Thursday, July 24, 2014
In about 30 minutes we will be heading to Ataturk Interational airport here in Istanbul for our 11+ hour flight to Chicago.
It's been a fun couple of days in this facinating city of antiquity and an amazing couple of weeks of evangelism adventure in Nepal. And now I can't wait to get home to see my even more amazing wife and family who so willingly and sacrificially support these Mission Helper efforts to spread the Gospel.
Thank You Jesus for blessings far to great in number to list.
And...HAPPY BIRTHDAY Tom!!!
Today before we prepare for our final flight home I wanted to take this time to thank those who have organized the Mission Helper Program. After experiencing this I would recommend anyone that is considering this program to support it and participate in a future trip. While this trip has been physically and at times emotionally demanding it truly has been a blessing. Clearly progress is being made in Nepal and I pray this will continue through the work of the dedicate Christians of Nepal.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The Mission Helpers said our sad goodbyes to Raju and Rajan very early this morning and have arrived safely in Istanbul for our 1 1/2 day layover. We are staying at an inexpensive hostel that is just a couple blocks away from the Hagia Sophia and the Bosphorous Straights.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Twenty-three pastors gathered for a Pastoral training seminar in Kathmandu today (7/21/14). Praise the Lord for the privilege and opportunity to grow together in our understanding of God's word and to encourage each other in our faith and calling as pastors, teachers, and evangelists!
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Today, on our way back from the Nepal-Tibet border, we passed many beautiful sights. There were two things we saw, however, which weren't so awe-inspiring. We drove not far from the world's largest statue of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. Hindus had lined up down the steps in order to pray at the statue. As we arrived in the Kathmandu area, we drove around a large band of anti-Christian Hindu nationalists. Both of these sad sights acted as a strong reminder of the situation that Christians in Nepal find themselves in. On the surface, the situation seems dire and depressing.
During our mission trip in Nepal, I have also come to realize two things. And these two thoughts are much more encouraging, I think, than the depressing sights which I saw today.
The first thing to realize is this: The same God who has blessed the CLC and its work in America is blessing and will continue to bless the HCLCN and its work in Nepal. Think about all of the blessings that God has provided not only for you, but also for your local church and the CLC in general. In the past 50+ years, the Lord has continuously blessed and sustained our little church body. In the same ways, the Lord has blessed the HCLCN in the past 5+ years.
We often have a hard time looking past our own cares and concerns to others in our own community, much less around the world. The Lord, however, in His omniscience, knows the needs of all of His children. The same powerful right hand that has provided for, blessed, and sustained us in the CLC is, at the same time, providing for, blessing, and sustaining those in the HCLCN.
The second thing to realize is this: The church here in Nepal couldn't be in better, more dedicated hands. JB, Raju, Rajan, and the various others who have dedicated their lives to the church here in Nepal have been an inspiration to us all. They donate their time, their energy, their money, and at times their safety in the name of the Gospel. Few could claim to have sacrificed as much for their faith as these Brothers in Christ have.
It is an uphill battle for the Church here in Nepal, but the Church is in competent hands. First of all, it is in the almighty hands of the Creator and Savior of the whole world. No amount of political opposition could overcome God's perfect Will. Second of all, God has sent the willing and tireless hands of his servants to lead the church here in Nepal. Through these people's efforts with the Gospel, the Holy Spirit will plant faith in the thousands of elect here in Nepal.
We should all thank the Lord for so richly blessing our Brethren here in Nepal! The church is in good hands!
Tom here. Today we taught our last set of lessons for the trip. It's hard to believe that our trip is almost over! God is good.
We spent last night on the Nepali/Chinese (Tibet) border in the Himalayan foothills. It truly is beautiful country. We were able to deliver the means of grace through the Word to over 100 Nepali/Tibetan children, most of whom were practicing Hindus. God is good.
As we prepare to depart this country on Tuesday my thoughts drift to the great amount of work which the Holy Spirit has yet to do here. The third person of the Trinity must be a certified workaholic. There are so many blood bought souls here thirsting for the living water of forgiveness which He gets to pour into their hearts. To be blessed to be one of His vessels is humbling beyond explanation. God is good.
Heading home is so bittersweet. I will miss all my Nepali brothers and sisters with all my heart, but that will make our reunion on the last day all the more sweeter. God is good.
Please continue to keep us all in your prayers. Rejoice with the angels in the fruit of our labor:
Luke 15:10 "I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
God is good.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Thursday, July 17, 2014
We just finished the last hike of the trip. The views can't be described or adequately captured by a camera, but that's only an added bonus during our time here. It's a great blessing to share in faith and worship and fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters here while also sharing the good news of salvation to children who, may have never heard of their Savior.
I'm sorry this was so short and quick, but we're leaving from dinner for our 3 hour transport back to Kathmandu.
I hope this blog finds that everyone is doing well! Here in Nepal I am unceasingly amazed.
