Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nepal Pt 6: Shopping with Jesus

Yesterday I taught my class how disciples make disciples, using a little handbook: ‘Come Follow Me’ I’d written some years ago. I encouraged the students to be ready to not only preach the gospel to unbelievers, but then lead new believers into a real practical walk with Christ.
Later in the afternoon, Prem and I motor-biked into the heart of Kathmandu. He drove and I clung on to the back of the bike, through congested traffic and potholes! You never know what the day holds in unpredictable Kathmandu: things can change drastically just around the next bend in the road, both naturally and spiritually.
We got into Thamel, the Hippie-Heaven backpack centre of the city, changed dollars into Nepalese Rupees and walked about, looking for changes since I was last here 2 years ago. Not much: same tourist books, knick-knacks, ‘spiritual’ 3rd Eyes, and quirky oriental mystical methodologies parading professions of enlightenment (?).
We wandered among the shops with no special goal in mind, just enjoying being led by the sights and sounds. Soon we came across a shop with a box out front filled with cute children’s animal-shaped toques and a sign: 150 NR. That’s only about $1.50 each, pretty cheap I thought, so I stopped to look through them.
The shopkeeper came out; I asked how much they cost, hoping to get an even cheaper bargain.
Erica always considered bargaining un-Christian. She’d say, and it’s true, ‘That’s already cheap enough; don’t be so cheap, give the man his full asking price!’ But I’d insist on doing the guy-thing to get the cheapest price possible. But this guy didn’t budge. He pointed to the sign: it was a set price and I could either take it or leave it.
So I bought three.
He then invited me to look right in his shop, even found me a really nice woolen coat. Tempting! I tried it on, he gave me his asking price, I didn’t see a set price sign, so I countered and the game was on! Our bartering led us into conversation; that’s part of the fun, and he jokingly said my low offers were trying to ‘screw’ him.
I took exception. ‘What do you mean, ‘screw’ you? Where did you get that from?’ He said he’d heard it from some Americans. I told him his word implied pressure, deception, and even morally offensive behaviour!
‘No,’ I found myself saying, ‘I want to ‘bless’ you!’
‘Really,’ he responded?
Then I spied a pair of wildly coloured post-hippie pants, threw them into the bargaining process, made a further offer and … he suddenly agreed. Just like that we had a deal and both of us seemed satisfied!
He started to bag my purchases and asked where I was from and if I was doctor.
‘That’s a funny question,’ I thought. I sensed we'd been led here by the Spirit, a door was open, and I went for it.
‘Yeah, I’m from Canada, I’m a heart doctor, and I give out good news: Jesus gives people new hearts!’
‘How can he do that? he marvelled. His interest stirred, he continued: he had a Christian friend and a brother that had become a Christian, a preacher even! Our conversation turned more personal, we exchanged names and my new friend, ‘Beamish’, grew more and more interested in our ‘good news’.
I told him he was young and strong, but without Christ he still needed a new heart.
I then ‘guessed’ his age… correctly as 24 and he was quite impressed - word of knowledge?
He guessed mine as 54: I told him he was my friend forever!
Then I pulled out the little discipleship handbook I’d encouraged my students to be ready to use in the morning and showed him how Jesus was the Way, Truth and Life to restore us to Father God.
He asked if he could keep it, but I urged him to take it to his heart, not just put it in his pocket, and simply respond to the booklet’s message now.
‘How?’ he asked, and I read him the sample sinners’ prayer.
He asked what ‘sin’ was. ‘Anything that separates us from God,’ I explained.
He said he was Hindu, didn’t understand much about his own religion and what sense all its sacrifices served.
I told him Jesus made one sacrifice for all sin for all people for all time.
Then I pitched the real deal and asked him if he believed Jesus rose from the dead.
He said, ‘Yes,’ and when I showed him that’s all that God requires to be saved, he became very excited.
‘You’re a very humble man,’ he kept insisting. I kept pointing him to the only truly humble man: Jesus.
I then asked if anything was keeping him from receiving Christ as his Saviour right now rather than later.
He thought a moment and shook his head.
So in the next few minutes we prayed with him, he received Jesus and was born again! Prem and Beamish exchanged phone numbers and emails to stay in touch and help him walk his first baby-steps as a child of God.
It’s amazing what shopping with Jesus can lead to in Kathmandu these days: a bargain-to-blessing God-encounter, changed life and opportunity to bring the harvest in!

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