Manoj Pradhananga, our mission partner in Nepal, writes how he recently took a sabbatical and the journey as a result that God took him on.
” The word sabbatical was very new word for me. To dare to walk on the road where I and most of my friends had never walked before, made this journey initially uncertain and fearful. However, I decided to go on this journey for a month in August this year. After being involved in full time ministry for over 20 years I realised I was exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
The first 3 days were very difficult for me to get settled. My emotions were not settling down. I was not able to detach from my work. However, on the 4th day my eyes were caught by Isaiah 30:15 that says, “In repentance and in rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”. One of my expectations out of this sabbatical was to listen to his voice. Very next day, I confessed before the Lord and began to quieten my heart trusting on his faithfulness to speak to me.
Next week, I spent time in a resort which was in the middle of the jungle on mountain. Every morning I would go to the jungle and meditate, listen and talk to him. This is the time when I heard his voice not audibly but in my mind. God told me not to be afraid of. He reminded me how I was facing a lot of problems in my life due to fear. I will frighten others if I am frightened. Secondly, he reminded me about my call to serve the Church in Nepal. He also told me to form a team to go to different parts of Nepal. Finally, he told me to reconcile with some people against whom I had some kind of bitterness.
The following morning my mind flooded with doubts. However, God reminded me two incidents where I had identical experiences of God’s voice. Next morning again God told me that I and Joshua had many similarities. He once again assured me of his presence.
On third week of this journey I had opportunity to hear from two godly people who have intimate relationship with the Lord. One of them shared his experiences of intimacy with the Lord in the jungle of India where he used to spend several hours in prayer. He also shared some of moments of his life where he felt personal touch of God. He was clearly guided to come to Nepal through God’s word and God’s people. Being available for God was key in his life for seeking God’s will. Another man of God assured me not to doubt God’s voice that I had heard last week. He also affirmed my calling and ministry. He repeatedly emphasized God’s primary way of communicating with us is his Word. He appreciated my step for sabbatical and also the minis-try I am involved in.
On Monday of fourth week, I was praying to the Lord, “what Lord now?” I heard him saying, “you will experience my love this week”. In order to experience his love, I started reading Hosea and The Prodigal Son by Henry Nouwen. One day, I was talking to God in the middle of the night and felt coming back to father’s home after 20 years of work. I felt that my heavenly father is the happiest person from this sabbatical. He affirmed my call-ing, my original goodness, my intention, my desire and my vision. I felt waited, accepted, welcomed, affirmed, honored, listened to, communi-cated to and celebrated. This is how God gave me to experience of his love.
I spent a most of the time in his conscious presence and listening to him rather than praying more, reading the Bible more, reading spiritual books more and so on. It has also given me time to be with my family-my good wife, two daughters and son. I have been blessed by their cooperation in this journey and they too are blessed by my sabbatical. I am also thankful to those who con-tributed to this sabbatical in some ways. This sabbatical has brought my soul at the centre in the language of Quakers. The most important outcome of this sabbatical has been hunger to be in his presence, listen to his voice, enjoy his presence, and reflect on life and ministry that is found in the arms of loving Father.”
Manoj Pradhananga is director of the Leadership Training Department of NCFN delivering Leadership training and family ministry through local communities across Nepal.