I thought I was excited about Jesus. I thought I was in love with the Gospel. I thought I was passionate about the Word. But then I preached my first sermon to a room packed with 400 young people from all over Nepal, India and even Tibet.
It was the Nepali Youth for Christ Convention. This was truly an historical event—the very first nationwide gathering of Adventist youth in the history of the region.
Some of these young people traveled two days by foot to hear the preaching of the Word. Some sat on the floors of crammed, stinky buses which rattled through pitted, rutted gravel roads for two days to attend these meetings.
A visit to the accommodations was in order. Attendees slept on cement floors with a thin mat and a blanket. Let’s just say it was a bit different than the Marriott and Hilton that most of us are used to at our various conventions. But that’s how they roll in Nepal. They were hungry. Not for food, but for God. They came for a spiritual revival.
It was all so inspiring, so humbling. Seriously, what kind of sermons do you preach to a crowd like this? No pressure, right? “Jeffrey,” I thought to myself, “you better have something seriously important to say!”
God stood next to me as the Comforter, and—praise His Name!—the Word came to His people.
And man, they ate it all up. “They received the message with great eagerness” (Acts 17:11).
But by the end of the whole week, what touched me the most was the small group of youth who were responsible for organizing and executing this monumental event. The team was made up of eight members ages 16-21. The president is an 18 year-old girl. For real. But not the kind you’re used to. Trust me.
The level of spiritual maturity, dedication, and sacrifice that I saw in these youth was beyond amazing. These are, without question, some of the most earnest young Adventists I’ve met in ten years of youth ministry.
Take Flora. She’s a 20 year-old who helps run an orphanage. Get this: In her country, there are countless children who are born and raised in the prisons with their inmate mothers.
Flora’s orphanage ministers specifically to these children. For about $400 a child can have a place there for an entire year (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) On hearing this, I suddenly felt like Oskar Schindler at the end of Spielberg’s Schindler’s List: “This car, it’s worth ten people. This gold pin, it’s worth two more people.” I started thinking of my new camera, that’s two kids. My MacBook, that’s three kids.
And super needful.
In my world most twenty year olds are more interested in Lady Gaga’s new single, or the latest gossip on Facebook. Or some other inanity.
But this is Flora’s passion: people!
This is the kind of girl she is.
She’s a world-changer, straight up.
My translator was a 19 year-old named Philip (after conversion, many Christians here exchange their Hindu-god names for Christian ones). This kid blew me away. Two words sum him up: sincerity and zeal. His energy was so contagious that it scared my jet lag away. He’d heard many of my sermons online and could repeat whole sections back to me. He mentioned things I forgot I ever said. What an absolutely humbling privilege! What an honor to meet this young man, on the other side of the globe, and hear how much my ministry has blessed him!
I was moved beyond words. Truly, God is good.
Philip and his 18 year-old brother David (formerly, Krishna) are recent converts. They are developing into some seriously Spirit-filled preachers that will, I am confident, make a serious impact on their country. Their father was a witchdoctor who converted to Adventism. So what’s daddy up to now? Oh you know, studying to enter the ministry.
And all the people said… Halelujah!
Just 18 and 19. And what do these two brothers care about? What’s their passion in life? The Gospel.
I just received this message from Philip regarding feedback from the event:
Jeffrey… it brings tears to our eyes to hear them saying, “we were not a christian, but now we give our life to Jesus.” And many more life changing experiences. Thank you so much for all your help. Missing you. Your brother in Christ, Philip Dangal.
This is from a 19 year-old. A man of God. A leader.
If only I could clone him.
Nepal needs more Philips.
The world needs more Philips.
30 million people. The last Hindu kingdom. 330,000,000 gods worshipped.
Six ordained Adventist ministers.
Jesus had twice as many disciples!
It all sounds a bit discouraging.
But then there’s the Nepali Youth for Christ. God’s men and women. Only they’re teenagers, most of them. Holding the fort down. Doing the work of evangelists. Making full proof of their ministries. Modern Timothies (See 2 Timothy 4:5).
These are the young Christians I rubbed shoulders with. This is their world. A world very different from my own. But I hope to bring a piece of their world into mine. They touched me.
And I want their fingerprints to stick for a long, long time.
Read Part 1.