There is absolutely nothing as satisfying as a hot cup of tea on a cold day: As the frigid air swirls around you huddled in your jacket, the hot liquid slides down your throat, warming your belly, soul, and fingers wrapped around the chilly porcelain mug…yes, there is nothing better than that.
In my times of prayer for the World Race, God has continually shown me a picture of a group of us huddled together in the mountains of Nepal drinking tea with frigid cold snowy air around us…I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant, but God brought this vision to mind today on our first day of ministry here. For about four hours, we went around with pamphlets and just talked to people about their faith and Jesus. In the four hours we were out, we were welcomed into homes and offered three cups of tea, but I can’t forget to mention the two cups of tea I already had that morning…so yes we were drinking a lot of tea.
But what I couldn’t figure out was why the picture God showed me was of a snowy mountainous landscape and us huddled together tightly in a room. The city we were placed in, Hetauda, is located in a valley four hours south of Kathmandu – where there is neither snow nor tall mountains that I so adore. (photo of the beautiful landscape of Hetauda)
But I am coming to understand that the vision God showed me was not happening physically but rather spiritually – as we offered people the good news of Jesus Christ, it was as satisfying to their souls as a hot steamy cup of tea on a chilly day.
In Africa, God had put a longing in my heart to send me to unreached people – but little did I know that this prayer would be answered in Asia. I’ve been amazed to see how different the spiritual landscape here is. People here literally do not know about Jesus – Nepal is only 1-2% Christian, 75% Hindi, and 15% Buddhist. It is overwhelmingly different – in Africa there are stickers and signs referencing Jesus everywhere, but here nearly everywhere you look you see tikkas (red paint) on foreheads, smudged as a sign that you have just worshipped in one of the many Hindu temples scattered all over the city. Honestly, the spirituality here just feels chilly, like standing outside in cold snowy mountains while gusts of wind blow around you. Below is a picture of a group of us standing in front of one of the Hindu temples.
So here in Nepal, what we have to share about Jesus is literally, news. And it is such good news – I spoke with a young man yesterday who was astounded to hear that we could speak to God and that He speaks back. He said that he just buys statues of Hindu gods and prays to them every morning in hopes they will get him to where he wants to go – but he has never seen any of his prayers answered. He asked us if we could see our God. I said, yes, I see God when I see friends who come to know Jesus and become more loving people, when I believe God for miracles and they happen, and when I see provision for people who have given everything to follow Him. I could see God’s truth begin to sink into his heart and it’s hard to describe but his eyes had a greater clarity in them… I asked him if he could see that our God was different than the gods he knows and he said “Yes.”
Today, we came across one elderly woman who was walking with 25kg of produce on her back. She had never heard of Jesus before, so we followed her for about a mile, talking and sharing together. At the end of our conversation, she said that she believed that what we said was true, and was going to share it with her family.
From these conversations, I’m becoming more and more convinced that the life we have to share is like a sweet hot cup of tea warming your belly… Yes, Jesus Christ is good news, such good news – we don’t just throw prayers up to a god, in hopes that he will hear and respond. We serve God who is Emmanuel, God with us. When all other religions profess a set of rules to perform to get you to god, only in Christianity did God come down to get to us…calling us not to a performance but a relationship. This revelation has put a fire in my belly for our time in Asia. We have entered the 10/40 window – the term coined for the area of the world between 10 and 40 degrees latitude where the majority of people unreached by the gospel live and where the majority of governments are officially or unofficially opposed to Christianity.
For the next five months, may we be used to unveil eyes and open hearts to receive Christ’s love in these villages, towns, cities, and nations!
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14)