I sat in the backseat of a taxi with my two small children this past week in route to the Fun Park to run them out in hopes that they would succumb to the afternoon nap and I could, consequently, have a few sweet minutes of peace to myself. That plan only succeeded in the case of one child. He’s the one who keeps me either chasing him or cleaning up his messes all day, so I was thrilled, but the one who stayed awake so sweetly asked me to exercise with her. She is a total slave driver, so my dreams of sipping coffee and reading crashed somewhere between cardio boot camp 1 and 2.
Back to the taxi. Sweating as I attempted to keep my squirmy worms on their bottoms with hands off all that does not belong to them, I attempted to keep up my end of the conversation with our courier. He asked the general questions. “Where are you from? What are you doing here? What do you do for work?” as well as the other less common but still frequent, “Why do you like Nepal? Do you not like to live in America?” In other words, “What’s wrong with you?” I love this because it’s a wide open door for me to share the gospel. “Well, I’m glad you asked because my husband is a preacher! He teaches the Bible. Do you know what the Bible is?”
Bumping along the roads of Kathmandu, this conversation, though incessantly interrupted, carried on. I found out he lived in the area of our church plant, and I invited him to come to our Easter service where we would be talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection. I’m not sure why I was shocked that He had never heard of Easter. It is not a holiday that is widely celebrated here. You don’t even see Easter eggs or bunnies no matter how hard you look (unless you count the bunnies at the pet shop my children make me stop to see EVERY DAY).
This is the reality of many around the world. Not a hardened heart to the gospel message (though that is the case for many and most) but a total ignorance of the message of the Cross. And not a blissful ignorance, either. There is an innate sense of our wrongness. No matter how much we are taught the message that man is inherently good or capable of doing great things, ultimately we know that there is sin and darkness inside and something needs to be done about it. So we work and do good the best we know how, but that sense doesn’t go away. It keeps us up at night. It keeps us restless, searching for a peace to replace the hopelessness that comes with the reality of our total inability to remedy our despicable state.
He told me that he is unhappy. That he does not like living in his home country and is disappointed in the current status of his place of dwelling and its inhabitants. He thought the answer might lie in the bustling streets of Delhi or the heaven he has heard of since his youth: America (oh, and by the way, could I help him get there?). I shared with him that I have traveled to many places and lived in a few. I’ve seen problems all over the world because every man is a sinner. I told him that America is a pretty terrible place, and though I love it as my home, I see its flaws in plain view. He didn’t believe me.
He didn’t come to church on Easter either. I hope he will come some day. I pray that his eyes and ears will be open to hear the truth that’s hard to face: he is the problem. I had to reckon with that a long time ago (and I am reminded of it at least daily). I pray that he will realize that though the specific sin that resides within is thirty-something years old, this standard sickness has been around since the beginning. But, praise God, the solution has been around even longer.
I’m not sure I’ll recognize him if he finds his way to darken the doors of our church. I only saw the back of his head and his curious brown eyes observing me in his rearview mirror. I wished him a happy new year (it’s 2074 here, you guys!) and did my best to keep a hold on both my kiddos as they bounded off to Zippy Playland with my dreams of a lazy afternoon still in tact.