This past weekend I had the privilege yet again to travel outside the Kathmandu valley to another quaint village setting. At the invitation of a sister from our church, another brother and I went to preach the Gospel. What I experienced was not necessarily new, but was a stern reminder of the spiritual needs we face here in this beautiful country.
First I must mention that I feel like the most blessed person in the world to live in this part of Asia. Our family moved here about two and a half years ago. We have labored to learn the Nepali language and observe the culture in this foreign land. We have made many friends and have had many exciting adventures.We also have had our share of challenges, yet we count it a privilege to shine our lights in this spiritually dark and oppressed area. We are reminded that it is only Christ who is able to transform lives, yet we must remain committed to faithfully preaching the truth without compromise…even if we don't see immediate results. Many cults and Pentecostals have been busy influencing numerous villages throughout the country. This past weekend, this reality was made real to me firsthand. This experience would encapsulate the Spiritual atmosphere of Nepal in a nutshell.
Just before 7 am this past Sunday, I picked up my evangelist friend Adesh on my black Bajaj Avenger 220 cc motorcycle and headed south of the city of Kathmandu.
Before we ascended into the forests covered with clouds, we could see some of the Himalayan peaks in the distance.
We then rode down into a valley surrounded by steep hills. The winding road brought us along a swift moving river that parted lush green grass and rice fields. What a breathtaking experience, that I never tire of seeing!
Over two hours later, we arrived at a little adobe structure where we had tea and chatted with the family of our Christian sister. Though they are of Tamang ethnicity, they all speak Nepali. Though most are fluent in multiple languages, many older villagers are still totally illiterate. However we met a twelve year-old girl who is studying at an English medium school nearby, but is the only one that we met that understood even a little English. We were able to easily communicate with everyone we met through Nepali - the national language.
We learned about the great needs of the village from our Christian hostess, She had been saved twenty seven years ago after seeing the great change in her husband. He had a reputation for being a drunk and beating her. The family here has been amazed at this change, yet have continued in their false religions and fear of evil spirits. Since this couple's salvation, they have grown in the Baptist church in Kathmandu. But they have been burdened for their village, as there is no church in the area.
We met a nephew who lives a kilometer away who had come to know Christ while working abroad in the country of Qatar! He has attended a Pentecostal church in Kathmandu, but is still seeking true teaching and is quite confused on some issues. We then met a native Pentecostal missionary who has been living in this village for two months. He noted how difficult it was trying to witness to people.
We had a Gospel meeting where we sang a few songs, prayed, gave some encouraging Bible verses and a Gospel message to the few family members in attendance, along with some neighbors. Others reportedly did not come for fear of the repercussion from their family members and other peers. Many people are scared of Christians and of this new God and Saviour Jesus Christ! One young lady who did come, told us about her father-in-law who wanted to attend but was very sick. We were told he was interested in being a Christian, so we went to visit him at his home.
There is a misconception about Christianity in Nepal, and we wanted to be very clear and thorough in how we presented Christ. Many only know of Jesus' power to heal, and this is their motive for wanting to be a “Christian”. They are interested in the personal benefits of this new religion but have not been confronted with their sinfulness against a holy God. When we explained the purpose of the Gospel, our friend said this was the first time he had heard this message! He said he was willing to stop beating his wife and be a Christian even if God didn’t heal him. We dug a little deeper with questions and asked if he admitted that he was a sinner. He was still confused and said, "What is a sinner?" So at this point, we gave him some helpful resources that taught about Creation and the need for Christ to save from sin.
During this time, we also observed a song book and Bibles on a table. The man's wife claimed to be a Christian because of a baptism experience. Our Christian sister pointed out to her that Salvation is through repentance and faith in Christ alone. She had yet to renounce her Hindu gods – which were on a picture hanging outside her hut – and place her faith entirely in Jesus Christ as her only Lord God. We prayed with this precious family and left, assuring that we would return again.
On a lighter note, we enjoyed some of the best food Nepal has to offer, lentils and rice served with chicken and vegetables. Everyone enjoyed the balloon animals and great friends were made for the sake of the Gospel.
Yet, we must go back - and soon! For just two years ago, a cult by the name of “Truth” has come and started a “church” in this village. About five families have already joined. They teach that as long as the people come to their weekly service and “believe in Jesus”, they can still continue to worship their false idols. This heretical syncretism is very deceptive and dangerous. Unfortunately, as our sister pointed out, they have gotten to this village before true Bible preachers have.
Though we look forward to returning to this village to water the seeds sown, I am reminded that this is merely a microcosm of a country filled with thousands of villages in a similar state. Satan has used false religion to keep people in darkness for centuries, and now is using deceivers and false teachers who use the name of Christ to keep people from coming to the light. Please pray as we rightly divide the Word of God and teach the Truth in love. We must not stray from that which the Holy Spirit is seeking to reprove and convince the world of: sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Gospel is still powerful and Jesus still saves!