I first traveled to Nepal in September 2011 on my DTS outreach. I had never heard of this relatively small nation hidden between India and China amongst the tallest mountain range on earth. Our team spent an amazing 11 weeks traveling the Himalayas telling as many people as possible about the love of Jesus. We saw incredible moves of God as people were saved, healed, and delivered by real encounters with the Father. I watched as an entire village of over 100 people stood to their feet asking to receive salvation in Jesus! It was incredible and I remember thinking ‘this is what it really looks like for God’s kingdom to come to earth!’ For me one of the downsides to short term missions is that you get to experience these moments of encounter with people but then never get to see that individual again. It’s unsatisfying to a point because you only get to interact with one snapshot of their story and never see how the whole thing plays out as Jesus truly becomes Lord of their life. This year I was able to return to Nepal for the third time and by God’s grace learn some lessons about transformation as testimonies reaching back over the past few years kept popping into view. Here’s a few of those stories…
During our outreach in 2011 we met a young Nepali woman who had gotten pregnant out of wedlock and been left by the child’s father when he found out. She was suicidal and planning to abort the baby because she was so ashamed and hopeless. She had never heard about the love of God before and after hearing the Gospel she accepted an invitation to move into a children’s home run by Iris Ministries. While living there she made a choice to make Jesus the Lord of her life, got free of suicidal intentions, and decided to keep her unborn baby! When our time on outreach ended she was still coming to full freedom from these things and was quite reserved.
I was able to return to Nepal a year later on another DTS outreach and the first night we were there we went over to the Children’s Home for worship. That night a woman in the room caught my attention with her pure joy and passion in worship. I went and asked a friend who she was and they said it was the young woman from the previous fall! I hadn’t even recognized her because of the visible difference that had come over her demeanor from the work of God in her life! This progression has continued as I returned this year to find the young woman taking on more leadership in the Children’s Home and raising her amazing daughter to know and love the Lord.
In two and a half years she has moved from the brink of abortion and suicide to a place where she now has lifelong friends in the Iris Nepal family and 26 other amazing kids to raise her daughter alongside. What a transformation!
When I returned to Nepal on the DTS outreach in 2012 our team headed to the mountains within 48 hours of touching down in Kathmandu. We were traveling to a remote village in the northwest region of Humla to share Jesus with an unreached people group near the Tibetan border. After taking a 13 hour bus ride across the width of the country, we flew into a small airstrip inaccessible by any roads. 4 full days of trekking later we arrived in the village of Darma thanks to the guidance of a Nepali man named Tikka who was a believer and had asked us to help bring the Gospel to his village. During the next 7 days we shared the Gospel with every pocket of homes we could find scattered across the mountainside, praying for the sick, giving out Nepali Bibles, and inviting people to showings of The Jesus Film translated into their local dialect.
Many people were touched by the power and love of Jesus as time after time people who had been unable to see, hear, or walk for years had their bodies restored in a moment! Many in the village joyfully responded to this demonstration of Love by choosing to turn away from false idols and make Jesus the Lord of their life!
Again this was an amazing thing to be a part of but after only a week we left the mountains and returned to Kathmandu, never to see those people again. I’ve often prayed for their fellowship and the continued growth and discipleship of the Church in Darma without report. During the trip in 2012 our Nepali friend Tikka had asked us to pray for his son who had left home for India on bad terms with his family and not been in contact for several months. He was not a follower of Jesus and Tikka was concerned for his safety and desired reconciliation with him. We prayed often for him but had heard nothing during our outreach. Now fast forward again to this trip back to Nepal in 2014. I was out playing soccer with the kids from the Children’s Home one Saturday and was introduced to a young Nepali guy named Jon during the game. I thought nothing of it until later when my friend at Iris told me this was Tikka’s long-lost son!! He had returned home, been reconciled to his family, and given his life to Christ, totally turning everything around! I was able to minister with him during our time there and hear him passionately proclaim the Gospel to other Nepalis, telling them his testimony and why it was so much better to follow a God of love instead of the fear-based system of Hinduism. It was so fun to see his heart fully alive from the Gospel! What is most amazing is that as we speak, Jon is leading a team of believers back to the villages of Humla to stoke the fires of the congregation that has continued there and to fuel the transformation that is happening across his homeland! Such an incredible testimony of God’s faithfulness! As I have been reflecting on this outreach and the stories I’ve witnessed of real deal, long term life changes, I’ve been so stirred by the power of the Gospel to transform not only individuals lives, but a whole society. I’m more convinced than ever that communities which are submitted to the Word of God and the revelation of Jesus can truly command the blessing of heaven to see the most hopeless situations completely turned around.
When a critical mass of people within any given society give themselves fully to lives of God-fearing integrity and deep commitment to biblical wisdom and values, they become a force strong enough to turn the tides of a nation.
When people hold to the commands of God which are meant for our blessing and benefit and apply these truths to their lives, they can cause any community to flourish in it’s God-given destiny. This reality made me want to dream bigger in my own life of how I can help bring transformation to the world. The Church should be the most transformative community in any sphere! Let’s dream about the power of the Gospel to change a person’s life in the moment when they first encounter Jesus. But then lets also dream about God’s ability and desire to transform whole communities through the multiplication of these disciples of Jesus walking out biblical character in their society. I think that’s what all believers are called to. I think that’s how you change the tides of a nation.