Reflection on SOMA trip to Nepal
In the lead up to going to Nepal it became apparent to me that the upcoming mission was going to be something special for I noticed many spiritual attacks in the few weeks before leaving, culminating in Graeme getting COVID 5 days before we left. Therefore I had high expectations and yet having never been on a SOMA trip I was not able to really define those expectations. Irrespective I was not disappointed for God had much in store for us as we took on this adventure.
Like any new adventure several challenges arose before me. Firstly, I am a person who likes to be organised, engaging in much planning in any of the tasks I undertake. This level of planning was impossible for we had little information other than we would be talking at a women’s conference and visiting several places. When we met with the organisers of the conference on the first day in Nepal, we came away none the wiser which was somewhat unsettling. As a team, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we were able to develop a rough plan which for the most part came to fruition and not unexpectedly seemed to hit the spot with the women.
I was very conscious that we were entering another culture and that we would be relying on the use of interpreters. I was expecting very little English during our visit but on arrival was surprised to find a lot of English signs in the city. Many of the younger women had at least some understanding of spoken English for I was to learn that English is taught in most schools. When we visited the school run by the Nazarene church I was surprised when the primary aged children initiated a conversation with me in English. Their teacher actually confessed to me that her English was better than her Nepalese. On one level working with an interpreter wasn’t that difficult. The most challenging part for me was bringing my language down to a simple level. In my first talk on Hannah from 1 Samuel I struggled with this aspect and felt very disappointed with my performance and was ready to quit there and then! Thankfully the Holy Spirit through the challenges of our fearless leader, Liz, did not allow me stay in that space of self-pity for He had work for me to do. I was reminded to trust in Jesus and not myself and so I recovered and before I knew it, I found myself surrounded by eager women seeking prayer.
Wow! It was amazing! Here were women with very open hearts, hungry to be touched by the Lord. It was a new experience for me. In Australia my experience has more often been to be knocked back by Christians within the churches I’ve worked in when I have offered to pray for them. I have found non-Christian Australians to be more open to prayer. It was such an honour to be encircled by Nepalese women who were not only open but also expectant that my prayers would be answered. The reality of the Lord’s words to Paul ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9) became my reality as I ministered to these women. I felt a huge responsibility being the intercessor for these women especially around prayers for healing. One mother brought her son for healing prayer for a blood disease. I have never really considered myself as having the gift of healing and I felt a little overwhelmed that this mother was asking me to pray for him. Again I had to battle with my own self-doubt. I had to grow in my trust of Jesus, to remind myself that I was His vessel, and it was Jesus that was responsible for the healing and that healing would take place if it was His will. Many women came forward on both days seeking healing, spiritual growth and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. One young woman asked to receive Jesus into her life. Hallelujah!!1
One of the things I noted was how these women saw their situations through spiritual eyes, for example, several asked for prayer because they were struggling with distraction, so they asked for deliverance from distracting spirits. One woman, who has stayed on my heart, asked for prayer because her husband was into evil spirits. I remember thinking what a hard space that dear sister was in and how she needed our prayers for courage and protection. Another, woman held up a bottle of water and asked me to pray for her son. She believed that if I prayed over the water and he drank it he would be blessed At first I was unsure about praying over the bottle thinking I don’t want to reinforce potential magical thinking however the Holy Spirit brought to mind the following from the book of Acts 19:12 ‘so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.’ So again I was challenged to step out in faith and believe that Jesus could act through my prayer and meet whatever need this lady’s son had.
At first, I was worried that the women would not be able to understand my English spoken prayers however Liz told me just pray and so I did. On both days a minute or two into praying Jesus sent me one of the interpreters and it was such a privilege to pray together with them and it forged a great relationship with them especially the young girl who interpreted for me when I delivered my talk. It has been wonderful to keep in touch with them both. Toward the end of the ministry time on the second day when we thought we were done some women requested that Graeme pray for a woman at the back of the room that was clearly manifesting something that was not of God. I joined him and as we prayed this woman went from being physically contorted and stressed to being relaxed and at peace. God is good and He only has good for His people, and it was so uplifting to be part of His life-giving work.
I was also greatly uplifted by the joy the women had which was tangible in the way they worshipped. Worship was led by a team of young women and a few young men. Their exuberance in singing to the Lord was contagious. I really wanted to bundle them all up and bring them home to lead worship in our church. We were also blessed on both days with traditional Nepalese dancing which was delightful. It was also lovely to see several children at the conference who had come with their mothers. We hardly heard a peep out of them, and I was greatly impressed that they could sit through two days of talks without a fuss. It was lovely when mothers brought their children to be blessed during the ministry time.
Several young women reported that they had come out of Hindu families that had rejected them when they had become Christians. One young woman shared her story more fully. It was a heart wrenching story of difficult beginnings and of being stabbed at the age of 15. It was through nuns placing a bible on her wounds and praying for healing that brought her into the Kingdom of God. Despite having such a difficult beginning Jesus has done amazing things in her life. She has become an actress, has looked after orphan children and breeds dogs so that she can assist the poor who live around her. I offered myself and Graeme to become her family and she readily accepted. So now we are her adopted Aama (mum) and Buwa (dad). On our free day she invited us out to her farm where we were able to meet her husband and her adopted daughter. She and her husband were having marital difficulties and we were able to counsel them and pray for them. I really felt God working through us to help this couple. My prayer is that God will heal the rift in their relationship. I was overwhelmed when she and her daughter travelled one and a half hours by taxi (which would have been very expensive) to come to the airport to see us off. Such a sacrificial thing to do.
Visiting the school and bible college that Reverend Rinzi’s church has set up was very interesting. The bible college has 19 students some of which are still completing high school. The facilities at both the school and college were basic but the enthusiasm of the students certainly made up for this. On our final day we were invited by Reverend Rinzi to attend the Nazarene Church. This involved attending two services in Nepalese. Graeme and Liz were asked to preach. It was wonderful to be part of a church service that encompassed all age groups with young people predominant. We met the other ministers at the church. At the site was Reverend Rinzi’s home and accommodation for the orphaned children he and his wife had taken in. Over the years they have reared 70 orphans, many of whom are now adults, have faith in Christ and are active in the church.
If there were any doubts that it was God’s will for us to participate in this mission, they had completely evaporated by the end of our time in Nepal. It has been a life changing experience. Praise be to God!
By Susan Liersch – Team Member
One thought on “Sharing from Nepal – Susan Liersch”
Praise God for your wonderful encouraging testimony Susan.
I do believe you had a magnificent Team on this Mission !
Thank you Liz for great Leadership,
I’m sure this mission has Ripple effect through that nation like a wave of tsunami !
Blessings from your servants in Christ.