Written by Joe LeMaster
In September 2010, my wife and I were at a Board meeting of the international mission that sent us to Nepal in 1990. For almost a year, we’d been diligently seeking the Father’s heart about the next few years of our lives. We’d returned from Nepal in 2000 after a decade of service there, and settled into lives and jobs in Columbia, Missouri, a mid-west college town. I was reasonably successful as tenured faculty member at the University of Missouri School of Medicine and my wife as a nurse at a local hospital and a teacher for Community Bible Study. Our kids had grown and flown, and it looked like we were going to be there until retirement.
That all changed at the Board meeting. One of our fellow Board members introduced us to some Bhutanese refugees to whom she was ministering in Loudonville, NY. The moment we met them, we were smitten…these were not the erudite Nepalese PhD students we’d met in the mid-west, who were well-off and worldly-wise. These were ‘people of the land’, poor hill-dwellers like those with whom we’d worked in rural Nepal. They spoke like them, they dressed like them, they were like them in every sense that had mattered to us. We were deeply moved at meeting them.
About 2 weeks later, we were in KC for my 25th medical school re-union. That weekend, we met a young couple working in KCK, named David and Holly Stetler, who were living and working there… with Bhutanese refugees.
We began to gingerly knock on doors to see if they would open to join them in KCK, and one after another they did so, beckoningly. The Stetler’s missional team opened their arms wide to us. KU Medical Center offered me a job to do refugee healthcare.
Finally, we sold our house on a lake in the country. We quit our jobs in Columbia, MO. We had bought a house in the KCK neighborhood where the Nepalese live. We believed God was with us. We took the leap of faith, and moved into the neighborhood.
We’ve been here about 2 months now. Gradually we are getting to know and love our new Nepalese neighbors, and our ‘Adelanté family’ who are planting a vibrant, young, missional gathering of believing Nepalese. We meet regularly to pray, crying out to God for grace to be his hands and feet here. We are learning to share life and work with our Nepali neighbors. And we rejoice with each small step towards Jesus that we see them take.
I wish I could say it was always easy because we believe God called us here. Some days it feels that way more than others. When I come out of my clinic after seeing Nepalese patients at KU Medical Center, I have to pinch myself that it is really happening…it is really sweet. A month ago, though, when one of our Nepalese friends committed suicide…not so much. But then I was able to collaborate with the leaders of the Bhutanese community and a local mental health clinic to write a grant to improve mental health services for Bhutanese refugees…the day we submitted that grant was a good day too.
Sometimes we struggle with something that feels a lot like culture shock, which we experienced when we moved to Nepal. We realize that we are weak, broken vessels, but ones through whom the Holy Spirit still wants to move. We believe it is His desire to call and mobilize local Bhutanese believers to embrace the Great Commission, to take the Gospel to their Nepali neighbors all over the world. We want to be a part of that…it would be our honor and joy.
It’s still early days for us…we are still in the adjustment period. We have stepped into a place where God alone is in control. Only He can bring to pass the change in He wants in us and in those whom He has called us to serve. And we are with Him here, sink or swim… and there is no place else that we would rather be.
In other news:
In other news:
- Both the Bhutanese and Latino outreach launches went really smoothly last week, much in part to very high-quality volunteers with servant's attitudes and a willingness to help in every way that they could! Thank you for praying for launches such as those we experienced!
- A group of 12 parents and kids from Heartland Community Church assembled 30 Canasta Basicas (bags of food staples) on Saturday morning, which will be made available to families in need through our Resource Center. Find out more about Canasta Basicas, and how you can assemble some of them at www.missionadelante.org/canastabasica.
- Please pray that several Hispanics in our Latino church will rise to invitations into leadership roles that they'll soon be offered for the first time.
- Praise God for facilitating the smooth launch to our Fall trimester last week.
- An appliance dolly to help move large and heavy items in our Resource Center. Please contact Molly at 913-281-6274 x5.
- Staff Open Houses: Saturday, November 19, 3:00-6:30, Kansas City, Kansas