I had many mixed emotions upon leaving Nepal to return home. I hadn't realized just how close I had become to my brethren there. There was the heartache of realizing that I had not been able to do some things that I was most looking forward to, namely trekking up to the villages and living among the people. However, there was also the joy of realizing that the purpose for which I came was accomplished even if it had to be done without me. As JB put it: "The Lord saw to it that the gospel went up into the hills even if Chad did not." And of course that was the most important part.
There was something that I noticed while traveling through Nepal that I will not be able to forget and actually caused me great sadness. And that was the obvious influence of our Western culture on the culture in Nepal. Two hundred to even one hundred years ago this would have been a very welcome thing as Western culture then was predominantly Christian and had rather positive influences to share with other cultures. Today however it is quite different. Today our secularized Western culture is having a largely negative spiritual impact abroad. You could see it in their clothing and television and also hear it in their music. I noticed rather revealing clothing on women in a culture that normally seeks to have their women modestly clothed in non-form fitting clothing. I observed scantily clad women dancing provocatively in music videos and television programs. And the music videos themselves also revealed that the text of the music was less than desirable. What this all impressed upon me was the great need in our own country for evangelism efforts. It's funny (and rather sad at the same time) that I had to travel half way around the world to realize just how great the need for evangelism is in my own back yard. And what's more is that this need is even great among those in our country who would consider themselves churched because American churches have compromised so much in regards to God's Word.
Finally, I also noticed how we can apply several things in our mission work in Nepal to here in the United States. One of the blessings we enjoyed on our trip was the lack of distractions we had while carrying out our work. We were all so focused on the work at hand. What a great lesson to take back with us to the U.S.! How much more evangelism could we do here in the States if we would just remove ourselves from all of our distractions! What if we gathered around God's Word in our CLC congregations on a routine basis with the idea of spreading that word to those we know around us? How much more work could we accomplish if we just turned off the TV, disconnected from Facebook, shut down the video games and computers and really focused in on the work our God has called all of us to do?! What if each CLC congregation had a mission society that met weekly to discuss and encourage each other with ideas and stories of mission work in our own backyards? I believe these realizations are some of the greatest blessings that I personally took away from this mission trip, and I look forward to starting on this important work here in the States. I have been emboldened and strongly encouraged to share what I have learned as encouragement for my fellow CLC brothers so that we see mission work not just as something that happens in Nepal orIndia or Africa, but also something that so desperately needs to be conducted in our own neighborhoods and towns and country.
Despite all of the negative things that happened to me on this trip, they could not compare in the least with what the apostle Paul went through on his missionary journeys nor what my Savior went through on the cross in order to redeem me, a lost sinner. I am eternally grateful to God for this experience, and I pray that He will bless the work that was accomplished so that I and my Nepali brethren will see each other again in our heavenly home.