The glory of God which always shines seems even brighter being constantly surrounded by his saving word and by my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We have been filled with continuous encouragement from the mission helper devotions at night, the singing of hymns, and the music from the children. Studying the word of God while here is so necessary as I am reminded of how unworthy and blessed I am to be here enjoying God's creation and sharing his gospel.
So far we have seen and done so many things worth blogging but I just want to hit on a couple.
Thus far the teaching teams have been rearranged many times because of varying circumstances. For me this meant an extra challenge, starting with a 6 hour hike up to a village on a "hill". I cannot take the credit alone for making it up to Hattibang as it was the hardest hike I have ever done or could imagine doing. My second wind came from God's desire for his gospel to be preached and the motivation this gave me! Many rewards came as a result! Imagine being in a cloud in the edge of a cliff, walking past waterfalls in the rain, through cornfields and arriving in a village full of fellow Christian children and adults, now that's a cool feeling.
We shared our gospel message in this village and shared in fellowship with the villagers. This brings me to the second thing that has really impacted me: trust. The quick relationships that can be formed with these people that we can not communicate with is such a neat thing to be a part of. There is a commonality between them and us no matter how different we are, namely the grace of God we have been blessed with. Because of this I feel comfortable around people I have never met, I even got to sleep in the Pastor's home with 4 other women and some children and feel totally at ease not to mention it was so fun....what a blessing for our christian family!
If you can believe it this only covers about half a day, but this is getting lengthy!
Thanks for all of the prayers and continue to pray for Nepal that the gospel will spread throughout!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the your God will be with you wherever you go.
I'm very happy because today my dad and I got out of the hospital. We both were admitted and stayed there two nights. That diarrhea and dehydration really gets to a person. We are feeling much better though and hope to be able to participate in the rest of the activities for our time here. Bishal came to the hospital and stayed with us. He took very good care of us both and helped things run smoothly with language barriers. Almost all the staff that I met spoke English very well though. I just sat in bed and watched tv all day yesterday. The only thing that bothered me was the fact that there was a needle in my hand for two and a half days. It wasn't horrible, just a little uncomfortable. I got I don't know how many bottles of fluids pumped into me! Also I had my first ultrasound (to look for any infection or parasite, etc) ever today and got some pictures to bring home. Now we are back in the Norwegian house and it's starting to feel like home here a little bit.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
This is my first blog post. I'm not sure what everyone has been blogging about so far, but I will try to not repeat everyone else.
I was fortunate to be in the group to do the longest hikes so far. We had a 6 hour hike one day and a 5 hour hike two days later. I guess I didn't train for these hikes like I should have, but I don't know how one could possibly prepare fully enough. The hikes are straight uphill for hours, full of switchbacks, cliffs and rivers. The going is tough, the feet become blistered, the legs get tired, but it is all worth it. When you find yourself taking a break halfway up a hill, you just have to marvel at God's creation. The sights in Nepal are unlike any we have in the States. I try to take pictures, but they just can't do justice to the view.
The views are not what makes these hikes worth it however. The ability to spread the Gospel to the people in these villages is the great blessing that God has given us on this trip. Not only children, but adults also crowd into the church buildings. Not only Christians, but many villagers who have not been exposed to the Gospel sit in to listen. The opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ to these people is a great blessing.
When we leave a village, I sometimes wonder if the Holy Spirit converted anyone, or if anyone learned anything, or if we failed in our mission. It's in these times that I think about the promise that God made to us in Isaiah 55: "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."
This is a promise from God, so we can be assured that the Gospel we preach will work for the purpose God intends. It is a comfort to know this. On the hikes, I often feel inadequate to be spreading this message. I can get a bit ornery when I'm sore and tired, sometimes we bicker, we all do lots of things to remind us how sinful we are.
But God promises to use the Gospel when we teach. The quality of our lessons does not matter. Our gestures or visual aides do not matter. The smoothness of our speech does not matter. But the message which we preach does matter. That Jesus Christ died to save these people is what matters. It is comforting to know that despite all of our insufficiencies, God will bless these people through the Gospel.
Please pray that the Lord would send His Spirit to these people, to create, sustain, and strengthen faith among them. Please also pray for all the mission helpers, as we have had some sickness and blisters. Also please thank the Lord that he has so greatly blessed us on our trip so far, and pray that he will continue to bless us.
Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers and for following our blog.
Greetings from Rasuwaa in northern Nepal!
Tom here. We are sitting in a local restaurant ordering our dinner for the evening. The Brothers Bhitrakoti (Raju and Rajon) are taking our order as no one else in the place can understand a word we say. We arrived in the town at around 7pm after a beautiful 3-5ish hour drive on the pleasantly porous Nepali highway. Lord willing, tomorrow we will split into three groups of three and venture into three different treks to preach in three different churches. The harvest truly is plentiful!
The hikes have been undescribable! The beauty and scenery has eclipsed my wildest expectations. The pastors are faithful and eager to have us. The people are excited to see us and receive the means of grace which we are blessed to bring to them.
The Brothers Bhitrakoti are truly warriors of the gospel. The dedication and effort which they put into planning and executing our mission trip is truly unparalleled. They have been faithfully leading us around the country since we've arrived and never let us out of their sight. They are our guides, our bodyguards, and our friends. They are an incredible blessing to the CLC and the gospel.
