Nepal 2018_Day 5_Tuesday
Morning Devotion and Farewell
Pei Ling Chay
Day 5 began at 4.30am for us. This was our last morning at Hope Orphanage and so we had decided that we would join the children at their morning devotions at 5am. Some of us had only gone to bed a few hours ago at 1am as we had to stay up to do an inventory check of the remaining medication so there were definitely some very tired eyes!
We walked across to another building in the dark and could hear that many people were already up and going about their day in the orphanage. The girls and the boys had their morning devotions separately and when we got to the classroom, the girls were already sat down and ready. I could see girls there who were as young as five! One of the older girls led the morning prayers and whilst we couldn’t understand the words being said, the passion and devotion in these young girls’ voices and body language was so evident, even at 5am. There was not a hint of sluggishness but instead such eagerness and fire to pray. Then there was a short message (delivered by Pastor Eileen today), followed by songs of praise. The girls sang a number of Nepali songs but then ended with ‘Give Thanks’, in English! My eyes lit up and I could see the same happening amongst the BLi and OMMA team! This song that I was so familiar with and had sung since I was probably around their age, was suddenly given much more weight and I viewed it in a different light. In particular, the lyrics at the end of the chorus:
“...Let the weak say I am strong, Let the poor say I am rich, because of what the Lord has done for us, give thanks...”
In our society today, these children really are the poor and the weak but in God’s Kingdom, they are the rich and the strong! They are these things because they have received His love. As the girls continued to sing with conviction, I was washed over anew again with that it meant to be a daughter of God; something that happened multiple times on this trip. I felt so blessed to also be a receiver of this love. How amazing and counter-cultural is our Father’s love! Whatever our outward circumstances may be and whatever our position in this world may be, these children really showed us that we can operate from a position of abundance because we have received the greatest gift and so we have everything we will ever need. It is no wonder that the Bible talks about children so much! How these children lived out their faith reminded me of this verse in 2 Corinthians:
‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ 2 Corinthians 4:16 -18
It is because of the Living Hope we have in Christ and in fixing our eyes on Him that we as believers are able to press on and still sing in the face of persecution and suffering. The power in the room as the children continued to sing was undeniable!
After the morning devotions finished, a few of the girls whom I had prayed for during across the two short days recognised me and ran up to me to give me a big good morning hug. I’m sure everyone on the team would agree with me that this place was just overflowing with love. Despite all the very real persecution that was happening in this place, the children are so full of love and they are so eager to pour it out to others. They are of course not without hurt and not without need of healing. Just the night before, during ministry time in the evening worship service with the children, we saw what must have only been a glimpse of the trauma they have experienced, come to surface. The tears of sorrow as they cried out and called upon God and the pain in their voices burdened my heart. I do not know the stories of each and every child and how they got to the orphanage and I can only imagine the feelings of abandonment and rejection that they must have felt at one point. These feelings that some of them may still have and still need to continue to work through. Despite being someone who grew up thousands of miles away and is fortunate to have both parents around, these feelings of rejection and the accompanying grief, although caused by different circumstances, are universal. Pre-trip, I had been worried about how I was going to relate to the Nepali people, but I quickly experienced the connection we as humans can have through this raw emotion if we are just willing to let our guard down, open our hearts and experience. Equally, love is universal; and it was in love that Jesus came to this Earth to not just save us but enable us to relate to Him.
As we were walking out to our coach, the children were running after us, wanting to say goodbye. The kids kept asking me to promise that I’d come back next year and my heart broke. I never realised my heart could break for a group of people I had just met, let alone a nation. We were not even half way through our Nepal mission trip and I wanted to promise that I would return, if not next year, then at some point, God willing.
