2015 Nepal – Johnny McCartney

Greater Things

Isaiah 43 verses 18 and 19 read, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

This was my first time going on missions in my entire life. In the beginning I was hesitant to sign up because I wanted to rest at home in Malaysia with my friends and family before school started in March. But I also knew I wanted to experience the joy and satisfaction that only comes from going on missions. I would always hear great testimonies from people who came back from mission field, talking about how God exceeded their expectations through signs and wonders and miracles, and I wanted to experience that for myself. So I handed in my application, not knowing to which country I would be sent. But when the team assignments were made, I was excited to be on Team Nepal. With Jae Hee as our team leader and Pastor Joel as our team preacher, immediately I knew this team was going somewhere. And indeed, God moved. And here I am today, standing in front of you, to testify of how the Lord is moving in Nepal, but especially how He moved in my heart.

If I were to sum up my own personal missions experience in two words, they would be redemption and humility.

Redemption: right after the team announcements were made at missions training, I heard a lot of stories about the tough physical conditions for the previous Nepal team three years ago. There had been energy strikes across the country, so it was very difficult to access hot water and heat during the Himalayan winter. Some people said it was the most physically challenging missions trip to date. So I was a little bit concerned. However, by the time our team arrived at our hotel in Kathmandu I was asking myself, “Are we on vacation?” We had everything we needed (including a hot water supply, 24-hour electricity supply, and indoor heating). And it was splendid. For our second ministry location in Hetauda, through the connections of a Nepali Christian film director, we were able to stay in a resort above a lake. Our team leader Jae Hee kept on emphasizing God’s redemption and hand of blessing upon our trip. She had been on the previous Nepal team 3 years ago, and actually got quite sick from the cold conditions. This time around, we were fully able to minister to the local people every single day because we had comfortable rest every single night. There were no energy strikes. Even though there was the threat of political strikes affecting our ministry schedule, the team rose up in prayer and there was no problem at all. The previous Nepal team broke the ground, and this year’s team was able to walk out in God’s redemption! Praise the Lord!

In addition to redemption, the Lord was emphasizing the theme of humility. I was so humbled and challenged by hearing the stories of the local pastors, and the price they pay for the sake of the Gospel. On this trip, I had the privilege of getting to know Uncle BP, our local contact through Native Partners for World Mission. I sat beside him on the 8-hour van ride from Kathmandu to Hetauda, and the same journey back. During this long journey, Uncle BP shared about his heart for Nepal. And the more he shared, the more I felt convicted. He shared his powerful personal testimony of being raised up in a strong Hindu Brahmin family. The Brahmins are the highest Hindu caste, set apart in their religion to become priests. Uncle BP was receiving Hindu priesthood training across Nepal and India. Then he rebelled and started to become very involved in the Nepali Communist movement, rejecting all religions and finding Truth only in social justice. But one day Uncle BP came across a Bible, and ended up reading it from cover to cover. The Word of God came alive to him and he couldn’t put it down. Uncle BP then set out on a mission to learn more about the God of this Bible. And over the next few years, in this nation where less than 1% are believers, God miraculously sent specific people to Uncle BP to disciple him and answer all his questions about Christianity. God chose Uncle BP and pursued him so powerfully. And step by step, this man who was so, so far from the Lord ended up being redeemed by Jesus. Even today, despite very serious persecution, Uncle BP continues to serve the Lord faithfully. I sat there amazed by God’s plan and how He could completely transform a life for His glory. And I wondered how many potential Uncle BPs were in this nation? I then realized that I had not been very intentional with my heart for Nepal. My mindset for this mission trip was for short term goals. I thought, “we’ll go there and preach the good news, set the captives free, bind up the broken hearted, and we’ll come back and testify.” But God’s plans are so much bigger, and he loves His children so much more. Our team had been trained up powerfully and were ministering powerfully. But ultimately we were just one part of God’s more powerful plan.

On the fourth day of our trip, we were at Native Missionary Training Center (NMTC) in Hetauda, a city south of Kathmandu, meeting with six local pastors. As they were sharing their stories and about their church ministries, something began to stir within me. One of the pastors shared about his encounter with the Lord. His wife was dying of a disease and he tried many different solutions to try to save her life. But one day he came across a Christian Gospel tract. He prayed that if the God of this faith was real, for this God to heal his wife. And God did! Ever since that day, this man has lived his life completely for Jesus. This was a beautiful testimony, and you may have heard others like it. But one thing I realized, was that this man took the encounter seriously. I remember I had a similar encounter too when I was little. I nearly died because of transverse-sigmoid colon knot. I asked my mom to pray to God that He would save me. And God did miraculously heal me. Maybe I was too little to take this encounter seriously, but I realized I had never really lived my life for Jesus since then. That is, until I came to New Philly. But at that moment I was humbled because I realized God’s faithfulness in my own life. Hearing the testimonies of the native pastors challenged me to expand my capacity for greater maturity in my Christian walk. God has demonstrated His faithfulness to me, and now I was challenged walk out in greater faithfulness to Him.

The word of God tells us so much about humility. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” And there are many more verses that point to a life of humility and honor. “What if God asks you to do something, will there be anything too small that He can ask you to do?” In my eyes, the native pastors I met in Nepal are true heroes in God’s kingdom. The fact that they’re willing to put aside their dreams, surrender their lives, and pursue God’s heart amazed me and inspired me. Many of them are attacked for their faith. Many are disowned by their families. And some of pastors face life and death situations while they’re doing ministry work in unreached regions. But God has always faithfully prospered them in their ministries. They live a very simple life on earth, but in heaven, I believe they are very highly honored. Just as Jesus laid down His life for us, they too, are doing the same for Nepal. After hearing their life testimonies and about their ministries, God widened my perspective on kingdom work. It’s all about humility. It’s never about titles or fame, or public recognition. Mark 10 verse 45 reads “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

In all honesty, I will never be the same person again ever since coming back from missions. This trip has changed the way I live for Christ. There’s so much joy in me and I can’t contain it anymore. My heart is so excited to live out each day remembering His goodness and blessings in my life, and in the lives of those we were able to meet in Nepal. I’m very excited for my next missions trip. If I had not been able to go on missions, my perspective on kingdom work would have been very narrow and selfish. But through this trip, God has shown me His huge heart for His people and for the nations. Thank you so much for covering our team with your prayer, fasting, and financial support. We are honored to have been sent by you, and we are honored to have partnered with God for the expansion of His Kingdom. Thank you and God bless you!

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