(HeartCry Missionary Society is able to support conferences because pastors are willing to travel and teach. HeartCry would like to thank Pastor Steve Sherman for leading a conference in Nepal. Steve serves as the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in North Brunswick, NJ (http://www.cfcnb.org). Below is his report on a recent trip to Nepal.)
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:1-2). This was the purpose of my trip to Nepal. From Monday, November 7, through Thursday, November 10, I had the great privilege of teaching New Testament Survey to a group of 42 Nepalese men and women. The teaching was a condensed form of seminary material. The aim was to train the men who are pastors to understand the authorship, recipients, occasion, date, purpose, themes, and outline of each NT book. Guidance was also given for preaching each NT book. I aimed at giving the pastors the background information that they will need for accurately interpreting the book, so that they will faithfully teach and preach the book to their congregations, in order that their congregations will be able teach the New Testament to others. What a blessed time the Lord gave us together!
In the weeks prior to the trip, I became sinfully anxious about the trip. I was afraid of getting sick and countless other things going wrong. After returning back to the U.S., I was reminded of Jesus’ words to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt 14:31). The Lord clearly called me to teach His word in Nepal, and nothing could keep our Sovereign Lord from fulfilling His purpose. He faithfully provided everything I needed, every step of the way. From the time I stepped off the plane in Kathmandu, I was forced to trust the Lord in ways I have never before trusted Him. I could not control circumstances which were so foreign to anything I knew. And my Heavenly Father was with me bringing me safely to His people. I learned by experience that the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.
The conference was attended by 33 men and 9 women, which is the highest attendance at a HeartCry conference in Nepal. Pastors brought young “Timothy’s” whom they are discipling. The pastors who attended past HeartCry conferences invited other pastors. Women who prepared breakfast and lunch for the attendees sat in on much of the teaching.
I praise the Lord for Sarvajit, who organized the conference and translated the teaching. Sarvajit is busy planting a church, ministering to the other HeartCry pastors, and organizing conferences. A short time before I came, he organized and taught a well-attended Reformation Day conference for all their churches (the Reformed Churches of Nepal). At our conference Sarvajit seemed to do an excellent job of translating. It made me happy to see his pastor’s heart. At times he supplemented my teaching with teaching of his own that he knew was important in the moment. I am glad he did so, for our goal is not to make the Nepalese pastors dependent on foreign teachers, but to mature the Nepalese so that they can fully carry on the work of the ministry.
The pastors in Nepal are materially poor, but spiritually rich. Most Westerners would be shocked at the lower quality of life in Nepal. The Nepalese churches lack many luxuries that Westerners take for granted. Yet the HeartCry pastors are filled with the love of Christ. They also have a good theological foundation, which seems to be largely owing to past training given by HeartCry. These pastors are seeking to teach other pastors in Nepal sound theology and practice. The other pastors are not grounded in the same way, but are interested in learning biblical truth. Times of question and answer showed that the pastors are hungry to understand the Scriptures. Their questions concerned the meaning and application of various New Testament passages, from Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 11 on head coverings, to speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians 14, to women being quiet in church in 1 Timothy 2, to the sin leading to death in 1 John 5, to the tearing of the temple curtain after Christ’s death.
I was astounded to learn that there are no theological reference books written in Nepali. They have no study Bibles, no Bible dictionaries, no commentaries, no systematic theologies. They have no way of doing a concordance search, neither using a printed concordance nor searching Scripture electronically. This is a great need that the universal church should seek to meet.
The Lord gave me a real heart for these Nepalese pastors. If the Lord directs, I would very much like to go back to do more teaching, and bring another man from our church with me to encourage the pastors. I plan to stay in regular contact with Sarvajit and lead our church in regularly praying for the Nepalese churches.
Some of the new pastors at the conference said they had never received any teaching like this before. They found it challenging, and appreciated it. Many pastors personally expressed to me great appreciation for the conference. Throughout the conference, the pastors remained attentive and diligently took extensive notes.
I felt very limited teaching through a translator, and speaking on some passages that I have not thoroughly studied. Yet Christ magnified His power in my weakness and showed that He is building His church. The passage I most enjoyed teaching to the pastors was Christ’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” May our great God and Savior be pleased to bear much fruit from His Word that was taught, unto His glory alone!