Monday, November 10, 2014

Back to Nepal: A Nation in the Revolution of the Revelation of Jesus!

This Saturday I leave for my 1st overseas Mission since Erica disappeared. I miss her not traveling with me, but she has now joined the ranks of that great cloud of witnesses and I’m sure she’s organizing prayer meetings in heaven right now, interceding for Christ’s kingdom to advance throughout the world. And that includes where I’m headed: Nepal. I was there 2 years ago and on my return, I’ll be teaching in a Training Centre for a week and then trekking into the Himalayas to visit some of the young pastor’s church plants. Please pray for me on this journey into these highest mountains in the world, where God is writing some of His greatest overcoming stories!
Here’s part of how Christ’s gospel is transforming this nation:

True apostles with such vision are rare these days.
But we had such a man stay with us in our home about 20 years ago: a true apostle, not an ego-tripping, looking-for-position-to-validate-his-identity-wannabe. Prem Pradhan was the real thing and having him in our church and home felt like having the Apostle Paul right with us. Prem came from Nepal, a strictly Hindu-Buddhist kingdom tucked in the Himalaya Mountains between India and China. A generation ago, Nepal had no known Christians. Prem served in the Indian army during WWII with the British Air Force and was shot down and wounded. He walked with a noticeable limp from that injury for the rest of his life. In early 1950’s northern India, Prem, about 30 years old, heard a disciple of Bakht Singh proclaim, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment.” (Heb 9:27)
It was a strange message for his Hindu understanding and he wondered how he could avoid that judgment. He asked the street preacher, who then challenged him to read the New Testament
– 6 times! Prem did. During his reading, he gave his life to Jesus and God called him to go back to his country and preach the gospel that had saved him. Like Moses, Prem at first objected.
“I am a cripple,” he argued, “how can I walk up and down mountains?
And I don’t know all the different languages to reach all those isolated villages!
I can’t hike and I can’t speak. Call someone else.” But God would not relent.

One more problem: in Nepal at that time, it was illegal to not only preach, but merely to be a Christian! An automatic 1-year prison sentence if a person changed religions, especially if they became Christian. For the more extreme: 3 years in jail for preaching, 6 if you were caught baptizing converts! Sure enough, after he returned to his country, it only took a short time and Prem was in trouble with the authorities. A paralyzed woman was healed when Prem prayed for her and the miracle so stirred the town that many turned to Christ, even the local Buddhist lama! Prem wrote and invited the local authorities to the new believers’ open baptism. “Jesus suffered openly for us,” he taught, “so we must be willing to suffer openly for Him.”

The enraged authorities arrested the believers and threw Prem in jail.
But they murdered the lama.

Prem languished in a dungeon of death. No ventilation in summer, no heat in winter. Sanitation facilities were non-existent, biting insects everywhere! Rehabilitation was not the goal of Nepalese jails. Prisoners were given bare survival rations of only one cup of rice per day to cook over their own little fires. Without help from relatives, many soon died.
He had done no harm; he was there just for who he was!
Prem was discouraged. “Lord, you saved me with a purpose: to preach the gospel to my nation. How can I do this when I’m stuck here in this filthy prison?” He first saw only filthy prisoners, but as he looked around, he noted that many were from outside his local area. He saw that the Lord had brought his mountain mission field to him! One by one, he started to minister to them naturally and spiritually, showing Christ’s love in this inside-the-prison Training Centre and one by one, he led them to Jesus. Eventually, on their release, they returned to their homes filled with Christ, shared their new faith and love with their families and friends, and started churches in their villages. God’s plan for evangelizing Nepal was different from what Prem had first envisioned: prison ministry with a twist! Soon churches began to spring up over the entire nation, more quickly and effectively than Prem could have ever done in his own way!
Then Satan’s persecution tactics changed. The prison warden grew very angry with Prem.
“Prem,” he said, “you must stop sharing your faith. After all, that’s why you’re here in prison! You must obey me!”
Prem responded like the early apostles: “I must first obey God in my life, in prison or out.”
The warden gave up in frustration and moved Prem to another prison. Prem saw the hand of God in this too: he had already finished evangelizing this prison; he was now ready for a new field to sow more gospel seed in other needy hearts!
Between 1960 and 1975, Prem spent 10 years in 14 different prisons!
Once his sentence was 20,000 days – 54 years! and his release came only when Western friends intervened and paid a ransom of 1 rupee per day, equivalent to $2000.

The only charge they could find against Prem was being a Christian. I wonder: if you were arrested for being a Christian, would the authorities find enough evidence to convict you?

No comments:

Post a Comment