Learning to Lose Life, Gain Christ in Nepal
August 24, 2017
The former hard-line Hindu in the Himalayan country of Nepal was filled with a deep sense of doom when he met with the evangelist who had led him to Christ a few months before.
Kiran* felt he had lost his future. His parents had disowned him for leaving Hinduism, and to be cast out of your family in Nepal was to lose everything. Home, employment and marriage chances, not to mention standard of living, all depended on the support and blessing of his well-off family. Now he would be as poor as so many others in Nepal.
But he had gained Christ, a pilot light in his darkness.
Assuring Kiran that he would have a roof over his head that night, the evangelist mentioned that he too had weathered separation from his Hindu family; he had left his home and his village as a young man for a life of sin. After a season as a "prodigal Hindu," God led him to Christ through healing from his own illness and witnessing God's healing of others. Since embarking on the adventure with the Lord, he told Kiran, God had blessed him beyond anything he imagined.
"Since you are working with Hindus who believe there are 33 million gods, how do you convince people to believe on Jesus?" the ministry director said.
"I went to the Middle East and worked two years, then came back and shared my faith with my mother," the evangelist, leader of an indigenous ministry in Nepal, told Kiran. "When she heard that I'd become a Christian, she thought I was going to die. I prayed for her for many years, and now she and all my relatives on her side are Christians."
Kiran felt a faint trace of hope, and the Holy Spirit who had shown him sin and salvation surged through him. This encounter took place in 2015, about a year after the evangelist, Pastor Dan, had received a prompting from God to plant 100 churches – and just before Nepal's earthquakes of April and May 2015 struck.
Kiran's parents were so devoted to Hinduism that each year they gave $6,000 to a temple devoted to the Hindu deity Shiva. Before putting his faith in Christ, Kiran had been active in a Hindu youth group that works to keep Nepal's Hindu heritage. Nepal, until 2008 a Hindu monarchy, is so steeped in the religion that each day and month has some Hindu deity associated with it.
When the earthquakes hit, devotion to Hinduism ended for many Nepalis as severe loss opened their hearts to Christ. Some of Kiran's relatives were among them.
"Their house collapsed, and all their wealth was gone," Pastor Dan said. "Kiran's relatives and other villagers asked for help, and we sent some of our missionaries to that village, actually. They went there with rice and gas money for the people. This entire village welcomed them, and a church was planted there."
That was just one of 36 churches that Pastor Dan's native missionaries planted in the past three years. He hopes to reach his goal of 100 new churches by 2020.
"Since you are working with Hindus who believe there are 33 million gods, how do you convince people to believe on Jesus?" he said. "The good answer is that we don't convince them – that's the Holy Spirit's work. Discussing and reading books doesn't help at all in converting people. Some people may think logically and believe, but the Holy Spirit is the best evangelist for convincing and guiding people to Christ."
Having planted scores of churches among Nepalis in the United States while pursuing his theological degrees, Pastor Dan in 2014 heard God telling him to begin work in Nepal. He began recruiting and training native Nepalis to establish Christian communities with a three-pronged emphasis: Every believer shares the gospel, every believer helps support the church financially no matter how poor they are, and every church plants other churches.
He and his staff of 25 full-time workers have selected eight cities where they plan to establish churches. From there they would like those churches to send native missionaries to Nepal's 75 districts. They also plan to start a Bible college in Nepal by 2020.
"I'm not judging any foreign missionary who goes overseas, but I have seen much less results from them," he said. "You pay $38,400 for a foreign missionary family of four just to go to Nepal for two years, which includes language learning and simple living expenses. We support one of our missionaries with $100 to $200 a month."
Prosperity gospel teaching has gained a foothold in the largely impoverished nation, and disciples are expressly forbidden to attend any of that movement's meetings. They are also taught the importance of prayer, Bible reading, living a Christ-like life, evangelism and finding their spiritual gifts and call to service.
"In the last two months, we baptized 154 people, and five churches were started," he said. "I put on Facebook and my Twitter account what's happening, and some people said, 'Stop this movement.' I said, 'This is a Jesus Movement, who am I to stop this movement? God is working; no one can stop this movement. There is no power to stop this movement."
Will you help native missionaries to keep pace with God's movement in Nepal with your prayerful gift?
*Name changed for security reasons