A gentle knock on my door woke me up from my slumber. I looked at my watch as it marked the second hour of March 20, 2018. The stars of a cloudless sky were shining strong at Foutainview. I remember that night very well. Procrastination to an extreme degree caught some of the senior guys, who had not packed their bags until earlier that morning. Excitement filled the bus as we left campus around 3:00 A.M. After a 13-hour flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong International Airport, we took a second flight to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city. We arrived just after midnight, March 22, and after much slow paperwork, we finally loaded the bus toward the hotel where we would spend the night.
The next few days were made of fun group activities, delicious food, hikes, visits to Buddhist temples, and of course, a lot of mission work.
Building relationships played a rather distinctive role in our mission work. In Nepal, open witnessing is prohibited; therefore, we made a special effort to witness to the hotel staff and to the bus driver and his assistant by becoming their friends; our actions were everything we could do to show others them the true love of God for them.
Some seniors remodelled the old ADRA building; others worked at the Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital in Banepa and witnessed doctors making life or death decisions; a few others helped build some new houses for poor neighbourhoods, which had collapsed due to the 2015 Nepal earthquake; and a smaller group conducted a VBS program to the village children.
On our last Sabbath there, we performed a small concert at the local church. The attendance was impressive. The crowd was extremely excited to hear Fountainview perform. After our last song “Saved by Grace,” our Head Dean made a final appeal. In midst of the crowd, with abundant tears in his eyes, was the assistant bus driver. What a joy it was to see him give his life to Jesus!
The time our class spent together helped us work better together and to create meaningful friendships. Early every morning, a few of us made our way up to the hotel rooftop, where we happily enjoyed every sunbeam rising from behind the smog-covered valleys and mountains.
Two weeks flew by and soon we found ourselves sitting on an airplane to fly back home. Before we left for Nepal, we thought we would change people lives, but after we departed, we realized that our lives were changed as well.
Souvenirs, pictures and smiles were only part of what we brought back to Canada with us. Memories are what we can all cherish the most. Memories of the assistant bus driver giving his life to Jesus; of Paul giving his Bible to a young boy that wanted to know more of Jesus; of sharing lunch with the kids around the neighbourhood; that is what matters the most to me. The people’s smiles will forever be engraved in my mind. But even better, I cannot wait for that bright and cloudless morning when in heaven we will meet all those that we served at that poor village in the distant country of Nepal.
-Pedro L., Grade 12