The Face Of Jesus
I have been home 3 weeks. I feel like I should have lots to say but I feel very little inspiration to write this. I suppose it is part of the journey to return home and find yourself falling into routine because it is there. It is a difficult line to walk, I have so much stuff and I do so little with it all, and most the time it is what distracts me. I get caught up in stuff.
So what would happen to me if I was without stuff? That has been part of the exercise of this trip. Why we took the journey. We want to figure out a small part of what it means to live out the life that Jesus has for us. His words have been drawn out like echoes to our souls this trip. It at times has been very humbling to see just how far we are from understanding the true weight of an unconditional love and an unconditional life.
I have spent some time going through the footage and recalling the stories, and I am blown away by the memories – feeling unworthy of the weight of them.
On the final day in Nepal, we went to Monkey temple. On the drive back from that place we were silent. That there was so little that we could do, that the people would continue to throw coins and rice at idols, and the poor will continue to beg, and we will return to America and do nothing; I believe that was in all our thoughts that day.
But we had one more meeting.
We asked our taxi driver take us to the place where we would meet Bikash, someone we were told we needed to meet with before leaving. We arrived quiet and tired but when we met Bikash we were met with enthusiasm and love. I can’t discribe it but he was just different from so many of the Nepalese. He wasn’t just friendly, he overwhelmed us with an atmosphere of hope and joy. He could speak english very well and he was talkitive in a way that made you want to listen to him.
I didn’t know what to expect as we drove to his church. We had not been to any churches since coming to Nepal. As we pulled into the small courtyard of the building I knew this church was like none I had ever been to before. There were kids in casts, men in wheelchairs, people just sitting on the church steps. They were smiling as we got out of the car. Once again I fought a wave of hope from these people that threatened to make me one of them.
We listened to Bikash tell his families story. His father was the pastor of the little congregation, and was confined to a wheelchair. It was the focus of the church to take care of the sick and the disabled.
He spoke animatedly and with each story of God’s provision and healing we were disarmed and our hearts rose.
Bikash was not going to merely tell us of the churches work. He packed us back in our sardine tin taxi and drove us far from the city. We then had to walk down into the valley. We began to meet people who had been blessed by the church. They greeted Bikash and us heartely. My heart was continuing to swell with hope as I fought away thoughts of the journey home.
We were led to the leprosy village where we were once again greeted with smiles and “namaste”, some of these smiles were disfigured but all of them were the truest expressions of joy.
I wish I remembered everything Bikash told us in detail, but he told us of the people being forgotten and outcasts. They were sent to the valley and until recently it was very hard to reach. The church has taken over where the government abandoned them and cares for them when the rest of their world rejects them. Karma. It means they must have done something to deserve their punishment. There is little compassion.
But as we left that valley of leprosy effected people and their families, and the church that cares for them, we were lifted from our solemn state. We knew this was the church Christ asks us all to be, his face on this earth.
I wish I could go back.
Shepherd / hope-filled follower of Jesus