Above: A great class of MDiv students at Nepal New Covenant College.
Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ John 13:7
While I’m eager to share our recent ministry joys and challenges, I am distracted and discouraged by the news coming from Israel this week. It is time once again to write a prayer letter, but my own prayers have been focused on Israel and on the growing conflict there. All people of good will pray for peace, but like the protracted war in Ukraine, it is difficult to see how it may be achieved. God is indeed great, but human evil is still quite present in this world.
All the more reason to be engaged doing what we are doing here in Asia! Last month Lisa and I were in Nepal for a week, teaching pastors and organizational leaders for their last term in a three-year Masters of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership. I taught the course on Fundraising, and Lisa taught a course on cross-cultural communication and leadership. The 11students in the program were thoughtful and highly engaged. . It was a great week, teaching alongside each other and getting to know the students in that context in Kathmandu. It was inspiring to hear the vision statements of the organizations represented in the cohort, ministries focused around serving teens, orphans, women at risk, and to mobilizing leaders into ministry and church planting.
At the end of the week, Lisa flew back to Kuala Lumpur while I went on to a second week of teaching at Nepal New Covenant College, which is a small school in Eastern Nepal. I had taught three courses there via Zoom (during the pandemic),but I had never been on the campus. I taught a course called, Personal Leadership: Navigating Life’s Turns and Disappointments. My previous courses at NNCC focused on leadership, but had been focused more on pastoral and organizational choices and insights. This course focused on topics of failure, burnout, fear, temptation, disappointment, disillusionment, suffering, and death. With all the negative topics, the course was an immense encouragement for students, and over 6 days we spent so much time in Bible study and discussing these challenging topics in deep ways. Almost every day there were moments of tears, or deep sharing, or thoughtful reflections on the parts of the students.
One theme for the week is captured in Jesus’ words to Peter, when he was washing the disciples’ feet and Peter was objecting. ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ We often experience the hard times mentioned above but our understanding of what God is doing in our lives at the moment is obscured. We don’t NOW know what he is doing, but often later we are given greater understanding and perspective. My hope for this course was to help the MDiv students (some of whom were already serving as pastors) have perspective on the hard aspects of their lives, past, present and future. Of course, the hope is that these discussions will bring them insight into the struggles and issues those they lead will also face. I have taught many different courses in the last three years—but this topic and cohort of students was one of my real favorites.
Of course, the topic also is personal to me, and perhaps to many, as the last three years, since the outbreak of COVID, have been a time of mostly not understanding what God is doing, but praying in hope to one day be able to understand. It feels to me that Lisa and I are in a time of reaping some of that understanding, as we are given many opportunities to make a real difference in the lives of students, pastors, and organizational leaders in Asia.
I have, on the side, been working on releasing short YouTube videos on some of my teaching topics. If you would like to see short summaries of some of the teaching I did in Nepal, the following videos cover scriptures that I studied with students.
Thank you for making our ministry possible through your gifts and prayers. We love to hear from you!
Rich and Lisa
Below, Alumni of my past NNCC courses want to take a picture with their professor. I had just presented them gift copies of my book (Sketches of Leadership, volume 1, books 1-3).
Rich and Lisa Lamb