Rod Matthews, one of GCI’s mission directors, provided this update on our ministry partner in Nepal.
In Nepal today you see the rubble remains of brick and stone buildings—the result of two devastating earthquakes earlier this year. Thousands of people had to live outdoors for weeks as the aftershocks continued, their children too fearful to go inside even if their homes remained standing. Because much of Nepal is mountainous, with the infrastructure poorly developed and access to many remote rural villages only by foot (or helicopter), it has taken months to assess the damage and destruction and the personal needs of villagers in some locations.
Deben Sam, leader of Gospel for Himalayas church, our ministry partner in Nepal, organized a small team to travel to many locations in Nepal, not only to assist his network of rural churches, but to take supplies to others in desperate need. Deben has expressed gratitude to GCI congregations in many countries for assisting him in lifting the lives of so many people as they endured the worst personal experiences of their lives. With this assistance, Deben hired a fleet of mules to carry urgent humanitarian relief supplies to villages which could not be reached in other ways. Here are pictures of that relief effort:
Back in Kathmandu, the local church’s facility also suffered damage in the earthquakes. A portion of the building (including the room where the children meet) collapsed. Fortunately no one was injured, but the room backed onto an external wall that was breached and became a security issue. Funds from GCI were used to repair the building and make the compound secure again (see pictures below).
In the last few weeks Deben has taken advantage of the summer weather to travel extensively through western Nepal, visiting local pastors and missionaries in seven districts. His goal was to get first-hand field reports, to personally encourage and advise the church leaders, and to discuss the possibility of taking his Mobile Bible School (MBS) to their areas in the next couple of months. This program offers a short, intensive training program in their home area so they can learn, experience and practice, then teach their own people.
Deben also desires to prepare missionaries to reach into areas where there is yet no church. He explains: “We are providing two stages of training: 1) Personal Spiritual Building—training for all kinds of believers in the local church as well as new converts in new areas where there is no church. 2) Preparation for the Ministry—training for pastors and lay leaders as well as those who have done the first stage training.” The first stage covers the topics of salvation, the Trinity, the Word of God, prayer, praise and worship and giving. With generous support from the Australian Mission Fund, this program will be fully funded again this year. The second stage of training covers systematic Bible study and sermon preparation, discipleship, the church, leadership, Christian marriage and family, biblical finance, evangelism and church planting. Called the Himalayan Bible School (HiBiS), the course is conducted in Kathmandu over three months each year for about 15 young men and women with potential as missionaries who are selected from the Mobile Bible School program. This is followed by a nine-month practicum in the villages.
Earlier this year in May, the second annual graduation from HiBiS was held in Kathmandu (see picture below, with Deben Sam at far right). The graduates have returned to their villages where they are assisting with pastoring and mission work in fulfillment of the practical experience part of their training.
Thank you all for your love and practical concern for the Nepalese people in their time of need, and for our partner ministry, which is doing marvelous work in Christ’s ministry in very difficult circumstances.
For information about donating to the GCI Disaster Relief Fund, click here.