Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Finishing Up in Nepal...On to Bangladesh

Good Morning from Kathmandu...

Joel and I arrived back in Kathmandu last night (Wednesday, Feb. 27) after spending the past several days traveling, visiting, and teaching in a far west district of the Himalayan Church of the Lutheran Confession of Nepal. We've got relatively good WiFi access in our hotel and a few hours before we leave for the airport to catch our 1:00 pm flight from Kathmandu to Dhaka, Bangladesh, so I thought I would try to get a few thoughts and pictures on the blog before we head out.

We spent more hours riding in the car over winding, bumpy, under-construction, washed-out, road than I care to calculate. Raju did all the driving and his father joined us. They make this trip every few months for pastoral training classes with ten men who are serving congregations in the surrounding hills. These men have been in contact with the HCLCN for a few years but just started formal classes about a year ago with a grant from the CLC-Mission Development Fund. They will study for another couple of years until they are formally received into fellowship. This district happens to be one of the areas of Nepal that has received a lot of Christian persecution so we kept a pretty low profile while we were there. For this reason, I am purposefully leaving out the names of the towns and pastors for their protection.

On our way to the West, we also spent a day with students and pastors in the Chitwan district. This area of Nepal is where the majority of the HCLCN congregations are located. We conducted pastoral training on Thursday and all the pastors traveled back to their congregations up in the Himalayan foothills on Friday so they would be home for worship services on Saturday (the only weekend day in Nepal). So, we had Friday as a down day to catch our breath and do a little sight-seeing. There is a big national park in the Chitwan District where lots of tourists come to visit. So we had a good time riding elephants for about an hour and a half. We were fortunate to see a pair of Rhinos, which is a rare. We also got some good coffee, good food, good rest, and got to see elephants walking by our hotel throughout the day.

After some necessary car repairs, we began our trip from Chitwan to the west. The trip took us two days as we routed through Lumbini to pick up Raju's father from the airport so he could join us for the classes out west. Lumbini happens to be the birthplace of the Siddhartha, the son of the ruling king at the time, who forsook his wealth and royal status and eventually became the Buddha of Buddhism. As you can imagine, this has become a "holy" pilgrimage site for millions of Buddhists and Hindus alike. It's always hard to witness such open and blatant idol worship. It breaks my heart to see so many people bowing down and giving devotion to idols of wood and stone and at the same time rejecting the love, forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life that our Savior Jesus won for us on the cross. But witnessing all of this also drives home the importance of the work our Savior has given us to do as He sends us into all the world to make disciples of all nations by baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as we teach them to observe all things that He has commanded us with the promise that He is with us always, even to the end of the age! (Matthew 28:18-20)

I know that I repeat these thoughts often in this blog, but I can't seem to find the describe the appreciation I have for the joy of the Lord and the privilege I He has given to be able to spend this time working alongside these faithful Christians. Their dedication to our Savior, His Kingdom, and the work of proclaiming the truth of His saving word is overwhelming. They do it with joy, commitment, dedication, selflessness, and an obvious love for the Lord, His Word, and the souls for whom our Savior died. I only wish that I had more time to spend!

Later today we will be met by Pastor Monotosh Banjaree who leads the Bangladesh Lutheran Church Mission. We will spend the next few days visiting a few congregations and schools. We will also spend a day with the other leaders of this Confessional Lutheran Church body to discuss our doctrinal positions as we take this first and important step toward establishing a God-pleasing fellowship based upon unity of doctrine. It's exciting and a bit overwhelming and humbling all at the same time to be involved with this kind of Kingdom work. Your prayers are much appreciated!

Also, please join me in giving thanks for my incredible wife who loves the Lord, our family, and (incredibly enough) me. Thank our Savior for because she is so supportive of me and this work that the Lord has called me to as she so willingly keeps up with all the necessities of family life back home.

Here's a few pictures from the past several days...
HCLC-Nepal Pastors and Students in the Chitwan District
Himalayan Church of the Lutheran Confession of Nepal Pastors and Students in the Chitwan District

Rare Rhino sighting in the Chitwan National Forest

Our Hoti (elephant) and Mahout (driver) for a 1 1/2 hour ride through the Chitwan Jungle

Birthplace of Siddhartha (the Buddha) in Lumbini, Nepal

Pastor/Students in the far west district of the HCLC-Nepal

Pastor/Students in the far west district of the HCLC-Nepal

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