NOTES FROM THE FIELD
In this series, thoseinvolved with CLC foreign missions profile one aspect of our overseas endeavors.
The participants in the 2017 Mission Helper Trip to Nepal landed in Kathmandu at 6:00 A.M. on Wednesday, July 12. Our hotel there was the Norwegian House, so named because of all the Norwegian guests it accommodates. We had about seven hours of rest before we piled onto our first bus.
Nine days later, we rolled back through the gates of the Norwegian House around 11:30 P.M. It was all but impossible to process everything that had happened thus far, and we were only at the halfway point of the trip! We had traveled several hundreds of miles through cities and hills (we were told not to call them mountains because that is offensive to the people who climb actual mountains). We had taught in many churches and schools.
We’d broken into small groups when we went out to teach, each group made up of five or six people, including a translator. Often we would travel as one large group to a general area, then break up into our small groups to teach in specific villages. We all took off our sandals before entering a building, as is customary. Each helper would be introduced by a translator, the name followed by the syllable “oh” as required by Nepali grammar (Drew-oh, Sam-oh, Dani-oh, and so on.) Then we would teach an hour-long presentation using the “Seven C’s” teaching device, following the history of the world through Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Conception, Crucifixion and Consummation. After each lesson, all the children would line up to receive some juice, cookies, and a drawstring bag with the text of Matthew 28:19 (“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” ) printed across the back.
Many times we were offered meals or gifts after presenting. Once, we were treated to a two-liter bottle of Pepsi which we drank on top of a hill while conversing with the pastor and members before hiking back down. This may not sound like a grand gesture, but it represented a significant sacrifice for the people in that remote village. We, who had spent a good chunk of the morning getting there, understood and appreciated their gift.
Music pervaded our time in Nepal. Every place in which we taught welcomed us with an outpouring of enthusiastic song, usually accompanied by a hand drum. Even when we went to church in Kathmandu, much of the service was made up of singing.
Talking to the people we met in Nepal, we were surprised at how much we had in common. They had seen many of the same movies that we had, listened to much of the same music we do, and wore many of the same brands of clothing that we wear. It was also quite staggering to find how much more we did not have in common. Many homes were little more than huts of clay and mortar. Very few had cars, instead riding a bus or having a motorbike to commute.
With all these similarities and differences to consider, perhaps no connection was more evident than our shared faith in Christ Jesus. To come halfway around the world and find thousands of people teaching and preaching the same Jesus Christ and Him crucified that we also confess is nothing short of a miracle—one that only the Word could accomplish.
Inspiring, too, was the willingness and devotion of those who organized this Mission Helper Trip, and worked to make it successful. One cannot help but call to mind Jesus’ words to Martha in Luke 10:42, “but one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Drew Naumann is currently a senior in the Pre-Theology Department at Immanuel Lutheran College. He lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.