2017 Nepal – Mary Jung

Glory to Glory

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” ― 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Our 12 members from New Philadelphia Church across both Korea and Australia campuses set off into the mission field on the last week of December 2016. Upon arrival in the capital of Kathmandu, we made a comfortable hour van ride to Bhaktapur. We later found out that the name of the town literally translates to be the “place of devotees.” It is a town where people flock to worship in temples built for hundreds of Gods. We also learnt that there is a heavy stigma on Christianity, both socially and politically. In a place with such a strong culture of polytheism, I thought to myself, how on earth could such a small handful of us— many first-timers on the field and most who were definitely under-experienced preachers— make any significant difference? These uncomfortable thoughts clouded the back of my mind, but little did I know that God’s glorious plans had already started unraveling— perhaps from long before I will ever know.

Across the first and second day of ministry, our team witnessed miracles where many people received full healing and the gift of tongues. Many crowded the front as they responded to altar calls for forgiveness. There was much laughter of happiness and tears of genuine desperation for the Lord. I could see a new hope in the lives of those who had so little, but had come to know the fullness of the good news of God.

These events are still so mind blowing that I will most likely need to continue processing all that has happened over the next month or so, but one thing that I am certain of is the deepness of the love that I experienced, and how this has left a permanent impression on my soul. When I think of the term “glory,” after experiencing God move so powerfully in Nepal, I see one manifestation of this as the compassionate nature of Pastor Saul and his wife Mona- ministers who selflessly continue to sow and reap for the Kingdom of God. It see it as the passionate fire burning in the hearts of the Nepalese ministry team leaders. I see it as the hunger and thirst seen in the faces of the Nepali congregations for Jesus to come into their lives.

Before departing for Nepal, I had reflected on the happenings of 2016, both in my personal life and in the global context. It had possibly been the most difficult year in my career in the seven years I had been in Korea, and definitely world events had not been so positive either. It seemed ironic at first our church theme for 2016 was the Year of Rest. But looking back I now realize that as a congregation, we learned that although rest can be physical, it must first and foremost be spiritual. It is crucial to remember that we can have true rest when we completely trust in the goodness of the Lord, even when the physical and worldly situations around us seem chaotic. I remember thinking that because I was able to endure such a hard year, I was able to truly rest in God. I was able to stay at peace in the face of adversity. In the end, I did see how the theme of rest applied to my 2016.

Thus as a way to celebrate perhaps the ending of hardships in the New Year, I asked God if there was any way to make the conclusion of 2016 victorious. I wanted a way to celebrate all the things that had happened— both the good and the bad. This was the prayer I had in mind as we headed to the last church of our ministry schedule in Bhaktapur. It was the last full day of ministry, and of 2016. After all that I had already seen in the previous ministry days, I was full in spirit and happy that indeed God had shown me the victory that I had prayed for. But what’s amazing is that up until literally the very last hour of our ministry, God graciously and generously allowed us to witness another level of Glory.

Our team followed a similar service structure as the other two days. We started with a testimony from my team member Rachael, a sermon from our team preacher Pastor Susy, and then those who were in need of healing and prayer were welcomed up to the alter. During this time, our team went around the congregation and prayed for the Holy Spirit to come meet all of us in power. As we were praying, I came to pray for a young man in his early twenties. I could see that God’s Spirit was being poured out onto him. As I prayed, it became more and more obvious that the Holy Spirit was working powerfully in him. This man was in tears and until the very end of the service as he wept and talked with God.

When this service ended, we started our youth ministry. After a light round of games, I happened to be put in the same group as the young man. There were 4 other youths and Pastor Saul, who helped translate. We went around sharing testimonies and I got to know that this young man was only 19, was from a neighboring rural village, and he was newly married. He shared of unspeakable injustices committed against him and his mother by his father, which had ultimately led both to flee their home. Even as things got worse, this young man told us that had made up his mind to believe in the Lord. He sincerely called out to God to help him in this desperate situation. At the end of his testimony, even though his story was full of so much darkness and chaos, this man shyly smiled at us and told us that his life was slowly getting better now and that he desired for God more. God had released powerful healing from the inside out in his small family. I was captivated the whole time hearing the translation from Pastor Saul. It was so amazing to witness the power of God’s love and glory. There was so much hope even in such futile situations. Where nothing and no one was willing to help, only God could show up to restore brokenness in such power.

As this was the last session of the day and literally the last agenda for our missions team for 2016, God truly and literally ended the year in the strongest way possible. It was only later that I kept thinking about the scripture that states that our God takes us from glory to glory. It left me wondering that if what we had experienced and witnessed was just one level of glory, then where would He take us next? His promise is that it only gets better. And this left me excited and completely amazed. I could only but lift up thanksgiving and praises to God, and I can say that I have complete faith in the glory that will unfold next.

My missions experience with New Philly has opened up my eyes to how God can use any willing son or daughter as His priests, to minister to the lost and those who need hope. It was encouraging to see that assignment isn’t based on experience or on how well we’ve studied the Bible, but rather He is capable of using our particular strengths for His kingdom. Possibly every single member will agree, that though we had been sent to give, in actuality we have received so much more— more understanding, more desire, more courage, more wisdom and just a greater faith in our God. I’m already thinking about where I will be sent next and I’ll gladly go!