There were three women in the room. Two older women with another younger one sitting on the middle cot. One of the older women was the mother of the younger, a daughter who appeared to be in her late 20’s. … Continue reading
I have had many conversations over the past few weeks and there has been one recurring question in some of them.
“Why didn’t you stay and help?”. As innocent as that question is, at the time for me, it was accompanied with feelings of guilt that I didn’t stay in Nepal.
I had asked myself that question, several times, in the days and hours following the initial earthquake on April 25th. I wondered, in my heart, if that’s why the LORD had allowed me to be there during the quake. There were many questions that were swirling around in my head as I also just tried to cope with the constant aftershocks and tremors that continued long after the largest quake hit. (At the writing of this post, 6 weeks later, Nepal is still experiencing daily aftershocks, with some measuring up to 5.8 on the Richter scale)
Was I supposed to stay and encourage and help and be a support to the people?
How can I help? What about my family back at home? I am a wife and a mother.
As a follower of Jesus, shouldn’t I stay to support the work of my fellow Christians? Is this my decision or God’s decision? How would I answer if God asked me to stay?
To be completely honest, I didn’t want to stay. I wanted to leave. I think it was part shock, part responsibility for my team, and part “I’ve had enough”.
We had tickets booked and all the arrangements for this trip had been bathed in prayer. I trusted that God was “on top” of everything. Yet my heart was waffling. There was so much chaos and confusion and I needed rest. I needed a rescue.
I didn’t share any of this with my team because I knew they were dealing with this in their own way and I didn’t want to cause them more stress. Being the leader of the team I had to weigh all of it heavily and carefully, taking everything into account. Trusting God would allow me to hear Him more clearly than ever before……I DID!!! I HEARD HIM!!
You see, I had already done my part.
Our team was in Nepal for two weeks at that point and we had had some amazing days of ministry to women that were bought and freed from slavery. I spoke at women’s conferences in Biratnager (East Nepal), in Dhangahdi (West Nepal), and ended our time with an “Encouragement Retreat” for the women leaders of the churches, the day before the earthquake in Kathmandu. Ironically, during that retreat, I encouraged the leaders to be strong and trust in God for whatever lies ahead. Little did I know that a day later, it would be an earthquake that would require an extra measure of strength and tenacity for these leaders that God had called to build the church in Nepal.
As the keynote speaker at the conferences, I challenged and encouraged the women to take a close look at three things: their identity in Christ, God’s provision and protection through the Armour of God, and finally the Power of Prayer.
During my time in Nepal, I have learned, through many stories, that many women feel very devalued in that culture. These women feel like they don’t matter to anyone. So when the LORD laid on my heart to encourage them in their Identity in Christ, I was able to encourage and empower them to live fully for Jesus while He healed their woundedness.
I remember vividly teaching the women how to put on their armour every day as a way of seeing God protecting them. I used daily items to illustrate each piece of the armour. At the end of each demonstration I had the women hold up their sword of the Spirit (raising their hand) and say, “I am ready for the battle”.
In the “Power in Prayer” segment, I encouraged them to grow in intimacy with Jesus through prayer, having face time with Him. In reality, on several occasions, they taught me about prayer through their passion and desire for prayer.
For me personally, the Leadership Retreat was the most powerful. It was an oppportunity to encourage those on the road of ministry and also many who have been on the road longer than I have. It was a humbling experience and yet, one I would love to do again in a heartbeat. As a leader, I understand the loneliness we feel from time to time. I understand the responsibility and accountability we have to those we serve and also to God. We weren’t put in our positions by chance but by God’s call on our lives. We need encouragement to “press on” from time to time. We don’t have all the answers but we welcome the questions.
Given that we held that retreat for leaders the day before the earthquake made it even more powerful!!
We all have a part to play in this life. If you know what your’s is, go for it. Live it well and fully!!
If you don’t, then ask God to show you where He wants you, which is not to be mistaken with “where do you want to be?” All the while we need to keep in mind that our calling can look different from season to season.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the LORD. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you Hope and a future”.
