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Summer Kingdom Week 2016: Staff and Students Minister in Nepal.

Can your story about what Jesus has done for you be boiled down to five words?  Can those five words open the door for someone else to become a believer?

That was the task set before twelve DCC-connected folks and the many Nepalese people who participated in three evangelism workshops DCC held in Nepal between May 16 and June 1 as part of DCC’s second Kingdom Week mission to Nepal (yes, the mostly Hindu nation where Chomolungma/Mt. Everest resides). [1]

Using curriculum from Mission Frontiers called Training for Trainers, the DCC team led participants in choosing two words to describe their life before accepting Jesus and two words to describe life after accepting Jesus.   For Eric Hinton, DCC’s dean of students and the trip’s director, the words were “self-absorbed” and “aimless”; afterward, “satisfied” and “purposeful.”  For Crystal Laidacker, DCC’s registrar, they were “suffering” and “confusion,” and afterward, “healed” and “peaceful.”

The next question is,

“Would you like to hear more?

 

Says Crystal, “I didn’t see how this strategy would work.” Then they went out on the streets of Kathmandu, then Pokhara, and then the small town of Hetauda, and she discovered that it does.  Even the one woman who first replied, “No, I‘ve heard the stories before,” followed along and listened to all that was said. (The DCC team, not speaking Nepali, had interpreters.

DCC’s contact with Nepal goes back to alumnus Bobby Murphy, a co-leader of this year’s team, who ministered in Nepal while a DCC student.  Bobby has maintained contact with the church in Kathmandu, whose pastor Jay Singh hosted this year’s team.  Jay is a graduate of Himalayan Graduate School of Theology and now teaches at Salvation Bible College in Kathmandu, which held its first commencement while the team was there—five students graduated with associate degrees, all headed to various parts of Nepal as pastors.

Jay himself grew up Hindu. After he heard about Jesus, he spent two years pondering the Gospel, praying, and reading the Bible before finally accepting it.  His whole family has followed his lead, and his mother, sister, brother, and sister-in-law, as a result of their faith, have now opened a home in Hetauda, Jay’s hometown, for children orphaned by the earthquake two years ago (with six children now, they are building to accommodate more).

In addition to the day-long evangelism conferences and street witnessing, the team also served simply by visiting—one day at a ministry for women rescued from sex trafficking, one day in the very poorest section of Kathmandu, and another day in the large leper colony outside the city.  All of these experiences were heart-wrenching but enriching (the paradox of love at work: it enriches everyone, even in the midst of poverty).

Eric vividly remembers Randi Brown reaching out to hold the hands of the woman with leprosy to pray for her and then hug her.  He remembers Jensyne McCracken retrieving a rejected broken bracelet from the mud of the slum to repair it and delight a child who was being left out of the bracelet-giving.  Crystal remembers Jensyne bending down to help a child wash dishes when the van had stopped in a village for a rest stop.

In all of this service, the whole team grew closer and more gracious to others and to one another.  “We often say, ‘Familiarity breeds contempt,’ but in this case, familiarity bred grace,” says Eric.

He adds that much of this unity was the result of the contributions of worship leader Josh Bower, graduate of DCC’s worship arts program, who led praise and worship times throughout the trip.  Every day also began with a morning devotion, with team members taking turns leading.

The days also included some fun—two hikes in Pokhara, one up 1000 feet to a Buddhist pagoda.  The next morning in Pokhara there was hike to a scenic overlook at 6,000 feet to overlook Pokhara and the Annapurna range (26,000 feet) beyond (by 9:00 a.m. they were back in the city and into a full day of service).

The other big event (for $150 apiece) was a plane ride—an excursion from Kathmandu up above the thick blanket of clouds to fly along the ridge of the Himalayas and past Everest (29,000 feet).  The group got to take turns going into the cockpit of the twin-engine BAe Jetstream 41 to get the full view.

Weather?

Hot, humid, beginning of the monsoon season, with rain almost daily (no A/C).

Food?

Jay hired cooks, who toned down the usual spiciness; there was a lot of rice, plus chicken, goat, yak, cauliflower, green beans, and tomatoes. One restaurant meal featured momos, the local meat pies similar to empanadas or Chinese jaodzi.

Transportation?

Motorcycles, pedi-carts, small cars, buses, trucks (plenty of traffic noise); the team rode in a van with a hired driver.  Riding in the van? “Oh my goodness!” exclaims Crystal—narrow, winding mountain roads, 8,000 feet up, dicey passing, and at one point rocks from a slide still rolling down the hillside.

Accommodations?

Hotels with Western-style toilets and sort-of running water (check out Tibet Guest House online for a sample).

Health?

Everyone except seasoned mission traveler Milt Siegele managed to get sick; three had to go to clinic for meds, but everyone was quickly on the mend and back to serving.

Cost?

Each team member raised or contributed $2,200.

Head-banging?

If you’re six feet, two inches tall, like Eric, learn to look up more than down; the mountains are high, but the doorframes can be low.

[1] The DCC team consisted of leader Eric Hinton, Crystal Laidacker (’82, ’96), alums Joshua Bower (’16), Sonia Carillo (’15), Bobby Murphy (’14), Joshua Smith (’16), Kassanndra Whittle (’16); current students Ryan Brower, Randi Brown, Jensyne McCracken; Milt Siegele, member of Compass Christian Church, Colleyville TX; and 13-year-old Jude Hinton, son of Eric.

Dr. Cara Snyder is professor of English and literature at Dallas Christian College and managing editor and senior writer at the Cornerstone

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