…. from whence cometh my help, my help cometh from the Lord, which made Heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1
I departed January 3rd for Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri India for an MTM Youth Conference. I was never in this part of the world and God opened the door for this to be possible. I caught a beautiful view of beautiful snow caps of Mount Everest and Himalaya mountains as I flew into Bagdogra. I met up with Raymond Burkholder and our contact Pastor Nugo at the Airport. Over this time in India, my eyes were opened to the poverty and darkness of Buddhist & Hindu religions in their culture. We drove past many cows that are considered sacred as well as Buddhist prayer flags in high places in the mountains. We drove 5.5 hours to our destination high in the Himalaya foothills where we stayed at a hostel with very hospitable owners.
The view the next morning was absolutely gorgeous! The Kangchenjunga mountain was visible in the distance, it’s the third highest peak in the world, the glory of His creation was being manifested (see photos in the photo album link below)! Our hearts were turned to God in adoration and praise, for His creation reveals His majesty as the Psalms describe! That first morning of the youth conference we found ourselves with approximately 80 youth at a small church in the beautiful Himalayan foothills. I was blessed by their hunger for the word of God, and maybe a bit surprised at their lack of biblical knowledge. I was also taken back by how the western world has influenced them through TV and the internet as well as social media. All this even though they live under a suppressive anti-christian government. Many of the youth have a view of America as a Christian nation which is influencing them in a wrong way since many have smart phones and internet.
The entire group of young people with the MTM team, Steve Nolt and Raymond Burkholder!
The theme for the week came from Eccl 12:1 Remember your creator in the days of your youth. To have a heart like David a man after Gods own heart. MTM vision is to empower native Christians to take the gospel to their own unsaved people. Many renewed commitments to give all for Jesus to take the gospel to their people. Truly the Spirit of the Lord was bringing unity and what a beautiful time it was sharing with them.
The differences/challenges of their culture, where they literally live off the land, and they love spice & curry and sweet coffee, which I will certainly not miss. After the conference, we headed to Gangtok for a day of touring and had some American food and a day of relaxing before departing India. On the way, back to airport we visited the city of Siliguri where it seemed so dark and hopeless but yet a remnant of light was manifesting the Lord in this city. We met up with a pastor contact where Raymond conducted a leadership conference 1 year ago. He was so excited how their church is growing and gave us a tour of their new meeting place where they hold 3 services in three different languages each Lord’s day. This was so refreshing in the midst of a city of darkness and chaos.
Thank you, brother Raymond, for the invitation and having my eyes opened, once again, to the urgent need of the truth of the gospel across the nations. May God, Bless You and MTM greatly and grant health and strength to proclaim His Name among the nations!
Editor’s Note; The above article was written by Steve Nolt. Steve & his wife Julia and family are from the Word of Life Mennonite Fellowship congregation in Lititz, PA. Steve is actively involved in prison ministry in USA and Uganda, Africa. Thank you, brother Steve, for giving of your time and resources to come to India and share the love of Christ and the Word of God at the youth conference. May the Lord reward you openly for your labor of love.