Hello everyone! I chose to go to Nepal for this year’s STM with CCMN. Of course, I had an unforgettable and totally different experience compared to my past mission fields. Many assumed my main reason to go was because of the earthquake, but that’s only a small part of it. I chose to go to Nepal because I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to challenge myself to go without anyone I knew, to practice stepping out of my comfort zone to meet new people. I also wanted to try going to a place that was open to the gospel, because my past mission fields have been restricted countries. Last of all, I wanted to experience a culture completely different from the ones I already knew in my life.
The rest of my team and myself overcame much more physical and spiritual challenges than we expected. Something that caught me by surprise was the travel. When you travel for a full 2 days, it is much more draining than you’d expect. It took our team two whole days to get to the church we were staying at. From Hong Kong to India is 6 hours, then we waited another 7 hours for a transfer flight to Nepal, then from India to Nepal is another 2-3 hours, and finally a ten hour bus ride to the church. The living conditions are very different from Canada. Toilets didn’t really flush, and there was limited amount of water everyday; if we ran out, we ran out. As soon as we arrived, we spent every single day climbing up and down mountains for hours, visiting villages. I don’t think I’ve sweat so much or climbed so many mountains in my life.
One of the most unforgettable days was the second day at the church when we went to help build a house. I knew already we were going to build a house that day and I was really looking forward to it. We hiked that day for 2 hours up the mountain, and when we arrived I remember the place having a very bad odor. My very, very first thought was, “ew.” I learned that they had mixed the remains of the collapsed building, mixing it with water and dirt, and reusing all of it to build a new house. I thought to myself “I hiked 2 hours, I don’t have extra clothes, there’s another 2 hours back to the bus and an hour back to the church.” I told myself I didn’t want to do it. As some teammates jumped in to help, I was very hesitant.
Then, there was a moment where I saw boys younger than me, women and men much older than me all working. At that moment, I suddenly felt a pang of guilt and disappointment in myself. I realized how arrogant I was being for simply not wanting to get dirty. I realized how disrespectful I was for saying “ew” and complaining about how filthy it was while so many of the local villagers were working.
Furthermore, there was a 54 year old man with asthma on my team who is here, I have no reason to complain AT ALL. That was a split second change in attitude where I decided it was a once in a lifetime experience. These people are no different than me; if they can do it, so can I. It ended up being a very spiritual day where many people were prayed for and they accepted Jesus. Thinking back to the travelling, the living conditions, and that day, I really understood what it means to not complain and be flexible. Also, it was actually a lot of fun. It was an eye-opening day that day, and it’s an attitude I will carry with me forever.
The night of this day, we had a sharing time between all the team members, and it was a sharing I will never forget.
It was still very early in our trip, and from all the travelling and hiking, our team had a lot of time to bond and talk with each other. That night, our team leader told us how important it is to be open and honest with each other, to tell the truth. So, our team leader asked us to be open with one another; to share anything about anyone in the team honestly.
It was not to insult each other, but instead it was to point out an issue, suggest a solution, and build up one another. I didn’t really have anything particular to say to anyone, but a fellow team member had something to say to me. He said that he couldn’t stand me when we first met during the travelling, and he said I seemed SO arrogant, full of pride. He shared that he was very bothered by my attitude. I was speechless, because I was strangely cherishing that moment when he was telling me.
Honestly, I was just tired during the travelling, but I was unaware how my attitude affected the team. However I almost enjoyed that moment when he told me, because it was a level of honesty I had never experienced before. Of course I am honest with everyone at church, cell group, and family and friends.
But I had never been THAT honest towards them, nor had anyone been so honest with what my problem was. It was a very beautiful moment as teammates continued to share, because I saw how much closer we were. We gave truthful comments about one another, encouraged one another, and were closer than ever. I hope I can learn to be as honest with my family and cell group as the teammates were to me and each other.
We would do a “program” in each village including singing, games, worship, and the 5-colour bean message. There was never any time to prepare for anything. It was always last minute decisions, very unplanned. Personally, this forced me to step out of my comfort zone and adjust quickly to different situations. As a team, this forced us to rely on each other and most importantly have faith in God. One time my leader asked me “hey Sharon, can you preach?” it was very expected, so I was kind of like, “what?” She told me since my dad was a pastor, I would know how to teach. I immediately told her “How could you say that?! Just because I watched my dad preach doesn’t mean I know how!!” That was when my leader asked me if I could preach for an upcoming chapel visit at a missionary hospital. I told her no right away. Of course, my leader kept encouraging me, told me to think about it, but I still said no. My leader used her authority and said “You have to obey the leader.” She said that if I still didn’t want to she would preach.
Ever since that night, I spent all night and the next day thinking about how to say no to her. I was supposed to obey my leader! But I didn’t know how to preach! I’m awkward, I have NO IDEA what to talk about, I don’t know what bible verses to use, it’s too scary. I kept saying no, even until we waited at the chapel I said no. However, other teammates kept encouraging me to do it, and in the last five minutes before starting I agreed to preach.
Even when the program started at the chapel, I still had no idea what to talk about. Right before my leader called me up to give the message, I just said “God you better be here to help me or I will be VERY upset. I trust in you, man.” I only talked for 20 awkward minutes and I don’t remember what I said, but when I finished all of our teammates went in partners to pray for those in the chapel. It was a beautiful moment. There were tears, people giving their lives to Jesus, people being encouraged, and the Holy Spirit was definitely there doing His thing. This was one of those moments where theteam and myself told one another, “as long as we have faith and are willing to do it, God will do something amazing.” It doesn’t matter how I see the situation, it doesn’t matter how others see the situation, but just trust in Him and something amazing will come out of it. This was big lesson I learned through testing my faith in God.
I made some unforgettable friendships, and had experienced so much of God’s work in me as well as the people of Nepal. Those hours of travel, falling asleep during sharing, long hikes, was all worth it for the gospel. I am so grateful I decided to go to mission this year, because it was money and time well spent. I had my own personal breakthroughs and learned so much about the spirit of being in a team. I shared with the local people near the last few days what my experience was, and they asked if I would come back. They told me they wanted to see my brother, my mom, and my church members. I told them that I loved them, and that my challenge next year would be to bring at least one other person from my church to Nepal, hopefully more. Because of God, I was able to breakthrough as an individual and in the team together. Because of the Holy Spirit, I saw how fast He can change lives. Because of this trip, I met so many beautiful people that I will cherish forever.
I want to encourage all of you here to come to CCMN mission next year. Maybe not to Nepal with me, even though that would be really awesome. But just go somewhere to challenge yourself and experience God. While there is no school, while there is vacation, just go. While you might spend days doing nothing at home during summer Go! Go for God! That’s all, thanks.