(Written 5/15/13 but about month 7, Nepal!)
You are sitting in your church’s sanctuary and the pastor says, “Family of God, there is a need in the country of Nepal right now that I believe you will want to be a part of helping with. In South Nepal, there are 6-10 people literally dying every day from the freezing weather. From what I am told, we can help to save lives by giving a few of our extra dollars to some missionaries in that area, who will use your offering to buy blankets, along with other warm things, to help them live through this hard winter. There is a plate being passed around specifically for this purpose. If you can’t give at the moment but want to, let the church secretary know that the donation you are giving is for the people of Nepal, when you come to the office to give. Thank you and now I will ask Bobby to pray us out . . .”
This really might not take an enormous amount of imagination to picture because I, myself, have witnessed a similar dialog repeatedly in my own church experience. People DO give and the money seems to be “sent off” but where does the money go? Who actually ever gets the needed blankets? Who lives because we, the American church attendee, gave what we had to give in a 2 minute thought out decision to do so? Well . . .
There was this one day last month, month 7 of my World Race, when I was startled by the Pastor who led our months’ mission work, as he burst through the door of his own home shouting, “Praise God! Praise God! He has answered our prayers!” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I personally can say that the other side of that giving is a different looking picture. This is what happens when you give to foreign mission work . . . you save lives.
Bhuvan, our Nepalese contact, did enter the room with joy and we too quickly joined him in shouts of excited praise to God for answering our fervent prayers for provision for the freezing Nepalese people!! For days, we had spent time in prayer each night covering a variety of requests to our great God and in giving Him praise for the ways in which we were seeing Him work. The “biggest” prayer of the week? The 6-10 Nepalese people in the Southern part of the country, who were dying every day because of their lack of provisions to stay warm. These needy people were mainly children, causing even more alarm in our hearts, of course! We prayed, “Lord, we know that you are a good Father and you love to provide for your children. Please send provisions of warmth for these blessed people in whatever way you wish . . . and immediately!”
And then He did . . .
Bhuvan’s friend in the States, contacted him that morning and told him the good news! After hearing of the need from Bhuvan, a few days back when he had shared his prayer request over the phone, he had organized an announcement in his local church, where they immediately took up a Wed night service offering for the far off land. $1,200 had been donated and his next question was, “How do you want me to get this to you?” Over the next 24 hours or so, the amount increased to a total of $2,000 and was sent via Western Union ASAP! The servant of God on the other end of the line, across the world, even stayed up all night just to make sure that the money was indeed wired immediately! Thank God for those who give money AND time for the sake of saving lives, physically and spiritually!
Speaking of those types of men, Bhuvan. Wow. This man was not just thrilled to receive the donation but immediately JUMPED into action. So, if you ever wondered what the other side of foreign mission donations looks like, I can tell you! They may not all work this way but for my all American team, we needed to see the honesty and fervency in the work done on the “other side.” It was inspiring. It made us want to spend a life-time of giving. Bhuvan did not spend hours figuring out how much money it would take to gas the bike to the market and the truck back up with the warm items to ship. Nor was he worried about paying himself back for the time he spent out of his daily mission activity and family life to accomplish this work of God. Nope. He just got to work and spent the money as it was desperately needed, on the dying people. He was ready and willing to sacrifice his life in order to save another. God bless the Bhuvan’s of the world. Phew!
So off to the market he went. Thankfully, he included us in this mission adventure! My bro, Ty, jumped on the back of Bhuvan’s bike to share in this day’s mission. Mission part 1 was to find the best priced and best quality blankets money could buy. He eventually did find a deal but it took hours of seeking to find the right bargain. They purchased all of the blankets and told the seller that they would pick them up later in the day. Off to find warm items such as mittens, hats, and socks they went! Part 2 was successful but took more time than part 1. As I’m told, the two went from market stall to market stall, picking up a few of each items in every one until they had the amount needed to be purchased to match the money given. This was indeed an all day affair and every thing for that day’s schedule was laid down completely to accomplish this goal in record time. Not a minute was to be lost.
After having purchased all that money would allow (Each blanket was about $17 USD and the other items varied but were cheap from an American standard), Bryan and Charlie (2 other team-members), joined them in town where they all worked to load a large truck bed with all of the purchases to take back up to the house for repackaging. We’ll call this part 3. Something I have yet to mention is the temperature outside during all of this. Cold. I’m unsure of the exact degrees on this day but I do remember that when the boys, Bhuvan, and all of the purchases returned home LATE that evening, I spent 15 minutes helping the boys feel their hands by rubbing them between my own briskly. Part 4 was accomplished by not only Bhuvan, but also his niece, nephew, and other members of his young immediate and extended family. They worked late into the night repackaging all the items so that they could travel safely to the remote areas of need.
Travel day came bright and early the next morning and included Bryan, Charlie, and the nephew we affectionately called, “Brother.” The three men traveled in and atop a slow going bus through rugged mountains and into the plains of South Nepal. A 12 hour trip just to get the warm things to the needy people. As they rode away, 5 am that Saturday morning, I thought to myself, “Wow. I never would have thought about the fact that it takes money, time, and even travel for the missionaries to get the needed items to the people. I guess I always assumed that the purchases were somehow just dropped in the lap of those who were desperate. No way, Jose! In all, 5 days were spent in waiting from the moment the need was donated to in the American church until the blankets were in the hands of the new owners. And not a minute was wasted in that 5 day span.
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, one of my sisters took up the cause (having heard about the need from me online) and began taking MORE donations for a second round of all that you've read up to this point! By no means is this the end of this saving grace giving story!
So what happened? You may be wondering how it all turned out! Guess what . . . another World Race team was on the receiving end of the blankets etc and as Sarah, the other Team Leader, and I have connected both halves, you can follow this link Part 2 to read the REST of this amazing, first hand story of how the American donation and the foreign missionaries worked together to save lives in Southern Nepal.