As we reluctantly drove away from the orphanage, many of us with tears in our eyes, I felt a peaceful reassurance that whether or not I could physically come back in a year’s time, I could care for the people of Nepal by continuing to pray for them. If you have been following along our trip reflections on this blog, I encourage you to not just read along but pray along! The power of prayer was so tangibly evident on this trip! Praying for the Nepali people, be it at the local churches, at this orphanage or in the youth camps that were to come, was one of those life transformation moments for me that I will never forget. It was one of those times that I can only describe as when a lesson shifts from your head understanding it, to your heart knowing it and it being impressed upon your heart. It is not the words we say in our prayers that are important, but it is who we are praying to that is important. We are able to pray these bold prayers because of our identity as children of God and that alone is able to transcend cultural and language barriers.
‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.’ John 15:7-8
On the first day, after we heard and experienced what the orphanage is going through, I was reminded of 2 Timothy 3:12-13.
‘In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.’ 2 Timothy 3:12-13
But, thankfully, Paul didn’t stop his letter at verse 13. He continued with an encouragement to the young Timothy.
‘But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.’ 2 Timothy 3:14-15
And this is exactly what Pastor Lee, Missionary Cho and the children are doing now and they do it with such strong faith. Let us not stop praying for them. God bless Hope Orphanage.
Travel to the Youth Camps
Pei Ling Chay
We then began our 8-hour bumpy drive back to Kathmandu where the team would split into three to support the Christ’s Ambassador Youth Camp. Myself, Jonny, Yuk, Isabella, Sharon and Elliot were going to support the Panchkhal location of the camp and so we had a further 4-hour journey to go. In Kathmandu, we were able to pick up our team members’ lost luggage that was found whilst we were in Chitwan. Praise God that they were found and that we could get the donation items in time to still give to Pastor NP’s church and that our team members were able to get their belongings!
After picking up the luggage in Kathmandu and saying our goodbyes to the Kathmandu teams, the Panchkhal team drove an hour to Banepa to drop off these donations and also get some food and have a shower. We were advised to shower in Banepa as no-one in the team had been to this Panchkhal location, including Pastor NP and so we didn’t know what was going to be available there but Pastor NP had heard that it was not the most well-resourced of areas. The day before, I was given the option to swap and not go to Panchkhal because there was a worry that food hygiene standards were not the best there. I was offered this option as, given my episode of diarrhoea and vomiting earlier in the trip, there was an additional worry for me. I was definitely worried upon hearing this as I certainly did not fancy having any more episodes of D&V! However, after praying about this decision, I felt a very firm sense to still go to Panchkhal and so with that, I had decided to not swap.
Many, many hours of travelling later, we finally arrived in Panchkhal in the middle of the night! We were relieved to find that the accommodation that had been prepared for us was actually very well resourced, warm and clean. We praised God for His provision!
The local Pastor greeted us warmly along with Sanjiv, a young man who was from the family who owned the house that the Pastor was renting. We then had a meeting with the Pastor, the Youth Camp Director and also the translator. Though they were all friendly towards us, we as a team sensed that they were a little surprised at our age as they had probably been expecting more ‘mature’ or ‘experienced’ missionaries. They repeatedly asked us our age and the roles we held within our local churches back home, asking us what sort of experience we had and if any of us were pastors or at least full-time church workers…Nope! None of us in the team were either of those things! We explained that we all served regularly at our local churches in various roles, but their concern was evident in their faces.
‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.’ 1 Timothy 4:12
We held on to this verse as we went back to our preparations. We knew that God had brought us here for a reason and we knew that our age did not matter. Just as with all the other days of the trip so far, all we had to do was be willing vessels; conduits of God’s love, power and glory. The power was not from us, but if we were willing to be used, that power was going to flow through us to these people.
To not leave you in too much suspense (!), but to not reveal too much about the next day, I can say that thankfully, whatever anxieties the camp coordinators had about us were dispelled the very next day when they saw God move.
‘But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.’ 2 Corinthians 4:7
We are but these fragile jars of clay, but it is the TREASURE that lies within that is of value! How humbling that the Creator of the Universe would handpick us as temples to house this treasure. Powerful things can happen when we submit ourselves to be these willing vessels for God!