When I was approached to go on a trip to Nepal with VOM, I was exceedingly glad. As the countdown to the trip begins, the adrenaline has kicked in so much that I find it difficult to stop making mental checklists and go to sleep.
I have been studying Ephesians, and as I prayed about this trip, I was drawn to Ephesians 3. In verse 6, Paul writes about Gentiles being “fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (v. 6). It is hard to put into words my expectations for this trip as I have never been to Nepal.
Though I have written stories about pastors who experienced beatings so severe they nearly died, it is hard to fathom living in a country where such things happen. It is difficult to imagine visiting a country where Hindu temples vastly outnumber church buildings. Everywhere I have lived has usually had at least one church building within walking distance. While I have been on trips outside the U.S., it has never been to an area where Christians risk their lives and livelihoods for practicing their faith.
My previous trips have almost all been through a Christian organization that ministers to children through the local church. Members who join the trip are from all over the United States and few know one another. For a short time, we put our faith into action and try to be ministers of God’s love to those we meet. In Mexico, I spent time playing with kids by running as fast as I could with a group of girls. The girls led me to a basketball court where my lack of athletic ability was stunning. In Kenya, after playing with a darling baby, her mother and I prayed together, and she emphatically stated that she and I were partners in faith. It was humbling. I have often found that no matter how much I try to give of myself, I always receive more than I could ever ask for.
I hope and expect that Nepal will be much the same way. On my desk, I have a sticky note that reads “camaraderie.” Now, this word has new meaning as I realize that unlike previous trips, I will be traveling with coworkers and meeting VOM workers based in Nepal. While I have developed friendships with those on my trips in the past, it is exciting to go with people that I will continue to serve with. It is exciting to meet believers in Nepal and realize that it is not “us” and “them,” but that we are partners and “fellow heirs.”
I don’t know what to think or what to expect. I know I will attend a pastor’s conference. I have also been told that we will likely get to distribute care packages to children who have been waiting patiently. As I pray again for the trip, I consider Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
“Ann Kay” is a writer for VOM. She learned about VOM five years ago when she read Tortured for Christ and began receiving the newsletter. She is passionate about reaching the world for Christ and sharing stories of the persecuted church.
Photo credit: Todd Nettleton; copyright by The Voice of the Martyrs.