I spent 1.5 years as a missionary in Nepal: Now is the time to arise
Jea Ng // October 31, 2017, 11:03 am
Last week, the Nepalese government announced to the world that evangelism and Christian conversion in Nepal is now illegal. No one should profess his religion to another. No one should convert to another religion. No one should disturb the religion or belief that has been practiced by the community since the ancient times.
Anyone found guilty will be fined and imprisoned for up to five years. Foreigners included.
Having spent one and a half years as a missionary in Nepal, the recent news weighed heavily upon my heart as I pondered its implications.
1. WHO WILL REACH THE UNREACHED?
First, it is going to get increasingly difficult to reach people in Nepal. As it is now, sharing the Gospel in Nepal is already difficult enough. I remember having to travel for 45 hours in a bus out of Kathmandu and walking for five days just to arrive in a remote village to share the Gospel.
For the sheer inaccessibility of such villages and the lack of access to the Internet, many people in these villages have never heard of the name “Jesus”. They would ask, “What is Jesus? A place? A person?” Because of how deeply intertwined religion and culture is in Nepal, accepting Christ for a Nepali is like leaving one’s family and one’s roots.
This new law will make things harder than it already is.
2. WHAT HAPPENS TO THE GOOD WORK?
Second, the ongoing work of the Gospel is at risk. The Government is taking a hard line on the teaching of the Bible in Christian orphanages run by pastors and missionaries. Christian orphanages had been found to conduct Christian activities and had been warned to stop such activities. Otherwise, action will be taken against them.
There are many of such orphanages providing shelter, love and the hope of Christ to children who are orphaned. The good work that they have built up over the years is at risk of being shut down.
3. ARE WE READY TO SUFFER FOR THE GOSPEL?
Third, anyone who shares the Gospel in Nepal – be it the locals or foreigners – must be ready to suffer for it. Last year, even before the new law was officially passed, seven teachers were handcuffed, taken into custody and jailed for distributing religious materials to students.
I also remember my Nepali brothers and sisters-in-Christ who are currently in full-time ministry work in the least-reached districts of Nepal. They reach out to villagers and hold house church services for believers. All it would take is for one hostile villager to make an official complaint against them and they would be imprisoned.
Though the new law aims to restrict the spread of the Gospel in Nepal, our God is sovereign and the work of His Kingdom is unstoppable. Often, with great persecution comes great growth. Man can plan to stop God’s work but our God is a God of power, miracles and visions.
For every soul in Nepal that earnestly seeks after Him, He will reveal Himself to them.
As the Church in Singapore, how are we to respond? Are we going to shrink back or are we going to arise and claim the land of Nepal for Christ? The Lord is looking for those who would not only believe in Him, but who would also suffer for His sake.
This also serves to remind us not take the religious freedom we enjoy in this country for granted; it may not always remain convenient to be a Christian. Where will you stand then?
Church, arise. Reach out. Now is the time.
Jea spent one and a half years in Nepal, reaching out to Nepalese in the city as well as in the least-reached districts of Nepal. She documents her adventures in a newly released book, Latte to Lathi. If you would like to purchase the book or support her ministry, please visit her site.
She has a passion for young people and has been actively serving in the youth and young adult ministry in her home church. Her desire is to see the next generation step out in faith and experience the reality of God in their lives.