In January I was privileged to work with pastors throughout Asia.
I taught in Japan, shared time with missionaries in Thailand and taught seminars in both Myanmar and Nepal. This newsletter is about the Nepal leg of the journey.
It was my fourth trip to that country and we are seeing much fruit from earlier visits. However, this time was a little different because the country is undergoing great hardship, both from the two massive earthquakes several months ago and from the Indian government cutting off critical fuel supplies to run vehicles and heat buildings.
I went there to serve under a ministry called Asian Access. They run schools for pastors who were discipled by another pastor. The school goes for ten weeks spread over two-and-a-half years. They attend for one week every three months.
This was my first time to Nepal in January. The weather was iceberg cold.
To make matters worse, the hotel where they usually host the teaching was totally destroyed in the earthquakes.
We started in a hotel in the foothills of the Himalayas where the weather is very cold. We held sessions and slept in unheated rooms. It’s not that the heaters didn’t work… there were none. Everyone wore winter coats and hats for the teaching times. Some even wore gloves—all this indoors. At night it got worse. I ended up sleeping in long underwear, street clothes, a sweatshirt, my heavy coat, a wool cap and gloves. It was still miserable.
Fortunately, they moved us to a hotel in the Kathmandu valley the next day. The place was also heated.
As always, with this group I taught for five days. Each day I get to bring two three-hour sessions.
Most of the participants were men, most fairly young with the exception of one older man who has much experience making disciples and planting churches. He was a great blessing.
Since most of the pastors lead small congregations I spent the first day talking about the lessons we learned in the hard, early days of each church that I pastored.
I focus on lessons we learned from early problems which we faced in the ministry. Most of these pastors are new at the task and hungry for solutions to similar problems. Each story I tell has something to do with making disciples.
We spend the rest of the time trying to gather concepts from the Book of Acts dealing with disciple-making and church multiplication.
As Christianity is growing faster in Nepal than in any other country the rapid multiplication of churches is a necessity.
While there I got to re-connect with a man named Gopalji who translates and publishes Christian leadership books from the West. He gave away a couple thousand copies of two of my books, Starting A New Church and How To Multiply Your Church (They were published with Mission Hope money).
The 2015 earthquake and one massive aftershock killed nearly 12,000 people. To add to the survivors misery the Indian government and a small group of Nepali protestors shut down most fuel supplies to the country.
People were left without transportation and without heat. I saw long lines of trucks and buses parked for lack of fuel. In one place parked vehicles lined the road for nearly a mile.
The earthquake left much of the population sleeping on the ground with no shelter in a very cold place. The government is poor but is bringing relief to the countryside. But a big player in all of this has been the church of Jesus Christ. Western money gets turned into tarps for shelter, tin roofs and inexpensive cots (to get people sleeping off the ground).
The government applauds the efforts of the Christians and is doing more to protect them from persecution by the Hindu majority in the country. In the past this has been a deadly problem. God works for the good of his people in every difficult situation.
Please pray for Nepal. Believers there are beginning to have influence in other countries. We can expect even greater things in the future!
Thanks again for supporting this ministry. Together we are changing history in many lands. This is the gospel in action!