My time in Nepal has been profound for many different reasons, and here are just a few:
Profoundly privileged to spend time with the staff at United Mission to Nepal (UMN). It is one thing to read about our own overseas mission personnel, Peter and Valerie Lockwood, who work with UMN, in our prayer bulletins - it is another to spend time with them and follow them in their activities.
To travel with Peter to remote far-flung villages, communities and contexts, along unbelievably challenging roads and to witness first-hand his engineering skills in the reconstruction of houses and schools (especially work supported by PCI contributions to the Moderator's 2015 earthquake appeal) was inspiring. To witness Valerie run her loving home, bringing up three great kids in a chaotic city, offering hospitality to visitors and women for Bible study, and help in Human Resources at UMN was just as inspiring to see.
Again, it's one thing to read about Stephen and Laura Coulter, our overseas mission personnel in Nepal in our prayer diaries as well. It's quite another to see Stephen expertly in action mentoring people, trained up in counselling and ministering in mental health - often far away from home. To witness Laura engaged in the slow and difficult task of mediation, peace groups and self-help organisations - an inspiration and challenge to younger believers and church members alike is powerful.
Profoundly humbled to meet indigenous believers. To spend time with pastors, women workers and youth leaders sold out in the love of Christ Jesus, passionate about sharing their faith and reaching out even to those who have persecuted them. To preach at both Aashish Presbyterian Church and Kathmandu International Christian Church. To lead a school assembly at Kathmandu International Study Centre and enjoy the company of vibrant young students at the Nepal Theological Academy, eager to learn from the Bible, teaching them from the book of Revelation at 8 am for two hours before they head on to work.
Profoundly respectful to be introduced to local leaders of nine world religions at a peace conference: Hindu, Islam, Mantabbe, Jain, Baha'i, Sikh, Buddhist and Kirat, all communicating with one another following deadly civil unrest and to meet unexpectedly, and providentially, a Jewish layman. These are strange and rare moments.
Profoundly moved to see mountains and nature. Majestic peaks, the Annapurna range and snow-topped hills. Steep valleys, rushing rivers, paddy fields, colourful flowers, parrots with beautiful yellow and green plumage and a swooping eagle. Amazing creation.
Profoundly touched to see fantastic work in ordinary communities. UMN's solid dedication, generously supported from our United Appeal. Co-operatives giving women independence and dignity, organic farms in a dusty environment producing healthy vegetables for the benefit of ordinary people - then there's the United Mission Hospital in Tansen, serving and healing in Jesus name.
How profoundly appreciative we have been for PCI prayers throughout our visit. Prayers for safety, prayers for health and prayers for guidance. Thankyou! Our God is a God of Global Concern.
If I can summarise this incredible visit simply in numbers:
10 days in this amazing country
9 PCI personnel, adults and children
8 beds we slept in and flights
7 departments visited in Tansen Hospital
6 UMN relief projects seen
5 opportunities to preach
4 basic foods: rice, daal, spinach and curried veg
3 partners: Tear Fund, Christian Aid & UMN
2 conferences attended
1 Lord Jesus over the nations!
Dr. Sellar with the hospital chaplain at the United Mission Hospital in Tansen