It was the end of Tylar’s three months in Nepal. His team of seven had packed up, finished with on-site debriefing and was ready to return to the good ‘ol USA. For those of you who have never been to Nepal, it’s a small, mountainous country in the Himalayas. It’s the third poorest nation in the world, and your first reaction getting off the plane might be, “Wow, this place is dusty.” Walking down the dirt road, you may get distracted by a wide city scape full of bright buildings and elaborate decorum, and then trip over a pile of trash. The Nepali people provide their city with “color amongst the dust,” according to Tylar; your eye is always pulled from one place to the next picking up on beautiful fabrics, paint, and people.
Nepalis take their time They’re extremely hospitable to each other and foreigners, are full of smiles, and so very kind. Tylar says the people are what catches your eye most. As you look across the expanse of color hemmed in by beautiful green mountain ranges, amidst wild cars with honking horns and whiffs of who knows what, you’ll see clumps of students walking, buddhist monks in pairs, mothers laughing outside their homes with their children, and taxis waiting on customers in groups. Nepalis love community and value relationships so much that they might come one to two hours late because they don’t want to leave the present moment with the person they’re with.
Tylar’s team had seen so much over outreach, and most of it unexpected. We have many missions teams that come back to our YWAM Kona base talking about how they saw hundreds of healings and salvations; our missionaries working there long term see similar fruit daily. This team, however, found open doors continually to churches, and spent most of their time training and equipping believers to follow Jesus and disciple their Nepali friends and families. One of the churches shared before the team left about the direct fruit the team’s discipleship seminars had. Their teaching times would run hours long because no-one wanted to leave: the Nepalis were so hungry to learn how they could impact people for the Gospel. The church shared that these Nepalis had already begun Jesus’ commision in Matthew 28:16 to go and make disciples, baptizing them.
In Nepal, many people don’t go to church because they have a deep desire to honor their families, but they are totally free to go to “Jesus settings” in homes, where they can learn about God and how to live from the place of His love.
As we’re reflecting together about his outreach, Tylar tells me he loves “the fact that Nepali people are equipped to [disciple and follow Jesus] without me...because I’m not in Nepal anymore. That’s the crazy faithfulness of God, because the Gospel is continuing without me doing anything.”
So our sweet YWAM team, at peace with their time in Nepal and in awe of what He did in the past three months, is now ready to go home. Do any of you readers remember hearing about a “plane crash” in Nepal about a year ago? Well….the day the team was meant to leave, a plane had a funny landing on the very short runway and got a flat tire. Everyone on board was fine, but it was the only plane flying in and out, the runway was a little messed up, and there wasn’t any of the needed machinery to fix it. Hello, third world. The team didn’t know it then, but they wouldn’t leave Nepal for three extra days while they waited for the needed machines to be TREKKED by foot, donkey, and sometimes truck, across the Himalayan mountains.
They had already said goodbye to all their friends, cleaned out their apartment, and here they were - stuck for an unforeseeable amount of time, waiting. I was in constant communication with our school’s travel agent, who suggested they send part of the team every day to the airport to check in on the progress and possibility of flying out, because there wasn’t an efficient way for him to contact the Nepali airport directly. (Before you go feeling horrible for this poor stranded team, they were totally fine. They had a place to stay, food, money, friends, and plenty of Settlers of Catan to keep them company, so don’t worry.)
The team went out that night to what they called the “tourist ghetto” for some food with friends. Tylar often got picked out by drug dealers, and this particular time was the same. He says he was “walking with a friend from Egypt, and a drug dealer asked me if I wanted his goods.” He jokes with the guy for a while, but says “before I know it, me and my two guys [from the team] were talking with him about how we’re missionaries and we love Jesus. He had a bad taste in his mouth about Christians, but was really open. We prayed for healing in his torn calf muscle, and I asked if he feels any better.”
“He doesn't answer.”
“So I ask again, and he says, so so tenderly, ‘I feel something happen in heart.’” Tylar’s British teammate, Joel, says, “That’s the Holy Spirit bro!” The three missionaries told the man about the truth of Jesus’ love and he then embarked on a journey of discovering the God who had truly just met him in the Bible.
Tylar stops for a minute, as if he really wants me to get what he’s about to say. “We asked ‘were you healed,’ and he said, ‘but, my heart.’” Tylar laughs, and says, “So we don’t even know if he got healed.” I know Tylar’s seen a lot of healings, including his own. I know he has tremendous faith to see God move, and is undeterred when it doesn’t work fully in a moment when he prays. He had explained to me earlier in our interview that healing “is a sign and a wonder. A sign that God is real, and makes you wonder about Jesus.” Some legend of the faith said that sometime.
Tylar tells me, “God wants to show his love and realness to people in the physical...But physical healing is never the end goal. It’s always deeper revelation of Jesus.”
“God is always up to something greater than I could imagine in that moment.” Tylar says we as believers need to be obedient to God’s leading, but that “we only see so far. Maybe it’s only the first step.” You can’t often see you’re smack dab in the middle of the dream he gave you until you look back.
Remember earlier, Tylar said that being friends with Jesus and obeying is like “walking up onto a party you didn’t know was there”? In this story, Tylar and his team’s first step following the Lord’s lead was praying for a drug dealer’s hurt calf. What they couldn’t see was that God was looking at the man’s heart and calling him into relationship in a deep way.
Jesus desires to know every person, and wants all to know His love - it’s what He came for. Sometimes that means he’ll heal a wounded knee or even cancer, but other times he’ll heal a broken heart or reveal his true love, and someone’s day and life will be changed forever.
By the way, the team left and was able to make it back for debrief with the rest of our Discipleship Training School just fine, with extra stories and “I was stranded in Nepal” credit for life. Two thumbs up.
I asked Tylar if he had any last words:
"Go on adventures with Jesus.” Keep your ears open, ask Jesus when you get to the store, “What are you already doing in this place?” and let him open your eyes to a party you didn’t know was there.
Isaiah 30:21 // "Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left."
So go for it.
Lean into the audacity of Jesus, and look for that audacious party he’s throwing in the middle of your supermarket, work meeting, or neighborhood BBQ.
Take the first step. He'll use it.
Expect God to do things, but expect even more for Him to surpass your expectations.
You just may look back and realize He fulfilled the dream that had always been on your heart.
May Jesus reign in the world!
Psalm 147:3 // He heals the brokenhearted, and bandages their wounds Isaiah 61:1/Luke 4:18 He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted
Mark 3:1-6 // Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath
Luke 12:11-12 // When you are brought before the synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say. For at that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say.
John 10:10 // He came that we may have life abundant.
John 15:11 // I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
the audacious gospel
It's real. God is able. And He is moving.