My Nepalese family wants to see Jesus. They are anxiously awaiting His return, alongside a river of lost dreams cast down before idols. Hopeless idols. Carved images. Evil spirits set inside of earthly inanimate objects. Sadness seeps into the homes of the hillside as they lay their tired heads down to sleep once more, wondering why they have been born to die here in this beautiful, yet grace desolate place.
These new friends of mine, they reek of joy. They spread cheer with each smile across their face. They are different. Their presence is life altering to those they pass across the swinging metal bridge. Faces downcast, turn up to experience even a moment of a passing Jesus. Suddenly caught in a storm of riveting love they respond, “Jamuhsee,” even though they do not claim to believe. They might now. The passing time is short . . . but impacting and they begin to wonder about the difference. . . the joy. Hope. “What is this?” they say.
A rectangle of worship goes on and on in prayer. Depression, sickness, hardship, celebrations, and even death are lifted up as subjects in unified prayer to God, Who like His children in Nepal, smiles down sweetly. He is there.
They seek Him with words, tamborines, and bowed hearts and He comes so near. They ask of Him, even beg (Although they need not do so) and Christ Himself in the form of His Spirit, becomes living and active in their midst. He is mighty to save. I love these people for the fervency of their prayers. They give up not, come what may and instead they pray . . . and pray again.
Atop a mountain, high enough to make my team stumble and suck breaths of albuterol into tired American lungs, their lives more of my Cliff-side people . . . family of God, so alive and free! Instead of lingering above the riverbed, these loved ones are set upon a mountaintop, a city on a hill, if you will, and the beckoning grace they greet and love you with will sweep you up with the dust of the valley below because their countenance shines THAT bright.
Because of these fruitful scattered few, the foothills of the Himalayans are undoubtedly being reached person by person with the great love of Christ. What amazes me beyond measure is the dedication of the Christians to their faith in order to traverse these Hindi enveloped mountains with the Gospel of God’s great sacrifice and risen eternal life.
I feel the chill of the mountain as I rub my feet together over and over again under my Polar Pod sleeping bag. I can’t GET warm in effort to STAY warm and that’s the moment I long for again in all of its misery. To be here, cold, sick, and slightly ineffective in my assumptions, among these radicals. I wouldn’t change my current existence for anything. Anything. I’ve learned so much hanging from this world as I am, suspended above the rocks b below, where the Hindi bathed children play.
Until they know the Truth.
The truth that God loves them, values them, that He is alive (unlike the gods they are forced to follow), I will press on as an ambassador of light. I can do nothing on my own but as the living, breathing representation of my Creator, I am an image bearer and thrilled to represent Him, alongside such brothers and sisters of the faith.
When I look at the soles of the mountain Christians' feet and notice the cracking of their dry and calloused tread, I am greatly touched by their dedication to walk . . .hike . . .through mountains to fellowship with other believers and to deliver the greatest news of all. Truly, their feet are beautiful.
As the singing continues, I hear her cry out over and over again. Grandma, under all of her wrinkles, smudged mud, and mountain scent, is the epitome of a saint of the Lord. She cries again, breaking into my assessment of her. The cry is not mournful or a shriek of joy . . . it’s the sound of a lost lover. One that longs to embrace the other again. My heart begins to ache as her Nepali words are repeated. Then my little friend next to me leans over and translates for me, “She is saying, “Come, Jesus, come.”
I was right . . . it was the call of the bride who was left behind by her groom for a great mission . . . and now she cries out in longing for Him. It all makes sense. Life, in this moment, makes perfect sense. We are strangers here. Grandma is not meant for this fallen world . . . and as a part of this same marriage union, neither am I. I began to cry out with her in the same desperately excited tone . . . “Come, Jesus, come!”