Beauty in the simple, light in the darkness, and friendship in the unfamiliar set the scene for God to bring redemption and renewal to those in Nepal and those commissioned to Nepal. I sat down with Jeremy Lupinacci, sophomore Bible major and co-leader for SMU’s summer 2017 Nepal trip, and Carly Michael, sophomore Business major and team member, to hear about how God ignited the hearts of a dark nation.
In the midst of ministry, the mist of spiritual darkness began to dissipate, unveiling the kindness that tends to tread unseen. Jeremy dug through and dusted off a memory from his large collection, one that read of a “love-filled, Spirit-filled, simple moment; no eloquence, just bonding over something as small as flowers.” God used Carly, one of the girls on the team, and her affinity for sunflowers to epitomize the littlest ways the gospel is lived and loved out. As they were traversing a trail, the curious youth led them through the fields of flora to a home that housed hospitality and overflowing laughter. The flood of love was one that overshadowed the cement walls that often causes us to cower in the shadows its casts upon us, namely differences in linguists, culture, and belief. But in His presence, peace transcends all.
A field of sunflowers in a Nepali village was the manifestation of God’s love. Carly’s last words to me were about these “sunflower moments in life,” the ones with an inner voice that says, “let’s just see and go.” Her, being an aficionado of sunflowers, mentioned how “nothing is ever wasted with God, every part of the sunflower is harvested.” How amazing that we have a God who takes every little detail of who we are and uses it to launch us into loving others better. How beautiful to glimpse the character of God who doesn't neglect our character in Him. God’s choice of medium in crafting his masterpieces is often the unexpected. The ebony is expected, but the simple sunflowers are what God carves into the backdrop.
The work with the local church had the underlying theme of enlightenment. Of it, Jeremy said, “there is no one perfect model [when it comes to] hearts unveiled to the truth. They are available and able. They’re ready to change their country.” The context of the Nepali church paralleled the state of recipients of Paul’s letters, and that is a starting point when it comes to praying for the spirit of Nepal. Before their five weeks in Nepal, Antioch Community Church in Fullerton commissioned them, and at the finale of five weeks, the Nepali church commissioned them once again back home. The local church understood the purpose of missions, that spreading the gospel is the outpour of desiring to delight God and delighting in God, not merely a change in location.
I asked Carly to paint the face of Nepal, and the first word that she uttered was “vibrant.” The miracle that God works through is changing the way we see His creation. We enter into the darkness with a sort of twisted familiarity, but if in a posture of availability and ability, we emerge with hearts that see the vibrance that reflects His first intentions with us. We’ll never come to grips with how He equips, but we can have a posture that resembles our readiness for God to do a good work in us.