Reflections on Nepal
A place holds a different aesthetic when paired with a people.
As if Nepal’s geographic landscape didn’t already awe the world, it also houses a gorgeous treasury of people; so kind and generous. David and I really had no idea what to expect going into this trip to Nepal. We’d planned so many trips in the past, but this time it felt a little bit different than what we were used to. We were excited, nervous, and longingly expectant for the Lord to lead us.I don’t think any amount of research could prepare a person for Kathmandu. It is bustling, huge, and is one of the most polluted cities in the world. I’d be lying if I said the transition was effortless. One of my first mistakes was drinking bottled water without boiling it first.
Once I got past some of the initial shocks, I began to try to be more intentional with our local friends. Or maybe it was the other way around; I guess it would be more honest to say: as the friendships around me began to be strengthened, I didn’t think so much about all the craziness. Something about laughing together with someone makes the things you’ve been hung up on seem to be put into perspective.
Three things that are confronted incessantly when abroad. It doesn’t take long once you exit the plane, to realize that my American worldview is not average; it can really only survive in the west. Comfort, water, fast food, codes, systems, highways, cleanliness, individuality, more than two meals a day, a church on every corner, counseling, government aid for just about anything, more than one choice of canned beans, stop lights, credit, air conditioning, heat, carpet, homeless shelters…these things are not normal in the rest of the world. If they are not normal, why am I in the position to know what they are like?
While my heart grieved the circumstances of most of the locals I met, I was so amazed by their loving, and lighthearted nature. Many Christians I met had been completely cast off from their families for their belief. Their inheritance, well-being, and security was withheld because of their faith. I even met a man who was stoned, who had lived through multiple death threats, and who grew up separated from his family. Shockingly I had conversations with these very people where we laughed the whole time, their hearts being vibrantly alive, and filled with the Hope.
I met a guy who was about to sell his wedding ring to help a friend, not even his family, just a friend. I witnessed acts of generosity that puts my shriveled heart to shame. They don’t treat the needs of others as over the top, too much to ask, or a burden; the need of another is their own need. They give, not to receive, but because they understand need. They give from a true conviction of gratitude towards the Lord, and all they’ve received from His hand. They’ve known His mercy, and their lives reflect it so purely.
I learned so much on this trip, and was impacted in ways that I don’t know if I’ll ever have words for. The Lord’s leadership was so evident throughout the whole trip. There were tons of highs, and just as many lows. It’s difficult to describe the ways everything you do and experience effects and can change you when you’re gone. If I had to express just one thing that affected me deeply it would be that I was extremely touched and honored by the Nepali Christians I was able to meet, and their beautiful witness of His grace that sustains.