We wish you all the joys of this holiday season, and hope December brings wonderful reunions with family and friends! We’ll send a family update later this month. I’m writing today though for a different reason: I want to share how excited I am to have an opportunity to invest in the vibrant, gifted leaders emerging to lead the church of Nepal. I have been invited to teach the first homiletics course offered by Nepal Theological Academy, a newly-formed consortium of five theological colleges in Kathmandu, which offers advanced theological education to current and future pastors. The church in Nepal is both flourishing and struggling. It is growing fast but faces many challenges, as it is oppressed by government and society. Many pastors are poor, and their families make great sacrifices to fund their seminary education. One way the seminary keeps its costs down is by utilizing professors from abroad who are willing to contribute without compensation. That’s where I come in. I will raise my own travel costs, and offer my teaching as a gift.
Since being invited by the dean during his visit to Pasadena last summer, I have grown in my interest in this beautiful country and its strong, resilient people. As you know, they suffered a terrible earthquake in April, 2015, and in fact two of the theological institutions which form part of the NTA consortium were seriously damaged. They are undaunted, but they do need partners who will come alongside them with resources. I am working with a team of South-Asian educators to create a curriculum for the course that is contextualized for the needs of Nepali pastors. As you may also know, Nepal is a country that my daughter, Becca, has come to love through her own short-term mission work there, and I am delighted that she can accompany me, though we will pay for her travel costs.
We are grateful to continue our membership with Paraclete Mission Associates, and for the resulting ease with which you may give to our account. Would you consider making a contribution toward the costs of my travel? My trip is not until March, but since many of you do end-of-year giving, I would love to be included in the various ways you may be generously investing at this time of year.
My budget is simple: I am seeking to raise $3,000 to cover airfare and travel costs in country, and to be able to make a gift of books and other supplies to the seminary.
Some of you have asked if or when we might be heading out into full-time missions. We have pursued that, but for now our best sense of God’s leading is that we are to be faithful in ministry settings locally and to say yes to invitations to invest internationally as often as we can. I am so grateful for your partnership in allowing me to say yes to this investment in Nepal, and for your prayers as I go.