Teaching In Nepal
I few months ago I wrote on here about an upcoming trip to Nepal. My post came in the form of a passionate plea for support and I think it’s only fair that this blog too becomes host to a report back now that I’ve been and gone. To whet your appetite, I think this recent short-term missions trip was the best I’ve ever been on.
If you know me well you’ll know that I’ve been teaching in a Bible school for the last two years, but for the last ten years I’ve nurtured an interest in the plight of women around the world. With this year’s opportunity to lead a Bible teaching mission trip I wondered if these two passions could be combined. Could we go and teach the Bible specifically to women who are restricted from greater Biblical education? It’s no secret that girls around the world are statistically more likely to be held back from school than boys. I wondered what effect this was having within the Church. Are girls too being held back from the richness of studying God and Biblical history for themselves?
With a backpack full of questions (ha) I headed to Nepal with my student Andrew. We taught how to understand and study the Bible to groups who were majority women. We even had a female translator. I was humbled by their hunger to learn; one of our students bussed for four hours a day to join our seminars. Most impactful for me was having a few illiterate women attend our class. For cultural or circumstantial reasons these women never learned to read or write - they are now in their forties. Their ability to grapple with studying the Bible for themselves was severely limited by their lack of ability to read. They quietly fumbled through the Bible to find passages we pointed to whilst everyone else opened to the right page with ease. Describing concepts like ‘historical background’ and ‘context’ was hard because these women weren’t familiar with these Nepali words. Me and Andrew spent time passionately convincing our group that Bible study is hugely important and at one point one of the ladies asked us, “What if you want to study the Bible but you can’t read. Does God understand?”. We wept.
For me, our time in Nepal opened my eyes to see the plight of women who can’t read or write, and how that is affecting and shaping the Church around the world. I can’t stop thinking about it. One of these ladies drew a picture of me, Andrew and our translator (above) and gave it to me. I’ve framed it and put it on the desk in my office.