A few days ago we made our way to the border between India and China. It was a long taxi ride to the village of C, and then a good long hike past that. It’s not tiring though, when you are constantly marveling in the Lord’s creation, seeing the reflection of his glory in the snowcapped mountains.
About half-way into the drive we passed a couple of shepherds who only had about 4 sheep with them, and one of the men was carrying a little black sheep on his shoulders. And about 2 hours later, as we were hiking back to the village we passed them again. The flock was still a couple miles away, and the man was still carrying that little black sheep. We stopped to talk and he told us that this was a “naughty” sheep, notorious for always running away. We watched as they continued towards the flock, carrying that one little sheep the whole way.
As we have spent this past week traveling from village to village by bus and by foot, I found myself getting frustrated that we spent more time on the move than meeting with people. But then I remember that He is the Good Shepherd and that there is more rejoicing in Heaven over one lost sheep who returns to the flock than over many righteous sheep who remain in the flock. Just like that shepherd was happy to carry that one sheep many miles on his shoulders, the Son of God joyfully takes us upon his shoulders to bring us home. He went as far away from His home as was possible, taking on the sins of the world, so that he could come get us and we could rest on the shoulders of His power and peace all the way back to the Place we belong. (Luke 15)
So in the times when we spend 10 hours on a bus. Or 3 hours walking to a village, only to talk with people for 1 hour. I remember that Jesus went much further than that for us. And He has sent us here, to the other side of the world, to the most isolated villages, in the deepest valleys of the Himalayas, along some of the deadliest roads in a bus with bad brakes. He has sent us to find His lost sheep. Sheep who have been away from the flock for so long that they might have even forgotten that they belong to one. And He has sent us to encourage His sheep to remain in the flock. That they belong to the Body and are loved and are being prayed for. We have been so blessed to be the hands and feet and the shoulders of the Good Shepherd. We have come here to remind those little black sheep that are prone to running away that they are a part of the flock of the Lord and there is nowhere safer or better to be. To look into their eyes and lovingly carry on our shoulders and pray for the sheep who have forgotten about or simply never seen the flock.
Friends, thank you for your prayers and encouragement.