There were many uncertainties before us when my wife and I came back from India after completing my theological education in 2016. We had a one-year-old daughter and were both jobless. The church in Bangalore, India that sent us to plant in Nepal partially supported us, but it was challenging with limited resources. Nevertheless, we trusted God and decided to move forward.
We started by meeting people and inviting them to our home for fellowship and prayer. Slowly, our friends and neighbors began coming and we launched a regular Saturday meeting in our apartment. I also began teaching part-time in a Bible college to support us.
Our desire is to make many disciples of Jesus in our city. This is our story of God’s faithfulness as we planted an Acts 29 church in Kathmandu, Nepal.
A Challenging Context
We’ve faced challenges inside and outside the church. There are many challenges in our context, and we need a lot of patience and persistence. We encountered obstacles from churches around us who weren’t sure about our preaching. Some were not happy because we preached freedom in Christ, not moralism and legalism. We also faced betrayal from others who wanted to join our ministry but ended up causing difficulties.
In our context, faithful gospel witness is difficult because sharing the good news is forbidden by law. Christians have limited access to community facilities. There’s also a stigma that we are the propagator of foreign religion and we’re looked down upon. Even though we haven’t faced physical persecution, we feel it on emotional and psychological levels.In our context, faithful gospel witness is difficult because sharing the good news is forbidden by law. Click To Tweet
It’s also difficult for us to faithfully present the gospel because our society relies heavily on experience. Christianity is seen as an emotion-driven activity rather than an understanding of God and love for him on a cognitive level.
Lastly, since our church represents the poor and less-educated in society, we face financial limitations. We see this when trying to get more pastors to join us in shepherding our church. There are capable men we want to bring on, but we don’t have enough resources to support them, so many either get other jobs or go abroad to earn money.
These many challenges make me think I should quit, but God’s Word reminds me that I’m in the best service possible, and I carry on.
A Growing Church
Our first baptism day was in February 2016. Six people committed their lives to Christ! By the end of 2016, we had about 25 people meeting regularly; most of them being new converts.
By the end of 2018, we had about 50 people gathering in our apartment. We began looking for a bigger facility. By the middle of 2019, we found a place, started repairing it, and moved our church that November. But in early 2020, COVID-19 lockdowns started. Since then, we’ve met less than half of the time physically in our space but still must pay rent. This is made more difficult as church giving decreased significantly.
But the positive side is that we sustained during this time of crisis. We were about 60 people before the pandemic and we have the same number now. Meanwhile, the church has grown in its understanding of the gospel, the sovereignty of God, and our need to submit to him. Many churches in Kathmandu closed and others were affected significantly. But thanks be to God who has sustained us, both in numbers and in maturity. Through all this, 22 people were baptized!
A Faithful God
We have seen many lives transformed since we planted our church. Some have come to our church sick and weak but were healed when prayed over. Others were enslaved to alcohol and almost destroyed their lives. But after coming to church, they’re transformed. God is saving people all around us even as we face uncertainties and challenges. He loves his church in every corner of the world, and he’s always faithful to her. Click To Tweet
There was a man addicted to alcohol. When he first came, no one could go near him because he smelled so bad. He had a broken family and troubled relationships. But the gospel transformed his life and he slowly got better. Within a year, he has given up alcohol, has a good job, and is growing in Christ.
Another example is a sister with two children who was left by her husband. She had almost given up in life thinking she couldn’t raise two daughters alone. But the church came alongside her, encouraged her, and prayed for her. As she grew in the gospel, she became motivated. One daughter has now completed high school and the other is just starting.
We have another family whose lives were changed by God when they started coming to our church. The father was sick and the family was struggling with many problems. Now, they’re one of the most committed families here. The children are growing and studying well and the father has also improved.
These are a few examples of how God has transformed many people’s lives through our church. As others in our community witness these transformations, they desire to know and follow our God. This is why we plant churches. God is saving people all around us even as we face uncertainties and challenges. He loves his church in every corner of the world, and he’s always faithful to her.