Clean roadways, neatly manicured lawns, symmetrically framed houses--each contrasts sharply with the world I've left behind in Kathmandu, where rugged houses of brick and concrete tumble in shambles, garbage litters city thoroughfares, and humanity plods forward at a leisurely rate. Where boxy tuk-tuks, crammed with people, vie for road space amidst racing motorbikes and overcrowded buses. Where dust and dirt cover the entire city in a film-like layer that housewives daily battle with buckets of water that they douse outside their living spaces.
Other contrasts abound. Monotheism; polytheism. Rationalistic worldview; spiritualistic worldview. Addiction with the rational; obsession with the supernatural.
Western women uncover. Eastern women cover. Westerners expect individualism, while Easterners rely on family for support. The West glorifies youth, while the East deifies age.
A confrontation of worldviews meets the missionary to the Far East--in a way different from the evangelist to the Western world. Where the Western missionary employs logic, the missionary to the East is confronted with a people whose superstitions defy reason, whose demonic encounters stand in contrast to the God-defying Richard Dawkins types of the Western world.
How needful then, for us in the recycle-conscious region of the world, where garbage usually remains in bins and dumpsters, where a plethora of choices abound in the well-stocked supermarket, where wealth, even in what is considered "poverty-stricken" areas, is manifested if, in nothing more, than in the well-proportioned sizes of the citizenry, to remember the needs of our missionaries to this culture, as they confront head-on a worldview so different from their own.
Remembering the need from East to West, let us follow the Lord's command in Psalm 2:8--"Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession"!