Nepal Mission Cancelled Again

March 9, 2020

I guess the title line says it all. For the second time, I have been asked to postpone my March mission to Nepal. The first time was because of the threat of persecution from radical Hindus. This time it is because of the virus that is dominating the news. The Nepalese government is closing schools, and making extra effort to secure their borders. As a result, the principal of the Bible school has advised me to postpone the trip.

I certainly understood his decision. I would not want to be responsible for hosting a foreigner during such a precarious time. Nepal is a third-world country, and if an outbreak were to occur, the local clinics would undoubtedly be the most dangerous places in the city, mostly because of the panic.

Of course I am disappointed. Teaching at the Bible school in Kathmandu is one of the greatest joys of my life, and I have been (as the Beatles might say) "working like a dog" to get all my lessons ready. Psalms, check. 1 Timothy, check. Titus, Philemon, check. Late Saturday afternoon, I put the wraps on my final lesson for 2 Timothy, and planned to devote Monday and Tuesday to packing before flying out Wednesday.

The call from the principal came late Saturday night. Thankfully, I purchased travel insurance so my ticket price will be refunded.

Even with the voice of reason whispering in my ear, it is still very difficult for me to stay home. There are many things I can be rightfully criticized for, but I KNOW that I trust God. I try  to acknowledge God in all my ways, and let him direct my paths (Prv 3:5, 6). But such is “the iniquity of the holy things” (Ex 28:38) that our best virtues can be twisted by pride. Trust gives way to pride, and pride gives rise to “presumptuous sins” (Ps 19:13). Pride would like me to say, “If God be for us, who can be against us!” without making sure that God is really for what I’m about to do.  (About 18 years ago, I wrote a pretty good sermon on this called “The Sin of Presumption.”  

To be honest, sometimes it is hard for me to know whether I am hearing the voice of the Spirit saying “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Josh 1:9), or if I am hearing the devil saying, “If thou be [a true believer], cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee” (Lk 4:9-11). It is one thing to be brave, and quite another to be foolish.

Ecclesiastes 7:17
Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?

As it stands, I am glad the decision was made for me. God willing, I will be ready when the door opens again. My return to Tanzania in May is also on hold for now.  

Please pray with me:

Lord Jesus, we love you and want to serve you. Thank you for keeping us from presumptuous sins, and for helping us to recognize your still small voice. We pray for our brother, Rev. Prakish Llama, the principal of Nepal Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and ask you to help him in the many decisions he must make in the upcoming weeks. We also pray for the staff and students of the college, and ask you to keep them healthy and safe. We pray for your people around the globe, and pray that we respond to these current affairs by drawing ever closer to you. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.



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