Reflections on an MTM trip in Nepal
If I would use one word to describe the people of western Nepal, I would choose the word “community”. I have been to few places on the planet where the whole culture is so interactive and interconnected in daily living. We could learn much from our brothers and sisters there!
On March 10, 2023, brother Stephen Burkholder and I drove to the Chiang Mai airport to fly to Nepal for 9 days of travel and ministry in 2 pastor’s conferences.
Plans were to overnight in Kathmandu and fly the next day to western Nepal landing in the city of Nepalgunj. We were met by our brother Satpal and a friend who transported us to the home of pastor Depak and family. We were given a warm Nepali welcome and experienced an exuberant church service with the local body there. Pastor Depak and family support up to 8 EQUIP children and their home is orderly and full of life.
The next 2 days were spent in warm fellowship with a group of Pastor’s and believers from various church groups in the surrounding area. There were 8 sessions shared over 2 days. Local Nepali pastor Vivek spoke on the topic of “Togetherness in the body of Christ.” Then Pastor Stephen spoke eloquently on various topics from the book of Acts with a special emphasis on the key verse, Acts 1:8. Pastor Steve had 4 sessions on the “Christian Family”. All sessions were well received, and the speakers were honored and well fed with some amazing Nepali food. The organizers did an exceptional job with these conferences!
Speaking through an interpreter requires a certain rhythm and rapport, and it sometimes takes a bit of time and experience to connect with the speaking style and skill level of the two men involved. After several attempts, we made those connections, and finished the conference well.
On March 14 we traveled 4 hours by motorcycle to the small village of Dekhatbhuli. If you have never rode passenger on a Nepali motorcycle you should try it sometime! Every pothole becomes a calorie burn as you attempt to avoid launching up in the air. The countryside, villages, and people of western Nepal are a well-preserved treasure that still hints of an ancient way of life.
In Dekhatbhuli there were over 100 souls eagerly waiting the pastors who got there a half hour late. No road signs and mechanical issues can create unexpected adventures in navigation!
This region in Kanchanpur is the home of the Tharu Rana people group. They are a people who have emigrated into Nepal from India, and are relatively unreached. According to the Joshua Project statistics, less than 2% of them have heard the gospel! In India there are still 150,000 who have never heard the gospel. Who will reach the Tharu Rana? Our hope is that through this conference, we were able to inspire the 19 local churches represented, to go out and be a witness to their people group.
Three days spent with these dear people went by very quickly as we repeated our sessions between power outages. But the fellowship was warm, the interpreters did very well, and the message once again went out to a crowd that seemed to “drink” in the teaching. We were honored once again with warm Nepali hospitality, and were happy to share our notes and Power-Points with the local pastors who will use them to continue and improve on our efforts.
The goal of MTM is to equip pastors with Bible based teaching that gives them tools to go out and reach their own people with the message of the Gospel. May God give the increase! Jaymashi!! (Victory in Christ!)–Steve Byers
Editor’s Note; Steve Byers and Janelle together with their four children live in Chiang Mai. Steve serves as pastor of IGO Christian Fellowship In Chiang Mai, Thailand.