A Heart for the Nations
By Julie, Short-Term Missions Team, first published in Compass, Spring 2019
My husband and I have always had a deep burden for the nations and a longing to see labourers for the Kingdom next door to everywhere. One thing this burden has prompted us to do is to lead a number of short-term mission trips. In December 2018, we took a team to Nepal.
In leading these trips, we have two driving aims. First, to see our students challenged spiritually, develop in character, and grow their heart for the nations. The second is to encourage and serve local Christians who are already engaged in making disciples. As outsiders, sometimes we can help practically, but we also pray we can be a fresh influence for the growth of the gospel in their neighbourhood.
… to challenge … and grow … to encourage and serve …
On this particular trip, we definitely saw God working amongst our team. The refrain that seemed to be on repeat was, “God has our back”. Throughout what seemed like endless challenges and setbacks, God continued to make His presence known.
But why Nepal?
Nepal is an incredible country of extremes. Beautiful, humble, generous people contrast the corruption that has characterised the country’s leadership, resulting in widespread poverty. There are great, glorious mountains and heavily polluted cities. There is devout faith and yet a great need for the clarity and truth of the gospel.
The widespread poverty means that among other things, ministry resources are scant. In particular, even those with a heart for ministry lack the time to invest deeply as they carry the burden of providing for their extended family.
There is devout faith … yet a great need for the clarity and truth of the gospel.
However, one of the biggest aspects of the Nepali culture that breaks our heart and highlights the desperate need for the gospel is the widespread ambition to “get out of Nepal.” The secondary desire seems to be the opportunity to escape an often-corrupt boss, by owning your own business. These ambitions tell so much of the Nepali view of their own country and culture. In contrast, Jesus’ love and grace, as well as the dignity and freedom the gospel communicates, offers a great sense of healing and hope.
Jesus’ love and grace … offers a great sense of healing and hope.
During our trip, we had the pleasure of engaging with a local school by helping them run an English camp. We also had the privilege of sitting alongside many who are labouring for the Kingdom in Nepal. We saw first-hand as they sought to raise up generations of Nepali men and women after God’s own heart, who would go on to make disciples right where they are. What a privilege to hear their stories, to share ours, to pray together, and to encourage one another.
We did not go to Nepal with answers or solutions, but we did go as brothers and sisters, with the same vision for the Kingdom of God, with the same heart to see labourers for the Kingdom, next door to everywhere.