It was only 58 years ago that the first church in Nepal was planted. Not by western missionaries, but by Nepalis who had encountered Christ while living in India, and then travelled home to share their new found faith in Jesus. In the midst of the only Buddhist nation on the planet a small seed had been planted.
Christians have been actively persecuted. The church has been an underground movement. Many leaders have been imprisoned.
Yet, today the church is blossoming. Over 1.5 million people have become Christians – almost 5% of the population. This fast growing church is filled with joy, with singing and wonderful worship.
There are very few national seminaries. Most pastors are lay pastors. And for almost half of the 30 million Nepalis the bible is not available in their mother tongue, the language of the heart.
OneBook has been actively funding bible translation, literacy and scripture use programs in Nepal since our inception. At our partners request we do not share people or language group names to protect the lives of our translators and the young church.
Today was a wonderful day of celebration. In fact, a double celebration.
For one people group they received the very first printed copies of the Gospel of Luke. The whole team of translators, pastors, literacy teachers and supporters were singing and dancing with joy. Their songs were verses of scriptures they had set to traditional Nepali music.
Then, before a group of 100 they had the first public reading of scripture in this mother tongue – the story of the death of Jesus as payment for our sin from Luke.
Then the second group of translators received the New Testament in their language! What joy as they saw the fruition of 6 years of intensive translation work. Then they too had the first public reading of scripture in their mother tongue – the resurrection story from the Book of Mark ending with the words “he is Risen”.
This people group has faced intense persecution including church burnings in the past year. In the next 2 months as mountain passes open up in the spring, bibles will be carried up to these people who have been waiting so long.
Our partners words rang in our ears as we finished a celebration dinner sitting on plastic chairs in a church courtyard. “Thank you Canadians for standing with us…thank you for being our partners…thank you for loving Nepal”
Wayne Johnson – on the road in Nepal