By Jana Harrelson
Southwest Baptist University
A team of Southwest Baptist University students learned to stand firm in faith while serving the Lord in Nepal this summer.
Students prayer-walked and helped a village with its wheat harvest. "While building relationships and covering the village with materials, we ended up spending a good amount of time in a small teashop," student David Ginnings of Camdenton said.
The teashop owner was an older lady who was interested in having her children become more educated in English. Ginnings and the team translator volunteered to teach English lessons and showed the "Jesus" film in the shop the next evening.
"Word traveled fast in the small village and many people in addition to our students showed up," Ginnings said.
Word reached a neighboring village – home of the military training center and the regional government. The following day, Nepali Army officials were sent to investigate.
The group learned that two army officers were waiting in front of the teashop with some materials the team had distributed.
The team's Nepalese contact suggested that only two Americans and two nationals talk to the officers. Team leader Kevin Hill, Ginning and two translators prepared for the two-hour trek.
The group decided that if the four members did not return by 6 p.m., remaining team members should "figure something out."
"Our pace was brisk, but the conversation still," Ginnings said. "The Scripture that I had meditated on that morning, Isaiah 7:9, repeated firmly in my mind, 'If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.'"
After meeting with two students from the Bible Institute and four team members, the officers eventually escorted the delegation to the regional government headquarters.
"As we entered the government confines, the streets were laced with men and automatic weapons," Ginnings said.
While the translators spoke with a high-ranking official, the two team members were lead into holding cells surrounded by concrete walls and barbwire.
The official decided students from the Bible Institute had to leave the village and return home. The SBU team was allowed to stay but they had to surrender their materials and were no longer allowed to preach the gospel.
As the four prepared to return to their team, they prayed for the Lord to reveal His purpose for the obstacle.
Team members visited with the officers escorting them. "Both of them spoke a fair amount of English and were eager to engage in small talk," Ginnings said.
As they approached the teashop, members asked if the officers wanted to stop for some tea, a common practice in Nepal. Over tea, the translators shared their testimonies with the Nepali officers.
"We were in the teashop for over an hour, and the officers were obviously moved and sincerely prayed with us. When we were finished they proclaimed, 'Your God is the one true God!' I could not believe what I was seeing," Ginnings said.
"They told us to continue to preach this message, but be very cautious with the materials," Ginnings said.
After thanking the officers, the group praised God and joined their fellow team members at exactly 5:59:59 p.m.