Mission: Nepal 2009
Trip Report: Getting busy for God
By Kyle Austin
Editor's Note: Kyle Austin, who served for two years in Nepal and was a member of Mission: Nepal 2008, was originally set to assist Climbing For Christ president Gary Fallesen on this trip. But an emergency mission to Haiti called Gary away from Mission: Nepal 2009. Because of his experience in Nepal, Kyle was sent to represent this ministry. Here is the story of his experience.
My trip to Nepal was not at all what I had expected — or even what I hoped for. It required faith for me to jump on a plane to Nepal for three weeks, with only loose plans of what I would be doing when I got there. So I believed that God would provide ministry upon my arrival.
I’ve done this before, and in the past God has been quick to show me His will and get me busy. This time, however, it took me nearly a week before I was able to have the meetings that put the final nails in the coffin of my hopes of doing a trek with two other Climbing For Christ members to look for neglected disabled people in the Mustang.
But God was with me during this week. I had been under the impression that I was going to spend the majority of my time in the Himalayas. That was our plan. But God had other plans. I wasted no time in meeting friends and contacts from when I served in Kathmandu as a missionary for two years. I had several wonderful, encouraging evenings with missionaries I had served with before. I also looked up a Nepali man named Bhakta with whom I’d spent a great deal of time. He and I had gone through some discipleship material when I lived there. He also brought me to a prison to meet his friend, a man who I managed to visit on this trip as well. He had hoped to be released by now, but he is down to less than a year remaining in his original sentence. He met Jesus in prison, and is now preparing to serve Him through full-time ministry upon his release. I also spent a lot of time with the Savior Alone Saves Asians (SARA) church and children from the SARA children’s home.
So, when I discovered that I would not be trekking in the Himalayas a week into my time in Nepal, I had no regrets about how I had spent my time. However, I also had exhausted most of the ministry opportunities available to me in Kathmandu. I discussed this with Pastor Tej, the head pastor of SARA church, and asked if he had any ministries I could help him with. He was doing a wedding the following day, and asked me to be the photographer. He said that after the wedding we would make plans for the rest of my time in Nepal.
A bride and groom in Kathmandu, photographed by Kyle Austin.
I ended up doing some work with the children’s home, and playing a lot with the children. It's funny that, after being away and almost completely out of contact with these kids, they never forgot me and were as thrilled to spend time with me as before. It was really special to be with them.
My pastor also set up an opportunity for me to join a recent Bible school graduate of SARA church and travel to a village church about a half-day bus ride out of Kathmandu. I was excited to travel to this daughter church because I had been asked to go there when I used to live in Nepal, but I never had the chance to go. Also, the communists had come in during the service the previous week and thrown over the pulpit. So I wanted to see what was going on as far as persecution in this town.
Rajan at the church at Dapcha.
Rajan (my partner from SARA church) and I were very warmly welcomed by the believers in this village, and it turned out that in general the Christians are not mistreated at all. We ended up staying for several days, teaching Bible studies for believers. We also had the opportunity to team up with some believers from a different city who were there on a one-week trip to do an evangelical school program at the public school. I led some of the children in re-enacting the Good Samaritan story. The other school in the area had said that we would not be able to talk about Jesus. But the next day we were allowed to share what Jesus had done in our lives with a bunch of schoolboys who were skipping school.
This village church has an average of 60 people at a given service, and the little building that they are renting now is about the size of an average kitchen in the United States. I asked the pastor what their plans were, and it turned out they have the money to buy some land that would be ideal. They simply need the funds to build a church. This seemed very promising to me, as Climbing For Christ has helped other small bodies of believers build mountain churches in the past.
After this trip, I went with two young guys who had served for six months or so in Youth With a Mission India to the area of Pokara. Our plan was to spend two days doing evangelism outside of Pokara, so that I could get back in time to share a few words at my church in Kathmandu before returning to the States. However, when we got there we decided to see some of the local sites and ministries on the first day and then head out of town to a tiny church and do a service. It ended up raining all afternoon on the first day, but I was still able to visit a Christian leprosy hospital and a youth ministry center.
The next day proved great, however, when we rode motorcycles for more than an hour along the river that feeds Pokara’s lake. We had to wade across the river to get to the town because it was too deep for the bikes. The fellowship in that town consisted of the pastor who brought us, a local elderly man, several women, and a lot of children. My two comrades shared their testimonies and I told the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, having the kids act it out. At the end of the service, a lady prayed to accept Christ and we all prayed with her.
Kyle sharing the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego outside Pokara.
When I returned to Kathmandu there wasn't much time before I had to return to the U.S. I shared with SARA church about our prayers for them and the fact that they hold a special place in my heart. I also spent a night at the orphanage before I left. The morning of my departure, I joined the children for devotions and encouraged them to be strong and keep running the race. I have been so blessed to see 24 kids mature in their walk and continue to follow Christ, even as they head into high school and all the pressures that go along with that.
God showed me again that He would prepare work for me as long as I lay my time in His hands. None of the ministries I was part of would have been possible if I had done the trek I had set out to do.
Read Kyle Austin's “A View” about serving in Nepal in The Climbing Way (Volume 14, Summer 2009).
Posted June 12, 2009