Before I go any further I need to put out this warning. Everything I say here is the truth, not exaggerated to any extent. This post is specifically about what I experienced and learned spiritually from going on my missions trip last month. I truly believe that if you read all the way through, you’ll be questioning things. There will be truths that are undeniable. If you want to know what I learned from a business stand point, read my post here. Otherwise, keep going. You might not agree with my beliefs but at least you’ll agree that I do what I say and say what I do.
My missions trip was through my church, Mclean Bible Church. The purpose of the trip was straight evangelism. We weren’t converting anyone or forcing what we believed down people’s throats. We were there to give them a choice, telling them what we believed in and why we believe what we believe in. That’s it. If they had questions, we answered it.
Nepal is on the list of top 10 poorest countries in the world, 2nd in Asia. The country is predominately Hindu. Less than 1% of the population is Christian. In the last 15 years or so, there has been more of a growth in Christianity. Our team was lucky to get in because the country is in between governments. It does not have a written constitution. In 2001, the royal family was killed. At the time, the king wanted to turn the country into a democracy but there were some opposition to it. Even after his death, the ruling people that supported the king is running the country as if it’s a democracy. The people wanted freedom of religion but once a government is established, there’s no telling what would happen.
Lost My Luggage The First Day
Our team brought in 2000 tracks. These tracks depict the Gospel from the story of Adam and Eve until the end times. Again, it was to tell the people what we believed in. Each member of the team carried around 200 tracks, weighing roughly 15 pounds. When we arrived at Nepal, they lost my luggage. I had absolutely nothing in there except the tracks, and anything that had to do with the Bible. All my clothes were on me. I wasn’t worry about the bag. I knew it was going to come back. Why? It wasn’t my name or things that were on the line. It was God’s name that was on the line. And I knew he was not going to have anything less than making the most impact on the people of Nepal. By the time we landed to the province we were serving in, the airport called us and said they found it. I wasn’t surprised or relieved. I was humbled. Because I knew God was watching over us from the beginning of the trip.
Near Death Moment
When I signed up to go to Nepal, I knew it was going to be rough. The majority of the country is not Christian so I expected spiritual warfare. We were not going to be welcomed, not by the people but by a higher power. Months before our team left on the trip, we prayed daily and fasted once every week. We knew that it was going to be a spiritual battle.
On one of the bus rides where we went to a remote village to show the Jesus film, our team nearly died. We rode on a bus that was supposed to fit 50 but there were 100 people on the bus. Imagine people squished together in the aisles and people hanging off the side of the bus. Now imagine it being rainy and driving on clay. Get the feeling? It’s like riding on a wooden roller coaster for 3 hours. By the time we hit the half hour mark, the bus was driving on clay. It rocked back and forth, tilting from side to side. Yes, it felt like it was going to tip over. I thought we were going to die. The bus was either going to tip and fall off the cliff. Or it was going to fall into the river and we drown. Or it was going to tip and we were going to get crushed by the people. The worst was three.
At that moment, I had a nervous breakdown. And this is what it felt like. All the things a person would not normally do- scream, yell, I was close to doing that. I wanted to jump out the bus window and walk. It’s like a car not being able to move anymore because the engine stopped. You just want whatever that was causing you the stress to stop. You need to take a deep breath, and bring yourself together. I didn’t have any time to do any of that.
All I could think about was this: not writing letters to the people I love before I left for the trip. No last chance to say goodbyes to my friends and my family. Especially my family. My parents were not believers and if I die, who was going to tell them what I believe and why it was that I believed and lived it? What happened next was really what I learned from the trip. I asked God, am I going to die here? Our church sends groups out all the time to foreign soil and never had a team not come back. I thought we were going to be the first. Everyone involved with this trip, from the Church to family, to friends have prayed for safety even before the trip started. Was more praying on my part going to do anything? I didn’t think so. So instead, I just asked God… are we going to die because I’m just not ready to go.
God Answers Back
At first, God didn’t answer me. Instead, he asked me plainly “Do you believe me?” Did I truly believe in God and all that he promises and says he is? I been a Christian for 4 years now, at least that’s what I call myself. But had I really believed in him? No I didn’t. Here, half way around the world, God asks me the most simplest of questions- the same one he asks every person on the planet. So I realized I didn’t. Man, that broke me even more. For the next hour, all I did was say thanks to God. Thanks for everything I had, everything in my life. Thanks for saving me from a life that would have went terribly bad. It was one of those times where you knew God was with you.
