We were working with Pastor Ram Nepal, who oversees this multi-faceted ministry, Christian Witness For Nepal, Inc (www.cwfn.org). This Nepali brother was used by God to plant 300 churches throughout the nation of Nepal in the 1980’s. He has suffered beatings and imprisonment for the cause of Christ, and was forced to flee the country years ago. Now Nepal has a new president (its first president) and there is an open door for the spreading of the gospel throughout Nepal!
Here is a brief snapshot of the ministry brother Ram oversees. His home church is Covenant Christian Fellowship in Kathmandu, which he founded. Pastor Tikka is in charge while Ram is away. The church has a children’s home, which cares for some of the most precious little children in the world! A dear sister named Pramita is in charge of the children, and also runs a school for the ministry, which educates the orphans as well as other local children. Grace Bible College is also on site, founded this year by Terry Simpson. All of these ministries share the same compound, which brings them together as a family.
This ministry had great financial support years ago (when the building was constructed), and was thriving…until the support was lost. The church and the children struggled greatly for a long time, even for daily food. As pastor Ram met us, we have begun to stand with him and support this work, offering encouragement, fellowship, and financial help as the Lord supplies.
During this trip pastors gathered from all over Nepal for the 3rd annual pastor’s conference in Kathmandu. This was my second conference to attend, and it was a great blessing! Over two hundred pastors, college students, and local believers came together for the conference, where the first 8 chapters of Romans was taught. We covered the subjects of justification, sanctification and glorification in these Scriptures. Simple gospel truths seemed to explode in the hearts and lives of the people in attendance. There were shouts of praise as we studied what Christ has done for the believer, is doing, and will do upon his return.
The children were also taught. Steve Wingo put together a program for the children in the home, which explained the gospel. He was helped by Kim, Liz and Cathy. They did some hands-on crafts (such as making tie-dyed shirts!) and just loved on the children.
We worshiped with the church and had a little taste of heaven, as believers from opposite sides of the world glorified Jesus together. A problem with some division in the church was dealt with, and the church was encouraged to pull together in unity and build each other up. It was a sweet time!
Grace Bible College
Pastor Terry has done an excellent job teaching these students during the first year of this school. These students are passionate for Jesus! Pastor Kirk from Jacksonville will be traveling back in January to teach at the college during the next semester. There is great opportunity here to pour into young believers who will shake their nation for Christ!
The church there has a wonderful music leader named Amit. He leads a very talented band that loves to magnify Jesus. I had the opportunity to sing and play guitar with them in a worship gathering! I also was able to sit down with Amit and just answer questions he had, encourage him, teach him some new songs, and pray together. Additionally, I lead the children in song on a few occasions, which was a delight. A local ministry also allowed me on two different days to come and lead them in praise and song; I joined with some amazing musicians and we made music to the Lord!
The Unity of the Churches
Pastor Ram met with several pastors from all over Nepal to discuss the establishment of a convention of churches which will work together in the gospel of Christ. A spirit of competition hinders the work and unity between the churches, and this problem was addressed. Please pray for this meeting to bear fruit for the future of the church in Nepal!
The Gospel Deed
We were able to deliver money for specific ministry needs, as well as donations to show the love of Jesus in a tangible way. Each child in the home received a backpack (Pramita told us this was just what was needed!), an outfit of clothes, and a care pack with socks and underwear, warm hat, toothbrush and tooth paste, comb or brush, etc. Toys and candy were also distributed. JCF also purchased Bibles for the children. The children’s kitchen was re-stocked, and one evening Steve Wingo cooked curry, flatbread and rice for the entire ministry! How blessed we felt to be able to extend God’s love in deed to these brothers and sisters!
One of the biggest parts of this trip was simply the fellowship with the Nepali believers. These are some wonderful people who are kind and compassionate, giving and caring, gracious and hospitable; who love Jesus. They need encouragement! We were able to just spend time with them; to eat with them; to laugh and play and worship with them. This was a huge blessing! We had an instant connection with these brothers and sisters through our mutual faith in Jesus. The Spirit of God unified us and gave us deep love and joy in our times together.
Some Memories and Stories
- One brother told me that he remembered, when he was around 8 years old, when the believers in Nepal had to hide their Bibles. When they gathered for worship they would have to shut the doors and windows and be very quiet in their singing and preaching. How foreign to American believers! What a privilege it is to have no threat in our gatherings!
- One thing we've noticed about life in nepal is that the simple things in life are a great challenge, take a lot of time, and are expensive. Things we don't even think about are hard here. Along those lines, Kim got to wash a few loads of clothes by hand in the bathtub and hang them out to dry!
- Pastor Terry and Pastor Tikka baptized eleven believers while we were in Nepal. The church was gathered around the tank and singing while the people were immersed one by one. It was a great time of celebration. One young man named Samson was baptized, and his mother began loudly praising and thanking God!
- One day my family and I got to go on a small trek up a mountain in the country, through local villages. In several places we had to carry our son, Evan. We were getting pretty tired when, after a while, we came to a few hundred concrete steps going very steeply up the mountain. At the top was a huge statue of Buddha. This was a place of idol worship! Appropriately, our family had read Psalm 97 that morning, which gave us a fresh reminder of how idols are 'worthless.' All gods will worship the Living God (read Psalm 96 and 97)! It is so strange as an American to see a culture that is so given to worshiping images and statues. Shrines are everywhere on the street, temples abound; in the department store one day I saw idols for sale for home use - one was a swastika with the elephant god in the middle!!! Walking on the street one day we saw a dog with a red tika (candle wax dot on his forehead). We asked our host why and he said people had been worshiping that dog! Amazing. Romans 1 - they worshiped the creature rather than the Creator, who is forever blessed, so God gave them up to sins... Most of the people of Nepal are in bondage to idolatry. But Jesus can set them free!