During the last 8-9 months of the curriculum at Nepal Center For Biblical Study [NCBS] we took our six students out on five campaigns to village congregations outside the Kathmandu Valley. One of these campaigns included two visiting American teachers. There were multiple services to provide, multiple lessons to teach and also to learn, and multiple areas for growth. One area that had a strong impact on each of our six preacher students, our regular teaching staff, and the visiting teachers was the young people in each of these congregations. Each trip back to Kathmandu included conversations about the enthusiasm of these young people, the need to do more for them, and different ways NCBS could include them as part of our ministry.
Last week we found the window of time and added the planning and preparation to meet this need. Every year there is a huge national and Hindu holiday during late September and early October. All the schools close. Every part of the Nepal community is affected in many ways.
Last week NCBS hosted a four day Youth Week. About 35 young people, ages 14-22, were invited from outside the Kathmandu Valley. Some of them had to walk three days to get from their village to where they could catch the bus. The school paid for their transportation and meals, and provided lodging at the school. It was a little crowded but even that seemed to add to the adventure and the enjoyment of fellowship with new friends. We also had about 20 local young people come each day.
The theme of our lessons centered on the book of Genesis. These students were encouraged to read Genesis at least twice before coming to Kathmandu. The students were to come prepared to engage in “active learning” through discussion and questions/answers. Each morning we had three classes related to the stories and lessons from Genesis [12 total] taught by seven men. Each morning ended with the girls having a class taught by one of the ladies and the “gents,” as they are referred to in Nepal, having their separate class. Lunch for about 75 was served each day. We had more adult guests than expected. They were welcome but had to sit in the back and listen.
The first three afternoons began with a film in the Nepali language about Jesus. The students discussed it among themselves with very little teacher activity. They did a great job of teaching one another. Then came the games, relays, and silliness. Eight teams were formed by drawing names. This helped in make new friends and heightened the excitement level. They had so much fun that each day when it was time for the local young people to go home, they begged to stay and have more group activities.
We planned to also have a film and complete the games on the fourth day but we had to alter those plans. All the young people, the teachers, plus other adults walked 25 minutes to catch a bus that would take everyone to the river where 13 young people, ages 14-20, were baptized into Christ. The river bank was the scene of the final group fellowship, singing, and saying “good-bye”. The mixture of laughter, tears, smiles, and hugs were all reflections of joy.
It is often said that our youth is our future church. Last week was a touching reminder of that truth, and also a glorious encouragement to the youth ……… as well as to all the active adults.