First, a bit of background. My good friends Adam, Mark, and Dathan and I are visiting some Nepalese pastor-friends and seeing the various ministries they are involved in. We’ll be in Nepal for just over a week, and then I’ll head on to Zambia (Africa), where I’ll meet up with Matt, my pastor, and explore potential ministry opportunities. Nepal is a beautiful country snuggled up to the commanding peaks of the Himalayas. The country is roughly the size and shape of California, and a good chunk of the population lives in the Kathmandu area. Already, I’m falling in love with this city.
We landed on Jan 5th and, after dropping our things of at our hotel, we were taken to a church service. The drive through the city was an adventure in itself. Jostling through streets jammed with motorcycles, tiny cars, pedestrians, and dogs; no traffic lines, no lights, and apparently no rules. I can’t believe no one got ran over! Though I can’t say for sure that no one did. Some streets are paved, others are dirt. Some can fit 2 vehicles, though they’re occupied by 4. Shacks, shrines, and old men drinking tea all line the grimy streets. And the smell of curry meshed with exhaust wafts through the air. I haven’t felt so alive in years. Although I love Southern California, I find the rat race to financial prosperity and endless consumerism quite dull.
The church we visited was a congregation of about 25 people. They all have two things in common: they all love Jesus, and they are all blind, including the pastor. We arrived a few minutes late so we heard their voices singing out to Jesus as we walked up the dark stairwell. When we entered the sanctuary, we saw a beautiful sight: a small room filled with Nepalese men and women unable to see, yet they see Jesus. No stage, no band, no chairs, no heat, no eyes, but they have everything because they have been chosen, loved, and bleed for by the King of the universe. And they know it.
Several thoughts filled my mind. The first one was, “what time is dinner?” There were a couple women over in the kitchen stewing up a killer curry for after the service, and the smell of the broth kept dancing through my nose. After 2 days of airplane food and protein bars, I could hardly take it!
The next thought was “hope.” I say I have hope, but sometimes it feels forced. I make more money in a day than these people make all year. I have a house, 2 cars, a computer, a job, a wife and four kids—all with eyes that work. Why long for something more when I have it all? Sometimes Christians get so frantic about economic downturns and national security. I wonder if a little less money, and a little less safety, could be a gift from God to cultivate more hope.
Another thought was “church.” I’ve visited several impoverished churches around the world and I always find their simplicity so soothing. They gather, they sing, they talk about their next evangelistic outreach. They pray (out loud, all at the same time), they sing some more, they pray some more, they talk some more, they listen to the word, they pray some more, and then they eat. I wonder if it’s easier to see Jesus without all the clutter. Or without eyes.
Tomorrow, we’re going to visit people without limbs. We’re going to deliver rice to a colony of lepers outside the city.