up a hill to a phenomenal view of the vast city, visited the Nepali National Museum, and toured the Nepali Military Museum.  Oh, and saw LOADS of monkeys!  :)

Lastly, we visited many Hindu and Buddhist temples and idols.  Although it was so impressive and interesting to see these carved statues, and the sheer size and intricate features of them, I admit that I walked away from these places feeling more sad and depressed than anything. Maybe it's just because I have been surrounded by many Christians while here in Nepal, and forgot the fact that Nepal is still less than 1% Christian. Witnessing so, so many people, from very young to very old, worshipping these Hindu or Buddhist statues, spinning prayer wheels, chanting, donating the little money they have, and performing all sorts of other ridiculous rituals was just so heartbreaking to me.  I felt like I should be doing or saying something to these people to point them away from their futile idol worship and toward Jesus, and maybe I should have...I don't know.  There were just so many disturbing things to see around every corner that I didn't even know where to begin.  Yet, seeing all of this just brought to a greater light the fact that there are still so many people unknowingly heading down the wrong path, and they are in need of the Word too.  So thankful that God has positioned people like Raju, Rajan, and other fellow believers here in Nepal --  It is a great blessing to know that even though our time here is drawing to a close, they are here keeping the faith alive and being so very, very willing to proclaim and spread it here!  I'm also so thankful for getting the chance to see what I saw today -- Those painfully real memories will always be there to fuel my lifelong work as a Matthew 28:19 Christian.  :)

All in all, it was just another fabulous day in Nepal!

One last full day here tomorrow! (tear!)  Can't believe it.  We will spend the day shopping for gifts and preparing for our Tuesday flight home to the US. 

Hoping all is well in America!  And wherever else readers may be. :)


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