Religious persecution continues to rise in Nepal with the passing of each day. This month the government upheld a law that prohibits the preaching of the gospel. This anti-conversion law carries with it a sentence of up to 5 years in prison or a 50,000 Nepali rupee fine, if found guilty of teaching or distributing Christian material in an attempt to proselytize anyone. Even though these pressures mount, the missionaries on the field are resolute in their commitment. They have counted the cost. In fact, some have even expressed hope. They are hopeful that these persecutions will remove that which is false, while also causing that which is true to be purified.
Below is a snapshot of some of the troubles and victories that are taking place in the lives of the men in Nepal:
This has been a trying month for Gopal, as he has faced numerous hardships, hindrances, and persecutions. The owner of the house he rented recently kicked him out and will not allow him to stay there anymore. Just 2 years prior, it was this same owner who helped him when others in the community refused to rent to him because of his faith. Now, the owner accuses Gopal of forcing his in-laws to become Christians. One night, in a drunken rage, he forced Gopal to leave the house. Although this incident has caused Gopal great personal pain, he has found strength in Christ. He has forgiven this owner, and still continues to reach out to the in-laws in order to comfort them. His desire is to see the entire family come to know the Lord. He longs to follow the pattern of Christ and bless those who persecute him. He has now moved to a neighboring village.
For the past several months, Gopal has been ministering in a remote unreached village deep in the mountains. He has seen the Lord’s hand in this work, and a tiny fellowship has been formed there. However, he was recently stopped on the road by a group of radical Hindus while trying to enter his village. They would not permit him to pass. They threatened him with physical violence and forced him to turn around and go home. Even though he was upset, this did not deter him. In fact, he made plans to park his motorcycle at another village the following week, and then travel by foot over the mountains in order to continue to minister to this fellowship. This would not be an easy hike, especially for a 62-year-old man. It was estimated that the hike would have taken around 5 hours to reach the village. However, the police interrupted these plans. The following week, Gopal was called into the police station and forbidden to go into this village without a written letter from the district office. This is an unwise approach, as the district office will then have record of all of the activities of his ministry. Please pray for strength, wisdom, protection, and boldness in this situation. Pray that the Lord would grant clarity on the best way forward.
He confidently writes, “I don’t know how my life will end, but I know God’s love and grace is with me forever.”
This has been a month of difficulties for Khem as well, although his trials have come in a different manner. He currently faces troubles with false teachers. They have persuaded some in his congregation to leave the fellowship. In fact, one couple has stirred up much trouble. They were upset because Khem recently baptized a few people who had not been attending the church as long as them. Khem explained his concerns and the purpose of baptism. They were still upset. Several other believers in the church have also visited them in order to teach on the gospel. The wife finally told those who were visiting her that she did not need salvation from sin, but rather all she needed was healing and a successful life. Attempts to speak about the true gospel seem to have fallen on deaf ears, and they now refuse to attend the church. Khem was heart broken. In telling this story, he said, “I felt sorrow in my heart for their souls.”
This type of teaching is dominant and influential in Nepal. In fact, this month Khem also had a visit from a man who was there only to seek physical healing. This gave the opportunity for the leaders of the church to share with him the gospel of Jesus Christ. Khem is not sure if this man will come to the church again, but it is his prayer that this man would come to know Christ and receive both spiritual and physical healing.
This month has been a month of personal growth for Ram. Along with his Bible study, he has been studying the 9Marks book, “What is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert. This resource was recently translated into the Nepali language and printed. Upon reading the statement, “The Gospel is the method of showing the beauty of Christ,” he was cut in his heart. He asked himself, “Am I showing the beauty of Christ in my life? Does my family show the beauty of Christ? Does my church show it?” These questions caused Ram to examine his life before the Lord, and by His grace, the Spirit of God pointed out several mistakes. Ram writes, “I realized my weaknesses and I’m taking them seriously. I’m repenting of my sin, and trying to walk according to his Word. I am committing my life in Christ, and praying that I will show the beauty of Christ in my life.”
Please pray for Ram as he continues to preach through the book of Colossians. Pray that the Lord would shine His face on this congregation as they look at the supremacy of the Savior.