No Angels, No Visions, Where Was God?
How did I know God spoke to me? Can you imagine someone who was about to die to say thanks for what they had? That’s beyond belief. If anything, the last few moments are in total chaos, not knowing what to do next, and not wanting to die. Instead, all I thought was about giving thanks to God. And that’s how I knew. And he did answer me. He plainly told me, I wasn’t going to die here. This wasn’t how it was going to end for me. We had a mission and he wanted us to finish it. And then he asks, “Do you believe that?” True, I had no evidence that I was going to live other than his promise. The bus ride did not get smoother. No angels came down to tell us that either. But it had to do with my faith again. I didn’t say I’ll wait til we get to the destination before I say I’ll believe you. This time though, I did believe. And I was at peace from then now. And then the ride got even worse. But now, I knew and remember what he had said:
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
So in my moment of absolute weakness, I was provided strength only God could provide. The next day, we hear that buses tip over all the time. Almost a weekly headline. A bus tips, falls off the cliff and everyone dies. God was watching us.
Spiritual Warfare At Its Finest
At the remote village, we got permission to show the Jesus film at the local Hindu temple. Again, the people were very nice to us. It was in the middle of town. But we had a ton of problem getting it setup. The speakers didn’t work, the cables were bad, etc. But we finally got it to work. Everything was going fine. But when it was time to show the last scene where Jesus is resurrected, the power in the entire village cuts off. It’s not a coincidence.
The next night, my roommate wakes me up in the middle of the night and asks if I can pray with him. He had just gotten a nightmare. That by itself is not strange. What’s strange is that he has not had a nightmare since he was in high school. He’s about 30. 15 years. He knew he was being attacked spiritually from the get go. So we started praying. Almost instantly, I feel a knot coming up my stomach to my throat. It made me want to throw up, but couldn’t. It was unlike anything I felt before. I was shaking in my bed for a good 30 seconds until finally I said these words out loud: “Jesus, help me”. And then it went away.
Did it scare me? A bit. But like I said before, I expected things like this to happen. And I’m glad it happened to me. Because when I tell the story to people I know, they can’t call me a liar. They can’t deny that there is a higher power out there and that there is one God. It’s also for my parents who are reading this. It’s also for me to understand this truth:
That Jesus has power over all authority whether its demons or angels or anything else. What did I have to worry about? Nothing.
And when people ask why I believe why I believe, it’s simple. I have experienced it and I know it to be true.
Sharing My Story
I shared my story with the local church the next day. Afterward, the pastor comes up to me and says he had a similar story. He was riding on a bus to Tibet where they got into an accident. He was with his family. They were a little hurt. He was also scared but knew it was what he needed to do. Hearing that resonates with me because it wasn’t a fluke what had happened to me. It wasn’t like I was throwing a fit.
Some People Really Believe What They Believe
Being a Christian anywhere outside of the US is very different. In Nepal for instance, there’s a different greeting altogether for someone who’s a Christian. Instead of saying “hello” in Nepali, they say something that translates to “victory in Jesus”. Right off the bat, you know that person is a Christian. And let me say that proclaiming yourself to be a Christian in a country like Nepal is making yourself a target. We heard one story of a woman that was getting baptized that her husband, who had already left her had threatened to kill her if the became a Christian. So at first, she was hesitant. But she went through with it. Right before she got baptized, the pastor asked, “Are you sure? You know your life is at risk if you decide to go through with this”. And she said yes. How many people can really say that? To really die for what they believe in.
So what will I do after an experience like this? It’s so strange. The reason I absolutely did not want to go to Peru last year was because I thought God was going to tell me to become a full-time missionary overseas. That didn’t happen. And the things I learned in Nepal had to do with my own faith but also lessons in business. I never expected that. God told me, you been giving talents in creating a business, go use it. But in the meantime, go tell everyone your experience. And so I will. My life from here on out will be about two things: Business and Missions. Business because it’s what I was made for. Missions because it’s what I care about.