I'm keeping this one short. I hope to see you all soon! Thank you for the prayers! Keep 'em coming!
All things are in His hands and in His control.
Psalm 94:18 "When I said my foot is slipping; your love O Lord supported me."
Father, support us!
God is good.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Saturday, July 12, 2014
|Precious in His Sight|
It's hard to hike when I want to look up at all the scenery. Nepal has to be the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I love just sitting chatting with the other girls about what we've done and how we have interacted with the kids during the day. I had been trying to befriend one little girl in particular, only about 3 or 4 years old, but was very shy and burst into tears when i gave her a customary greeting with my palms together in front of me smiling and saying, "Jaye Meshi." Apparently she was not impressed with my poor Nepali foreign tongue. However, later that day after the lesson I was heading out the door. She ran up behind me and took my hand. She wouldn't let go all the way up the hill until another little girl grabbed her other hand to help her get food.
|He's Got the Whole World in His Hands|
I just can't help but smile everywhere we go, there is so much wonder in everything God has made and done for His creation. I can't help but smile at people from our bus window, walking by people on the trails, or just seeing anyone. Our God is so great, so strong and so mighty there is nothing our God cannot do! :)
In His Great Love,
Our first day was spent resting from the travel, seeing Kathmandu, and meeting Raju and Rajan's family. They've taken such great care of us -- making sure we have enough food, supplies, and rest. We met up with their family in the afternoon at their home which also serves as the orphanage for 10 school-aged children. Soon after we arrived, Raju gave us a lesson on the how to eat a mango without peeling or cutting it up! Impressive! It actually wasn't that difficult...it involved biting off the top end of the mango and sucking out the juice and flesh. Yummm! I love mangoes -- so sweet and juicy! The family then served us a delicious (and colorful) meal of chicken, rice, beans, spicy vegetables, and "fish sauce," and treated us with ice cream afterward -- my favorite food! It was made from buffalo milk, but it was so creamy and sweet, I never would have guessed. :) I really enjoyed visiting with their parents during lunch and learning new Nepalese phrases from them. They have such kind and generous hearts -- it was truly an honor to spend time with them.
From their home we all hopped back in the "tour van" (it fits all 12 of us, plus Raju, Rajan, and our driver), and made the brief jaunt over to the church. It's a nice building with stone (cement?) walls, glass-panes in the windows, and a roof. (These things aren't always the norm in our overseas churches....) Inside we sat on the floor the traditional way that the Nepalis sit during church -- ladies on one side, gentlemen on the other -- and Raju and his father told us about how their worship style is different from US services (lots of clapping, music, guitars), what their village congregations are like, and what is happening in the Nepali government and society these days and how it affects the church. Please pray for the government leaders in Nepal, and specifically for wisdom as they create the country's constitution--that they would *not* make Hinduism the national religion. This could hinder the efforts that are being done to spread the Gospel in Nepal.
At the end of the day, we organized and divided the crafts and gifts that we will be giving to the children at the evangelism presentations. We are hoping to reach about 1500 children! That's a whole lot of cross necklaces, "Jesus is King" crowns, crayons, and lollipops (4 full suitcases)! We're all *very* tired after the full day, and are looking forward to a good night's sleep so we have energy for our hike tomorrow. Our first child evangelism will be Thursday morning in a village northwest (I think) of Kathmandu. (That's Wednesday evening back in the US.)
Thank you for all your support and prayers!
Here are a couple specific prayer requests, if you're interested:
- for the Nepal government leaders (mentioned above)
- for good health and safety for the mission helpers
- for energy and endurance for the hikes, particularly for the group going on the long hike to the west on Thursday
- that the gospel would be heard and well-received by many, many people during our trip
Friday, July 11, 2014
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Just a quick post to let everyone know that we made it safely to Nepal.
Everyone is tired but fighting to stay awake until tonight. The watch tells us that it is 12:45 pm but our body clocks know that it is really 2:00 in the morning.
Today we make our plans, organize our lessons and gifts for the 1500 children we plan to teach, meet our hosts, and rest up for a very busy few weeks.
Tomorrow we leave early for a 4 hour van ride followed by a few hours of trekking to the villages where we teach for the first time on Wednesday evening.
Monday, July 7, 2014
Friday, July 4, 2014
- Neal Wietgrefe
- Erica Wietgrefe
- Tom Naumann
- Lucas Brown
- Rob Sauers
- Kate Sauers
- Raven Haight
- Alyssa Krause
- Sam Rodebaugh
- Ashley Elliott
- Michaela Naumann
- Todd Ohlmann
The pastors of the Himalayan Church of the Lutheran Confession of Nepal will also meet with Pastor Ohlmann and ILC Seminary senior Rob Sauers for a Pastoral Training Seminar on the last couple of days that the Mission Helpers are in Kathmandu.
|Children from the Rasuwa area where the Mission Helpers Will Teach|
Mt. Lang Tang in the distance