My Mission to Nepal, 10 to 21 September 2018

October 8, 2018Tim in 1977

It always feels a bit strange to be back in my office after a mission is over. The time of preparation and anticipation is past, the adrenaline is all used up, and what's done is done. As Ecclesiastes 11:3 says, "In the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be." Writing these reports is my way of "debriefing" in order to assess the successes and failures of the trip.

But before all that, many thanks to you who held me and this mission in your prayers. I believe it made a difference.

Special thanks to my friend Jeff Bass for accompanying me on this trip. Jeff is one of those friends "that sticketh closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24). I've known him for over 35 years, and we've been through many turbulent times in our search for the actual way, truth, and life of which Jesus spoke. This was his first international mission trip and first visit to a third world country, but honestly, you would never know it. He took it all in stride, and I was grateful for his company. I like being with someone who enjoys a good laugh, and we found a lot to laugh about – mostly ourselves.


flight planThe most strenuous part of the mission was getting there. Things started out well enough. Jay Pearson was so kind as to drive us to the airport in New Orleans, and the flight took off on schedule [Figure A]. 3 ½ hours and about 1400 miles later, we were in Boston – my first time in the state of Massachusetts since I was two years old (I was born in Worcester). But the brief layover barely gave me time to visit the restroom, much less my roots, and we were soon on board for the 6,662 mile, 12 ½ flight to Dubai [Figure B].

We arrived in Dubai at 7:30 PM local time Friday. After getting through passport control, we had to collect our bags in order to recheck them to Kathmandu. But that flight wasn't scheduled to leave until 2:00 AM, so we had a lot of time to kill. But just finding our way to the next terminal was no easy feat. That terminal was a dumpy little building with two overpriced snack shops. We were already worn out from the long Transatlantic flight, and there wasn't a comfortable seat to be found. There we waited... and waited... and waited for the check-in counter to open.

The scheduled time for departure came and went, and eventually we saw a group of very annoyed people surrounding an agent of Royal Nepal Airlines. "Soon," he said again and again. But by 3 AM, the flight was officially canceled and the airlines began making arrangements to find a hotel for all the disgruntled would-be passengers. Jeff and I wheeled our luggage outside (it was around 90° even at that late hour!) and stood back as everyone scrambled to get themselves and their luggage aboard the bus to the hotel. (I don't know what it was, but it seemed like every homeward-bound Nepali was carrying a new flat-screen television!) The bus would load up, drop off, and return in about 45 minute cycles on a first-shove, first serve basis. We kept waiting for the crowd to thin down but it never did, and after about two hours, I had the bright idea to find out where the bus was going and take a taxi there. By the time we checked into our room, it was nearly 5 AM.

Breakfast was scheduled for 7 AM, and if we weren't so hungry we might have skipped it. But after a short nap we went for a bite (it was worth it!). We were told to be ready to return to the airport by 9 AM. Nine turned to 10, and 10 turned to 11. Around noon we were taken to the airport and we finally were able to check in our bags. The departure sign said 2 PM. 2:00 came and went, as did 3:00 and 4:00 without any word about what was going on. A sudden announcement at 5:00 directed us to a bus to bring us to the tarmac to board the plane, and the 4 ½ hour, 1862 mile flight to Kathmandu finally began [Figure C].

We landed in Nepal around 2:30 AM local time, and within the hour we'd made it through passport control and collected our bags. Pastor Sabdong Tamang helped us find our way to the Orchid Home Bed and Breakfast in Lalitpur. By 4:30 AM, Jeff and I were checked into our rooms. It had been 48 hours since we left Louisiana. I get tired just thinking about it!


Sunday was a day to rest and recover. We did a bit of sightseeing mainly for the exercise. Jeff got acquainted with Dinesh and Shushobini Shakya, the couple who run the Orchid Bed and Breakfast, and met their 15-year-old daughter Shreeja, who is a very talented artist. On a previous trip, I'd told the Shakyas about Jeff, and I had showed Jeff the painting done by Shreeja that hangs in my dining room. Jeff was so impressed by her work that he came all the way to Nepal to give Shreeja some advanced drawing lessons to fine-tune her already developed skill. Jeff tutored Shreeja for an hour or two almost every night we were in Kathmandu. I believe the time was greatly rewarding for them both. (Search Facebook for "Jeffrey Bass Fine Art Portraiture & Subject Paintings" to see samples from both artists).

