Over the last week, my Facebook’s “on this day” has been providing me with memories of my time in Nepal. It was today last year that I was now on a plane from Malaysia back home to Perth, having flown through the night from Nepal. I have been reminded with photos of this beautiful country, of the wonderful people I met and served alongside. As I reminisce, my thoughts have been drawn to this thought: “where am I heading a year on from this life-changing heart-altering experience?”
I had a life changing experience, great, and no doubt many others have had life changing experiences on the mission field too. But what are we going to do with that now and into the future?
As I have reflected on my experience a year ago, my thoughts first come to the journey up to that point. I have written on this previously so there’s no point doing so again. A year on, I feel it would be more helpful for me to reflect on this last year but also to project my thoughts into the future.
As the plane was flying out from Nepal around 12am on the 18th of July, as I watched the lights of the city of Kathmandu fly past, my longing to stay was strong. How badly I had wanted to stay in this country for longer and continue there. The likelihood of going back as a missionary to Nepal in particular at this point is quite low.
It will not do for our lives and our actions to remain unaltered while God is at work in us and at work in the people around us. Our experiences in other cultures amongst other peoples who don’t know Christ is guaranteed change our lives and the way we think about our lives here in this western culture.
Without a doubt has my experience transformed my thinking. Without a doubt has my time in Nepal driven me towards mission. Without a doubt has my life forever been changed by my time tearing down houses, reaching out to Hindus, sharing about Jesus with Buddhists. My generosity has increased in the face of poverty and destruction (because the earthquake was a few months before) and my vision for the future has become sure, because I realised I can actually do this.
So where is my life actually heading? Before Nepal, I had a head knowledge of what it will take, an understanding about the unreached, poverty and slavery. After Nepal, a year on, I know that I can do it, have experienced it for myself and seen with my own eyes the need in poverty and the need for Christ. A year on from Nepal, my passion for mission has only grown and I have begun studying a masters degree in divinity (which will finish in about 2021) with a focus in my electives on mission.
In January or February next year, my intention is to go on my churches annual Cambodia trip, hopefully to provide more direction and drive towards the mission field wherever that may be. Depending on that trip, in a year from now around in June or July next year (consider this my first public announcement of this) my plan God-willing is to head to Cambodia for a period of around 6 months to serve with Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), learning the language, working alongside missionaries and seeing the work of God amongst the Khmer people of Cambodia.
My hope and my prayer is that as time goes on, God will continue to fan the flame, to continue to draw myself and others towards His global mission of salvation and to continue to drive all of us towards His will, whether that be mission abroad or ministry here at home.
Thankful for the experiences that I have had which have altered my thinking and transformed my life; thankful for those experiences yet to come.