By Paul Lim
As we study the book of Acts, we repeatedly see the power of the Gospel at work and the church of Jesus Christ growing in the midst of persecution and challenges. We have been witnessing this in our Nepal church planting mission for the past 14 years. Here is an update to pray, to praise the Lord and to participate in what God is doing through our Nepal church planting mission.
There are many challenges faced by the Nepali church planters who are our partners in mission even as they continue to try and reach the unreached in the villages of East and West Nepal. Among them are:
- The anti-conversion law that makes evangelism a high-risk activity;
- Threats against those who show interest in becoming disciples of Jesus and persecution of those who make the bold move including being driven out of their homes/villages;
- Covid-19 regulations that halted church activities and subsequent slow return of believers to church;
- Loss of income and high inflation resulting in financial crisis for some;
- Departure of men, especially younger ones, for work overseas thus reducing the pool of workers and potential leaders in church; and
- Aging among the earlier batches of church planters and the consequent rise in health problems.
One major problem that the teams in Nepal and Singapore have worked on over the past few months has been the suspension of the Nepali bank account. This came about because we had not applied for approval from the authorities for overseas funding of projects. We had not applied for approval because we had not been advised that it was necessary. In fact we were distinctly told that it was not necessary for the kind of legal entity we had established there. Much work has gone into trying to undo the situation and at the time of writing this has still not been resolved although we have been told it should be resolved soon. If we are unable to send funds to Nepal then clearly the mission work in Nepal will be jeopardised. Please pray for a quick resolution of this problem.
Despite problems and challenges, progress continues to be made. The work of the Holy Spirit will not be stopped. As of the end of 2022, the church planters have sown the seed of the Gospel in the hearts of more than 150,000 people since 2009. Of these, almost 2,500 persons have placed their faith in Jesus Christ including 210 in 2022. There are 54 congregations that meet weekly for worship services in 54 different locations. Three of these congregations are managed by lay leaders as one of the original church planters has passed away and another has left the ministry. The rest are managed by 21 church planters, most of whom have established branch churches and appointed assistant leaders to look after them. Since the beginning of this year we have appointed six more church planters. All of them have been actively serving in one or more of the 54 locations and have shown themselves to be faithful and capable.
Even as we read about the challenges faced by the church planters we are also encouraged when we read about witch-doctors and shamans coming to Christ, the demon possessed being delivered, miraculous healings, the first converts in a village, the first converts from certain religions or people groups, etc. Exciting things are happening in the ministry of the church planters that we should not miss reading about!
One of our commitments to Nepali church planters that partner with us is to find people in The Bible Church to pray for them. This is the least we can do for those who are in the forefront of Christian mission work. We now need to find people who will pray for the newly appointed church planters. If you want to do that, just send me an email with a simple message by clicking on this (firstname.lastname@example.org). Those who are already involved, whether directly or through your Care Group, are welcome to add on to the number of church planters you are praying for. Those who sign up will be assigned a church planter to pray for and you will then receive translated quarterly reports from them plus reports that give you quarterly highlights of the Nepal church planting mission work. Please seriously consider signing up as this work cannot be sustained without prayer support.