A group of 15 members from Plains Presbyterian Church in Cranberry Township (Beaver-Butler Presbytery) traveled to the hills of Ilam, Nepal, for 10 days in September to experience the culture, connect with the community, support local missions and make new friends. The trip was made possible thanks to a Synod of the Trinity Mission Travel Grant.
As representatives of Plains Church, the group’s goal was to improve the lives of the children in Ilam and surrounding communities by working with the International Children’s Network. That was done by improving the living conditions there, offering God’s love in the form of gifts, showing God’s love as the group served in the communities, sharing their table with the children as Jesus shared his table with us, and acting as they felt God was leading them.
“We saw God at work in how our expectations were exceeded and our humility stretched,” one member of the group said. “From the way the children welcomed us, and through their welcome preached Christ without words, to the ways the community made us feel like we were part of them despite the language barrier, and even in the slower pace of life, God was active with us at every turn. God’s presence helped us to take the focus off us as individuals, and to see where we can help meet the needs of the community in some small way that might seem insignificant to us, but to them, was transformational.”
The church already had connections with the area through a local youth pastor in Kathmandu and a relationship with the International Children’s Network, which organizes the Matsiko World Orphan Choir, which consists of 25 children from Peru, Liberia, India and Nepal joining together with the universal language of music and hope. The choir has been hosted by the Plains Church, which has escorted the group back to their hometowns and helps with arrangements, guides, lodging and food.
Once the group from Plains Church arrived in Nepal, it began building and repair work in the community and helped with school and new church construction. They also spent time visiting families in the region while hosting and sponsoring children. There was time spent supporting a dentist’s mission and connecting with local dentists while also establishing relationships and partnering with the public school.
The group was also quick to establish a relationship and partner with the public government while also being active in the local Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.
“Others saw gratefulness in the Nepali as we did simple things for them or gave them meaningful gifts. They were appreciative of the simple things. It made us realize that we should be grateful to God for the smallest of gifts.”