Our second day in Nepal began early with prayer and devotion and then breakfast with the 6 brothers from Nepal that we would be meeting with over the next couple of days. While the brothers from the Philippines and Pakistan initiated contact with CSC, these brothers were recommended to us from other sources. So these meetings with them are more about introducing the ministry to them and finding out if they have the heart for film ministry. Patrick has been in contact with them for several months and they have all indicated such a desire. But we are moving slowly to make sure that we have the Lord's confirmation on each one and not just blindly appointing teams for the sake of numbers.
The brothers we have met are all high-quality brothers. Some are pastors, others are evangelists. All have a heart for souls. One of the brothers is working in the refugee camp on the border of Bhutan and Nepal. His heart is to reach these refugees who have been displaced by the Bhutanese government. There are over 120,000 refugees who have been uprooted from their traditional homes. They live in the large refugee camps with nothing to do all day and are open to the gospel. There is a short window of opportunity because in the next year it appears that most of these will be relocated to the US, Canada, Australia and Switzerland. This brother senses the urgency and we are excited to have this opportunity.
As a side note, at breakfast time we saw the remnants of the towers that were built on the red chariots that had been a part of the Bhoto Jatra festival I wrote about yesterday. Originally I thought they were tall trees, but in reality they were bamboo towers covered with greenery. This morning we saw that they were dismantling the towers in preparation for storing the chariots until next year's festival. As we saw them taking down the symbols of their god I commented to Patrick, “Any god you have to build and later tear down is no god at all.” I was reminded of the passage from Jeremiah:
For the customs of the people are delusion;
Because it is wood cut from the forest,
The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
They decorate it with silver and with gold;
They fasten it with nails and with hammers
So that it will not totter.
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot walk!
Do not fear them,
For they can do no harm,
Nor can they do any good.
Jeremiah 10:3-5 NASB
After breakfast we headed back to the hotel for our first day of meetings. We opened with prayer and singing. I'm amazed that in every place we've visited the song “Lord I lift Your name on high” is known and sung with gusto. That song is not that old and yet it is well-known around the world. (In fact, in one of the places in the Philippines that we shopped they were playing it over the loudspeakers!)
After worshiping together Patrick began going through the PowerPoint presentation that introduces CSC, giving the history and the current status as well as how we feel the Lord is leading us to expand. We had ordered sandwiches for lunch so we could continue visiting and after lunch Patrick led the brothers through the CSC training manual. It is a comprehensive document that Patrick has put together based on the years of experience that CSC has in film evangelism. This will be a good resource for future reference. It also helps to communicate the seriousness that CSC has about film evangelism.
Brother Gajendra Tamang, the Awana missionary who has helped us so much, had invited us to his home for supper so after the day's meetings we rode with him to his house. We were very blessed to visit his office and warehouse where the Awana materials are stored. There are over 200 Awana clubs in Nepal, most of which are supported through the Awana Adopt-A-Club program. Christian Challenge has been involved in the Adopt-A-Club program for many years so it was exciting to see firsthand the impact this program has.
Bro. Tamang's wife and children welcomed us warmly into their home. We enjoyed a delicious supper of chicken and onions, fried potatoes, mangos and bananas. Everything was so tasty! After supper the pastor of the English service joined for a time of fellowship. We wrapped up the evening by praying for the Tamang family and the Awana ministry in Nepal. Bro. Tamang has an invitation to travel to Awana headquarters in Chicago for training in September and goes for his visa on Thursday. He has been denied once so we joined in fervent prayer that the US Embassy would grant this visa so he could receive the training and in turn train Awana workers in several countries in Asia.
Back at the hotel we met with the two brothers who had just arrived from Pakistan. It was a great pleasure to meet with them and share the CSC ministry. They shared some things about Pakistan that we did not know, including that President Musharif's government had provided more religious freedoms for minorities, which opened many doors for evangelism. They also told us that Americans were well regarded in Pakistan and hoped we would be able to visit them in their country. However, they did share that they felt the Lord had directed us in not coming right now because of the standoff at the mosque that has created significant problems in the days we would have been there. The Lord knows all things, including the future, and had directed our change in schedule. But we do look forward to one day visiting these brothers in their country, as the Lord provides.
We had a wonderful time visiting with them, sharing the PowerPoint presentation to catch them up to speed. At one point Patrick shared about the requirement that each CSC film team show films at least 10-12 times per month. One of the brothers asked if they were to share the films 12 days per month, what should they do the other 18 days?!?! What a great question! We explained that the number 12 was only a minimum. It represents 3 showings per week and that there is no restriction on how many showings they could have per month.
It was easy to see their heart for lost souls. They each had contacted Patrick some time back after searching for “film evangelism” on the Internet. One of the brothers had worked for some time with Campus Crusade for Christ's Jesus Film ministry, but CCC apparently is phasing out that portion of their ministry, at least in Pakistan. He has seen the power of film evangelism first-hand and wants to continue. The other brother was saved watching the Jesus film and now pastors a church in a remote area of Pakistan. He desires to use films to reach out all around his remote area, knowing how they will grow the body of Christ.
That concluded our second day in Nepal. Tomorrow will be a wrap-up day with the Nepalese brothers and some more intense training time with the Pakistani brothers. We'll also have a guest speaker in the morning, Rev. J. Thungjamo Lotha, who preached on missions Sunday morning at the Baptist church. He will share about some of the research his ministry is doing on the state of Christianity in Nepal, which will help CSC plan more effectively how to be a part of the Great Commission in Nepal. What an exciting time it is to be a part of God's family! Your prayers are being felt ... thank you!
P.S. I've uploaded some more pictures that you might enjoy to my Flickr account. I hope you enjoy them.