As for me, I'd come to Nepal to teach at the Nepal Presbyterian Theological Seminary with the understanding that I would be instructing the first, second, and third year students collectively for two weeks. This was my second time teaching at NPTS and I was intent on improving my presentation from the first time I was there. In fact, I dedicated most of the year to preparing new PowerPoint lessons for this event beginning with The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, continuing with In the Power of His Might, and concluding with The Week of Millenniums. (The classes are designed to be taken in that order, as each one builds on the one before.)

But on Sunday, I heard news that threw my original plans out the window. One of the other teachers decided he needed another week to finish his class. This meant the third-year students would not be joining my class until my second week of teaching. Now I had to rethink my entire presentation.

So in the first week I taught the first and second year students. They heard The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ and the beginning of In the Power of His Might. In the second week, I taught the third-year students in the morning, and everyone together in the afternoon. In the mornings, I retaught The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, and in the afternoons, I finished teaching In the Power of His Might. Then I taught The Week of Millenniums to the third year students.

Of course, these changes made things much more difficult for me, but I did my best to "roll with the punches." The PowerPoint slides I prepared were helpful, and I think most of the students enjoyed the lessons they heard. But the language barrier was a big problem for some of the younger students. Some had difficulty with my American accent, and others had problems with English altogether. They would have been better served if I used an interpreter, but that was not possible. Pastor Sabdong was rarely in class, tied up by the ongoing construction of his new house. There were other things I could have done better, such as organizing discussion groups to review the lessons. These are improvements I hope to make before, God willing, the next time I teach in Nepal.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the school held a chapel service at mid-morning that took precedence over the classroom activities, and I was asked to bring a message for those four services. To be honest, my head was spinning trying to keep up with everything. For example, on the second Tuesday I started the day with a lesson from The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, taught a "stand-alone" message at chapel, and then did another lesson on The Principles before lunch. After lunch I continued with In the Power of His Might. I have to admit I enjoyed the challenge.

On Saturday morning, I was invited to speak at the Anglican Church in Nepal, pastored by Reverend Prem Tamang. I enjoyed meeting this man and was inspired by his work. I consider myself much more of a classroom teacher than a church preacher, and I find "one-off" teachings very challenging but I think my message was well-received and appreciated. I think an audience gives a guest preacher about two minutes of grace while they decide whether he is worth listening to. It always amazes me how, with the help of the Holy Spirit and because of the universality of God's Word, a complete stranger can make a profound connection with a people of an entirely different culture.


I cannot think of a single time when I came home from a mission fully satisfied with what took place. I love what is written in the Bible, and I believe that any time the Word of God is presented, it can be a life-changing experience. I realize the Holy Spirit has ultimate jurisdiction over that, but this is what I press for.

I am thankful for the Presbyterian churches in South Korea that sponsor this seminary, and I have nothing but admiration and appreciation for the work that goes on at NPTS under the governorship of Dr. Prakash Lama. He is a kind and generous man, full of good fruit.

The students and staff are a delight to be around, and I thoroughly enjoy their spirit. The challenge of being Christian in Nepal is daunting. These men and women need to walk with wisdom, courage, and faith that most Christians will never know. I believe the Word of God infuses a person with these qualities, so I am humbled and honored to be allowed to contribute to their spiritual development.

And so, dear readers, thank you for your contributions toward this adventure. I realize that in the grand scheme of things, my work is pretty "small potatoes." I don't own a jet; I fly economy class. I don't teach thousands; I teach tens. But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and I do what I do. So long as I am allowed, I will continue ...

In the service of His Majesty, the King of kings,

Here are a few PHOTOS and STUDENT TESTIMONIES from this event.