Enjoying Nepali hospitality
You don’t really know a person until you sit and eat a meal with them. And I would even venture to say you really don’t know a culture until you share a meal with the people.
Typical Nepali dish Dal Bhat
Recently on a trip to Kathmandu, Nepal in South Asia, I found myself sitting cross-legged on the floor of a tiny one-room home eating Dal Bhat, the native dish of white rice and lentil soup, with six local believers including two young people, our translator and two sisters.
Another American, Keith, and I were teamed together. Keith serves a volunteer with International Commission, which worked to coordinate this multi-day trip. After the meal, I pulled out my EvangeCube and asked Keith if we should teach these believers how to use this tool in their poor village on the edge of the city.
Keith launched into a short training session on presenting the gospel with this Rubik’s Cube like pictograph. While he demonstrated the cube, one of the sister’s faces lit up. She was very interested, focusing intensely, smiling and nodding her head.
After Keith finished, I gave the older sister my cube and asked, “Who do we need to share this message with in your village right now?”
The older sister got up and then took us around her neighborhood, telling people to come meet the Americans.
At a small concrete grocery store, I used the cube to share the beautiful story of the gospel with about a dozen men, women and children. A few people came and went. A crowd gathered, and a few people started asking questions.
Several people were displeased with our effort.
“You are teaching people to leave their religion,” one woman told us. “We do not need this in our village.”
Equipping a village pastor with one of their deepest needs, a Nepali audio New Testament
I turned on a Nepali audio Bible and let God’s Word do the talking.
The crowd grew to about 20. Even construction workers about 75 feet away stopped working and listened. I then shared some thoughts about the stories we heard from John chapters 3 and 4 about being born again and worshipping in spirit and truth.
What happened next was breathtaking. The elder sister pulled out the cube and began telling the gospel again. It was a beautiful thing to see her owning her faith, telling others about the love of Christ and evangelizing her own neighbors.
After the resulting chatter and discussion died down, we made an invitation. No one responded.
We did ask if they had prayer requests and some people did respond. We prayed for their requests and said goodbye, knowing gospel seeds had been planted and that a local believer was now empowered and equipped to better share her faith.
Please pray these seeds of faith grow. Pray for this woman who boldly professes the gospel in spite of family and cultural rejection.
Next, our guide took us to another one-room home. There, a man and his 19-year-old son heard about Jesus. As Keith presented, I prayed. Both of the men listened, but afterwards they looked at each other and asked what to do. The young man wanted to respond, but without his father he wouldn’t commit.
In their culture, the religious, cultural, economic, political and even family systems are tied together. When you invite someone to follow Christ, you essentially ask them to remove themselves from all that—much like removing a single thread from a sweater.
The next day was a turning point for our team. The local pastor and translator had planned a few visits, but God had planned something special.
The first visit was with a Hindu woman and a college-aged man. The pastor introduced us and indicated that the woman had been waiting for us to come, and that she was ready to accept Christ.
Keith led her in a beautiful prayer of dedication.
Afterwards I asked her how she felt.
“Very happy,” she said.
We shared some Scripture with her and prayed for her to grow strong in the Lord.
Pastor Saroj said he had been witnessing to her for eight years.
My Nepali brother, Pastor Timothy
This serves as a perfect example of some sowing and some harvesting. God had been working on her for quite some time. There also is inspiration for us to draw here. Don’t give up praying and witnessing for your lost loved ones.
Over the course of this mission, six teams witnessed to many people in and across the Kathmandu valley. In schools. In the mountains. In the slums.
There are many stories that could be told about the trip, yet the most important one is that we have nearly 200 new brothers and sisters in Christ who we will one day meet again in eternity and share another meal…the marriage supper of the Lamb.