The word that comes to mind when I think of our time in Nepal is “privilege.” What a privilege to delve into Kings with the students at Pokhara! What a privilege to share God’s Word with nine individuals who are pursuing Jesus, though Hinduism and its effects are felt all around them! What a privilege to worship with Nepali believers and intercede for the country of Nepal, all while surrounded by the breathtaking Himalayas.
While the Nepalis we met were extremely friendly and welcoming, our time in Nepal differed greatly from Thailand in that there is very little accommodation made for tourists in Nepal. Yes, this nation is the home of eight of the world’s ten largest mountains and therefore a destination for trekkers, but there is really nothing Western about it. In Thailand it is not difficult to find Western food, Western toilets, or tourist destinations geared towards Europeans and North Americans. These little luxuries were interspersed throughout our time in Thailand. In Nepal, however, these luxuries are not as easily found. Perhaps it was because we were staying with Nepalis and not in guesthouses, but we found ourselves embracing the Nepali way of doing things, whether that meant taking rickety buses through Pokhara, eating dal bhat (lentils and rice) every day, or greeting others by saying “Namaste” or “Jaymushi” (Jaymushi is the way Christians greet one another in Nepal). We loved our time in Thailand and had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the culture there as well, but we are so blessed to have had the privilege of also getting to know Nepali culture.
It’s somewhat ironic that the word “privilege” should come to mind as we think about our time in Nepal, as this nation is filled with incredible need and poverty. Before our time in this nation, I did not appreciate the extent to which a country’s spiritual condition influences its physical condition. The predominant religion in Nepal is Hinduism, and this is apparent everywhere. The caste system makes it impossible for people to improve their situation in life, so there is no rising out of poverty for the poorest of the poor. What a difference it would make if all Nepalis knew that Jesus has died to set them free, making us equal brothers and sisters in His church! There is little basic knowledge of sanitation and healthcare in Nepal. One of the schools we saw in Pokhara was promoting National Handwashing Day (on October 15th). The hope behind this event is to make handwashing a mainstream part of everyday life in Nepal. The values of sanitation and cleanliness we find in the Old Testament Law are apparent in many Western nations (nations that were founded on the Bible, even if that foundation is disintegrating today), but such principles are not part of the Hindu worldview, and hence, are not necessarily valued in Nepal. What a difference the Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit would make (and is making) to this nation!
The church is growing quickly in Nepal. Our friend and host, Jenneke, told us that most of the Christians she has met in Nepal have come to Christ because one of their family members were ill, and after trying everything that Hinduism, Buddhism, and magic had to offer, they finally prayed in Jesus’ name, and their family member was healed! Unfortunately, because of the hold that Hinduism has on the nation, the pressure on new believers is intense, and some return to Hinduism. Many Christians are the only believers in their families.
As we reflect on the amazing privilege of being in Nepal for nine days this summer, we ask you to join with us in prayer for this nation. There are so many ways to pray; here are a few suggestions:
- Pray for the people of Nepal to come to know Jesus. Pray that God would shine His light through those who know Him in this nation.
- Pray for those in Nepal who already know Christ. Hinduism is such a strong part of the culture in Nepal, and the pressure to abandon Jesus and return to the lies of Hinduism is intense. Pray that believers in Nepal would stand firm in their faith, strengthened by the Lord as they hold fast to Him.
- Pray that as people come to know Jesus, the nation of Nepal would be transformed. Nepal’s government has been unstable for years, the poverty of this nation is apparent everywhere, there is very little knowledge of basic healthcare and sanitation, and women are regarded as property. Hinduism’s caste system means that people never have the opportunity to lift themselves out of their desperate situations. Only the Truth of the Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit can truly change this nation.
- Pray for the SBS students and staff in Pokhara. They are going into the last three months of their studies, and this is an intense time (especially considering that the SBS is down to only four staff, who will have to teach through all of the prophets). Pray for grace for both staff and students during this challenging time – that they would know God’s presence is with them as they study and teach His Word.
- Pray for missionaries in this country – those like our dear friends who invited us to Nepal, who feel called to this nation. Pray for more missionaries to go to Nepal, to teach the Truth of God’s Word, to bring teaching on community development, and to ultimately lead Nepalis to Christ.
To learn more about Nepal, and for more information on how you can pray for this nation, visit Operation World’s prayer guide for Nepal.