The year was 1722, and Ranajit Malla was a king in Nepal who welcomed missionaries and Nepali Christians to come and live in his kingdom. He proclaimed that these missionaries “are commanded to preach and teach their religion and train our people in Christian religion. Our people can accept that religion without fear. We will not give any trouble to the fathers, and will not give any hindrance to preach the Christianity.” Through this, the gospel was given an open door to the people of Nepal.
This time of openness lasted until 1769, when all missionaries and Christians were forced to leave Nepal. This policy of the rejection of Christianity from Nepal was declared by King Prithvi Narayan Shah. During this time no foreigners were allowed to enter the country, and it was forbidden for any Christians, whether foreigners or nationals, to live in the country. This was a time of great darkness in Nepal and it became known as a “Closed Land” for the gospel of Jesus Christ for more than 220 years. This lasted until 1990, when democracy was introduced to the country, which changed the country forever.
In 1984, there were about 24,000 Christians in all of Nepal, yet today there are an estimated one million believers in the country, scattered throughout 1,500 independent church congregations. What a miracle of church growth!
Last April a major earthquake struck the country of Nepal and the church had new opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ in new ways. The earthquake opened villages to the gospel that have been closed forever. The church pictured on this page is one that is currently meeting in a converted chicken coop. This church’s building was destroyed and the members of the church also lost their homes, but they didn’t give up and forsake the Lord nor the gathering together to fellowship in the Lord. We are helping this church to rebuild their building and homes.
This part of Nepal is seeing a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and freedom to preach the gospel; they are living in a time of blessing, because of all the years of prayer and suffering of the church in Nepal.
As we read in Isaiah 58:6, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” The phrase, “to loose the bonds of wickedness,” always reminds me of what SEAPC is all about. We walk through the nations of the world to see people set free from the bondages of Satan that have held them as prisoners for centuries.
During the fall of 1984, I remember standing on top of a Buddhist Stupa on Phulchoki, the highest hill in Kathmandu. We had spent most of the day climbing this hill to prepare for our trek that started the next day. But standing on top of that stupa with Brother Mark Geppert, the Spirit of the Lord stirred up within us and we proclaimed, “Our God reigns and Jesus is Lord of Nepal.” What a powerful time in the Lord as we prayed over the Kathmandu valley. That time of prayer and intercession left its fingerprint on my life and I repeated this on every mountaintop, village, street, and temple/stupa that I could get my feet on top of and proclaim, “Our God reigns and Jesus is Lord of…”
We are all called to do the same, just as the Lord told Joshua in Joshua 1:3:
“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.”