Nepal is between India and China, the world’s two largest nations. Nepal is best known for Mt. Everest and has 8 out of 10 of the world’s highest mountains.
90% of Nepalis are Hindus or Buddhists, and another 5% are Muslims. Idols and shrines are visible everywhere, and many people perform religious rituals in front of their houses daily. A large idol downtown depicts an angry image of Kali, the goddess of death, surrounded by victims she has killed. People stop to pray or burn incense to this god, perhaps hoping to be spared her attention.
Religious freedom for Christians in this country means that they can practice their own religion in their own buildings. It is illegal to try to persuade someone to change his religion.
The churches of Nepal lack discipleship and ministry training. Some leaders estimate that 60% of pastors started their churches with no training and no credentials. Many churches do not have Bible studies besides the worship service, and of those who do, many use no material. That means that most Christians feel unable to apply Christian principles to their lives in a culture so integrated with other religious beliefs. Most cannot explain the basics of their Christian faith to their neighbors.
EFM is launching a training program in Nepal under the direction of Pastor Barnabas. He serves a church in Kathmandu, the capital, but has a concern and vision for the churches throughout his country. His wife, Lydia, and daughters, Grace and Hannah, are important to his ministry team.
In May of this year, missionaries from Evangelistic Faith Missions and trainers from Shepherds Global Classroom held a training seminar in Kathmandu. Some pastors traveled 16 hours to attend. Attendees were trained to use holiness ministry training courses, practicing in groups until most felt able to teach lessons.
Pastor Barnabas’s church facility will be expanded to lodge visiting trainees. The first trainees will be pastors capable of launching extensions of the training in their own regions. We will buy printing equipment to reduce the cost of the courses.
Mount Everest is known as the greatest challenge of its kind in the world. It is referred to figuratively to represent great undertakings. Perhaps it is no less of a challenge to try to change the nation of Nepal, but we are depending on the power of the Gospel.