>As part of our short-term mission trip preparation, I and five others from our college team visited a friend who leads a Nepali/Bhutanese church in Glen Ellyn, IL. This is nothing short of remarkable especially if you’re familiar with Glen Ellyn, and the wealth that it is known for. God has been doing amazing things with the Trinity International Baptist Mission, and I learned so much even from a short two-hour worship experience with them.
One of the things that impressed me so much was kindredness that I observed – the church gathered and they enjoyed being together. I don’t know if it’s the collect refugee experience that has tied them, the common homeland, or the common faith in Jesus – I’m sure it’s a combination of those and more. Still, it was beautiful to see a multi-generational gathering worshiping together.
The second thing I was reminded of was how much of the Bible could truly be taken at face value for many of these brothers and sisters. Their experience has been a hard one, but one filled with rich blessing and faithfulness. As the preacher shared yesterday, God has moved them all over the earth so that they might know him and live for him. When the Scriptures speak of being refugees and aliens (eg: 1 Pet 2:11), they have a far better reference point than I do.
The third thing I was reminded of was the beauty of the various expressions of what it means to worship Jesus as Lord. As we walked into the building, an African congregation was finishing their worship service as another Korean congregation was worshiping in another section. We walked into the Nepali service, and as we left that time, we briefly observed a Karen congregation worshiping. Talk about being a global church (building)! Phillip Jenkins and Soong Chan Rah have written some great books that have really opened my eyes to my own Western ethnocentrism when it comes to church life and theology, and I saw living proof that Jesus is indeed Lord of all the nations and is doing marvelous things again in our day as he draws the nations to himself.
I realized how much my own faith is near-sighted and incomplete without the testimony of my Nepali brothers and sisters showing me yet another facet of the beauty of Christ. Wherever you are in the journey of faith, I pray that you will not neglect putting yourself in experiences where the Lord might grow in you a robust, inter-cultural, and global faith that resemble Prabhu Yishu (the Lord Jesus) in all of his beauty.
Some recommended follow-up reading: