A story from Julie Part 1

It is hard to know how to even begin to describe all of this to you. Words cannot explain the overwhelming emotion that hit me as I watched Michael speak to those 40 church-planters on the other side of the world. I see pictures in magazines, read stories in books and watch videos and photos on websites of this kind of mission work, but to actually witness it in person was rather surreal. I don’t mind saying I was one proud wife to watch my husband encouraging and equipping these men who are taking the Gospel all over their pagan country! I really had to work to hold back the tears of joy in front of all those people!

Let me back up to the beginning of the day, though. For me it began with my quiet time with the Lord at 5 am, then I began to get ready at 6 am…and quickly discovered I could NOT bring myself to take a freezing cold shower (hot water is a luxury in Nepal). Oh well–day 3 of not washing my hair.

We got dressed and had breakfast at a great little internet cafe called Higher Grounds (begun by American missionaries several years ago, and mostly frequented by ex-patriots). We all had delicious American-style breakfasts (waffles, pancakes, eggs and sausage, etc.)…with coffee! That was funny because Gil, Michael and I had weaned ourselves off of coffee the week before we left since we didn’t think we would have many opportunities to drink it in Nepal. Wouldn’t you know we ended up having it every single day. God has a great sense of humor! We also found out how easy it is to call people on the internet and actually spoke with family that morning. What a small, globally-connected world we live in these days!

Lazarus met us that morning for breakfast so that Michael could ask him some questions to get a better feel for where these pastors are in their level of education and knowledge of the Scriptures, and what they most needed to hear (hoping, of course, that the five sessions he had already prepared would be appropriate…and of course they were). Is was so great to meet Lazarus after all these months of preparing to partner with him on our trip. What a ministry and testimony he has! I can hardly wait to share with you how his grandfather came to faith as one of the very first Christians in Nepal, and subsequently how Lazarus ended up in the ministry after trying so hard to avoid it.

After breakfast we headed to the Church-Planter’s Conference. It was on the top floor of a four-story building where Lazarus’ church meets for worship, study and fellowship. The building is owned by Christians…and it was very different to walk up so many flights of stairs with no railing and no WALL on the inside of the stairs. These were very rough, hand-laid concrete stairs, and I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw children running up and down them later on. I would have panicked that my kids might fall from one flight to the other, but these children are obviously very used to these kinds of stairs. The rest of the building was occupied by some Christian businesses and a few family residences. Very different from what we’re used to in America. We could have literally walked right into one of these residences, everyone is so open and trusting. The reason for this, though, is that there is very little crime here–which is pretty amazing for a city that reminded me a lot of New York City with its hustle and bustle.

Shortly after we arrived, the pastors began coming in and finding their seats. I was getting so excited! All we had been looking forward to was about to begin! The conference had actually begun the day before, while we were still traveling.

Lazarus and Joel Vestal had been their speakers that day, but now it was pretty much all Michael from here on out. Lazarus welcomed us and brought Michael up to introduce our team.

(By the way, Om Maya and Asha stayed with some family the previous night since little Asha was so sick, so they were not around for the beginning of the day). Michael had each of us come forward and share a few words of greeting and explain what each of us do in our church back home. As in many countries, the people of Nepal take off their shoes when entering someone’s home. Well, here we kept them on in the building; but we were to remove them before stepping up to the altar area to speak. I got some fun photos of Michael up there in his socks. 🙂

Here is the video clip of Michael first speaking to the church-planters. Greetings from America

That was so amazing to witness! I want to share with you also the introduction to one of Michael’s sessions. As I wrote in my journal, I felt like I was watching Paul in action. To see Michael teaching these pastors, many of whom were fairly new converts within the past few years, was absolutely amazing to me. Knowing that these men would then take what they learned and the encouragement they received to go shepherd their flocks and plant new churches throughout this Hindu-dominated country was an overwhelming thought to me.

Michael teaching the church-planters — theme: 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (please forgive me…I’m not much of a videographer!)

Then we had a delicious (“mito” in Nepali) lunch with Lazarus. The pastors went

up on the roof to eat together while we went into a special room with Lazarus and the meal served for us as the guests of honor. We later went up on the roof to see what was up there, and it was fun to look out over the city from up high. We watched as women cooked and washed laundry top of their roofs, observed the traffic and people–and animals–moving about the streets, and got a great aerial view of Kathmandu.

Oh…and during lunch-break, Sasha and I also got our introduction to our first true Nepali toilet. Here goes the adventure!

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