First Mission Trip
A guest blog post by Jennifer Collins, participant in the 2017 Nepal Vision Trip.
I am in my mid-fifties, a Christian for 30 years, but I have never taken a mission trip. I always thought they were for other people. People with more time, more money or more faith than I had.
But the 2017 ARDF pilgrimage to Nepal changed all that. In 2015, my heart was broken for the people of Nepal after two devastating earthquakes struck their country. 9000 people perished and millions were homeless from the destruction. Can you imagine an entire city or an entire country losing everything they had? Tent cities were established for the people who lost their homes. Eight thousand schools were destroyed, and only about 200 have been rebuilt. Mental illness and depression have skyrocketed since the earthquakes. Aid was flown in from all over the world. Christian relief agencies were the first to heed the call. But the reconstruction effort has only just begun.
ARDF was one of the first to send out requests for assistance. Over $200,000 was collected and ARDF continues to work with the Deanery of Nepal, located in Singapore, to rebuild churches across the country. In 2016, ARDF sent a small team to see firsthand the damage and the rebuilding efforts. From this first small trip came the idea to offer a larger group trip for anyone within the ACNA to join the effort and see for themselves what God is doing in Nepal. For me this was an answer to my prayers to be able to somehow go and help these people who had lost so much. And I experienced so much more than I ever thought possible.
Christianity is spreading faster in Nepal than almost anywhere else in the world. This is no “cheap grace”, as many who confess their faith in Christ are ostracized from their families. But because of the reality of Christ, they cannot go back to traditional beliefs and practices. In a small riverbank community of 400 families, over 200 have converted to Christianity in the last few years, due to the vision of one pastor who has compassion for little children. He started a kindergarten. The church must have several services every week because it cannot hold all who to come to worship.
I experienced the oneness of Christ’s body in a small remote mountaintop village of displaced people whose entire village had been destroyed. They were relocated to a different area and were living in tents. As we worked together to package up and distribute bags of rice and blankets, I experienced firsthand what Paul said, “No Jew, no Greek, no slave, no free”. There were no Americans and Nepali, no rich and no poor, no high status or low status; we were all one in Jesus Christ.
I know that I am not unique. Whatever the Lord places your heart, go for it! Even if you don’t feel a particular call from the Lord, take a chance and allow yourself to fall deeper in love with Jesus and deeper in love with His people. Don’t worry about the time, God’s timing is perfect. Don’t worry about the money, who can repay the Lord? And don’t worry about your faith, you’ll get more! I encourage you to take advantage of the wonderful vision trips ARDF will be offering in the near future.
Jennifer Collins will help lead a second Vision Trip to Nepal in October 2018. More information here.