Whether you agree or disagree, God has a plan for each of us. His plan for me was to be in Nepal for the two weeks to teach, admonish, encourage, provide leadership and empower the women in the church with the power of the Gospel. His plan for me here at home is unfolding one day at a time. I continue to blog as therapy for myself, encouragement to my readers and glory to God for not only saving me from the tragic earthquake but for holding me and using me during the days before, during, and after the whole experience!!
Romans 12:3-8 says it better than I ever could.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully”.
How has God nudged you to get involved in the aftermath of the tragedy in Nepal?
Have you ever been in a place of great debate about whether you should “stay or go”?
How is God using you right where you are?
Where do you sense God wants to use you today?
Do an inventory of the gifts you have and ask God to show you where He wants to use them.
Thank you joining me in my journey.
When the earth moves beneath my feet and the mountains (threaten) to fall into the sea. (Psalm 46)
I gotta have faith.
That happened. No really, but the earth did move beneath my feet while on a recent mission trip to Nepal. By now it’s all over the news and for some people it is just that – news. They have moved on and are now addressing the “next big deal”. But for some of us, it is still a big deal because not only has it changed our hearts forever, but because people we served with and love very much are still digging out from the rubble and doing their part to continue serving others who are suffering the ongoing effects of this tragedy.
I was in CrossWay Community Church in a church service when this life altering experience took place. We had just experienced some of the most exhilarating tear-filled time of singing, worship, and prayer minutes before. The Holy Spirit was so present. My heart was overflowing with praise to God for the amazing 2 weeks of ministry in East and West Nepal that had ended the day before.
I was getting strengthened for what was next and my heart was open to the LORD for His leading.
Pastor Arbin Pokharel began preaching on Acts 1&2, beginning a new series on “Discipleship” and the importance of it in the life of a believer”. I wrote in my notes that day, “God has given us the keys to the Kingdom”. I don’t remember if he said that, or if that’s what the Holy Spirit was telling me as a result of the message he was speaking on.
Then the lights went out – typical Nepali fashion – so no one seemed concerned. Within seconds everything shook. (As I recount this story, I continue to feel that shaking. The triggers are still strong and unpredictable). It was as though we were all in a doll house and the (giant) child outside was shaking it. We scrambled and some screamed. My teammate fell and I grabbed her to pull her up. I was not about to take another step before making sure we were all safe. In doing so, I wrenched my back, only to find out later that I pulled my trapezius muscle and popped a couple ribs. Ouch.
After huddling by a wall and praying fervently we were encouraged to exit the building because there were cracks on the opposing walls and it wasn’t clear if they would topple at any second.
So much was uncertain.
You see, when the earth moved under my feet, I experienced an immediate sense of loss. Loss of balance, loss of understanding, loss of direction, loss of time, loss of reality, loss of safety, loss of nerves. But all the while, I was certain that God was with me every wobbly step of the way.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God”. I was trying to be still alright. It was a little hard, physically, because the force of the tectonic plates shifting the earth beneath us was more than my body could sustain. My soul however, remained still amidst the encroaching fear. As a team we had celebrated the night before the reality of God’s obvious presence during the previous two weeks. Now I was in a valley of uncertainty. BUT I was determined to claim this same truth. He was present. How did I know? Because His Word says, “I will never leave you or forsake you…” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5). I chose to put my trust in Him and His Word.
I was certain of God and His Promises.
We all made it safely to the clearing on the outside of the church building. It was like running out of someone’s basement and onto their front lawn. Once we arrived there, we experienced another 6.9 scaled quake. Without having time to recover from the 7.8 in the church, the emotions just piled on.
While on the front lawn of the church it felt like we were standing on a wobbly card table. Not cool.
Over the next few hours we sang, we prayed, and I journaled what I could. I took some pictures because I didn’t want to miss out on what God was going to tell me later about those moments. Yet, taking pictures felt a little awkward because I wondered if I was violating a sacred experience somehow.
As a result of this experience, I am more sure that the keys to the Kingdom are Faith, God’s Word, and Prayer. Do you have them?
To be continued……..
What elements of faith do you hang on to in the midst of crisis?
Are you in a crisis right now? Where, to whom or to what are you running to?
Thank you for journeying with me