UNDER A CLOUD OF POLLUTION
Our Divine Expedition team just concluded our second training in two weeks here in Nepal. As we flew into Kathmandu, we descended into a cloud of pollution. Kathmandu is listed as the fifth most polluted city in the world. You can taste it as you walk the streets, and you can see it as you look ahead. One study said, “Smog is five times worse than the levels which prompted Paris to ban cars—the capital of the supposedly pristine mountain nation of Nepal is choking.”
It didn’t help that I came down with a case of bronchitis the week before the scheduled trainings. I didn’t choke but sure coughed a lot, as the pollution added to my congestion.
UNDER A CLOUD OF OPPRESSIVE RELIGIONS
According to the 2001 census, 80.62% percent of Nepalese were Hindu, 10.74% were Buddhist, 4.20% Muslim, 3.60% Kirant (an indigenous religion), and 0.45% Christian. You can see the dominance of Hinduism everywhere, from shrines at almost every corner to sacred cows wandering in the midst of traffic. We were told that if you hit and killed a cow you would be put in prison for ten years.
There are 330,000,000 Hindu gods to appease, honor, and worship. People bring offerings to gain the favor of their favorite or family god. According to Wikipedia, “No one has a list of the 330 million goddesses and gods, but scholars state all deities are typically viewed in Hinduism as “emanations or manifestation of genderless principle called Brahman, representing the many facets of Ultimate Reality” Hindu extremists are seeking political power with aspirations of seeing Nepal become a radical Hindu nation. The Nepali parliament recently passed a bill criminalizing religious conversion.
BREAKING THROUGH THE CLOUDS
Although it is against the law to proselytize in the largely Hindu nation, the Christian Church in Nepal has continued to experience dramatic growth since the establishment of the first church in 1952. From 25,000 Christians in 1990, the the Nepalese church has grow to over 1 million Nepali believers today with a vision to reach their nation. Toward this end, Global Training Network (GTN) was invited to provide training to Nepal’s pastors and leaders by invitation from the Nepali Christian Society.
As a part of the overall efforts of GTN to provide training to pastors and leaders in the nation, our Divine Expedition team made up of Phil Graf, Sammy Diab (Brazil), Gayll Phifer-Housman, Mike Davis, and I launched the first phase of our training in two (Bhaktapur and Lilitpur) of the three districts of the capital city of Kathmandu. Here are several of the comments of those who participated in our first training:
“Praise God. This training is distinctive from other trainings in the sense that book of Romans is divided into four parts with great simplicity to understand, and also very helpful to share the gospel and start a new church. This idea was presented as the responsibilities of a believer.”— Pastor Ashok, Current President, Bhaktapur Christian Society.
“I have read whole chapter of Romans, but I didn’t take it seriously. You made the four boxes of chapter Romans which is so amazing and easy to learn. You all taught us so well, you taught us many practices like being patient, sincere, love, don’t be overcome by evil, etc. This is so amazing and very needed to all Christians nowadays. I hope you all will come here again and teach much more. We will miss you so much” (name not included).
“When I was hearing your teaching, I felt like rescuing the 33 miners trapped in the huge quarry pit you told about. The Nepalese also are covered by 330 million gods and goddesses’ pit. Hindus worship 330 million gods and goddesses and need us to rescue them” (name not included).
“I am very much touched from having the opportunity to learn that I am rescued from the wrath of God and encouraged very much that I am even rescued from future wrath of God. I know I am a sinner and saved by Christ’s sacrifice. I discovered from the three days’ seminar that I have indifference in my heart but God is able to rescue me from this too (name not included).
SOARING ABOVE THE CLOUDS
We are praising God for the response to our Divine Expedition training. We have not yet received the comments from our second training, as they must be translated from Nepalese into English—but the verbal responses were very encouraging. Among the many things we taught from Romans, we presented practical tools for the Nepalese to reach their countrymen for Christ. Here are five of these tools:
- The story of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped for 67 days with no hope for rescue except from above. The rescue capsule that the miners entered one-at-a-time is a picture of Christ who came from above (heaven) to rescue us. This is a great way to bridge to the Good News about Jesus being sent to rescue us…but we must get in the capsule.
- The One Sentence Gospel derived from Romans 3:21-22: “I was lost, Jesus rescued me, and He can rescue you too.
- Our story (testimony) of being rescued (my lostness before I knew Jesus, how I came to know Jesus, and what Jesus has done in my life since He rescued me).
- The Greatest Rescue Card (translated into the Nepali language).
- A strategic action plan for each of the churches attending, in order to reach those around them and raise up new leaders and churches.
The Nepalese are beginning to use these tools, and are strategizing to reach more and more people for Christ who in turn will start many more churches. They are soaring for Christ above and in the midst of the clouds above that engulf them.
We are soaring too for what God is doing through our training and looking forward to returning soon for the next phase of the Divine Expedition training. When we told Dilli Ram, founder and president of the Nepalese Christian Society, we were considering a return sometime late in 2018, he replied: “We are an army ready to march, and you want us to wait until tomorrow.” Given the passion of the Nepalese to reach their nation, we will look for a window to return sooner than later.
Because He came from heaven to rescue us and make us rescuers of others,
Linus (Sharon), Phil (Laina), and the GTN Divine Expedition team