By Rev. Dennis E. Roe
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Please accept my heartfelt thanks for your commitment to the work of Christian missions in the land of Nepal. By your generous gifts we were able to purchase and distribute over two hundred blankets and do much more in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
First, a little background information for you on Nepal:
Situated northeast of India, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal was once known as the world´s only Hindu Kingdom. The Pashupatinath Temple, where Hindus from all over the world make pilgrimage, is located in the capital city of Kathmandu. Over 75 percent of the Nepalese are Hindu. Another 16 percent are Buddhist and 4 percent are Muslim. Christians make up 2.8 percent of the population. Evangelical Christians are less than 1 percent according to some estimates. Reformed Christians are even fewer!
Today Nepal is considered a secular democratic country. Foreign religious NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) can operate freely, but they are not permitted to proselytize. Of the 250 identified people groups, 239 remain unreached with the Gospel.
According to Operation World, the first church was formed in 1952 with 29 Christians. At the height of persecution in 1990, there were 200,000 believers living in Nepal. Today, with a population of approximately 30 million people, it is estimated that there are 850,000 followers of Christ.
This ethnically and culturally diverse nation is also one of the poorest in the world. One-third of the people exists below the poverty line on less than $1 a day. Subsistence farming is how 90 percent of the population ekes out a living, with most of the fertile land found in the southern part of the country. Eight of the world´s 10 highest peaks are in Nepal, including Mount Everest at 29,029 feet.
So with that background, here is a summary of my trip. I left Sacramento on Wednesday, January 6th arriving in Kathmandu some 38 hours later on the evening of Friday, January 8th. I was met at the airport by pastors Krishna (Caleb) Acharya, who initially invited me, and Krishna Pandy. Pastor Caleb now lives in the L.A. area where he met RCUS Pastor Michael Voytek and at Michael’s invitation came to the Western Classis meeting in the spring of 2015 where we were introduced. Pastor Voytek’s son David made a trip to Nepal last year and published a report.
The next day we left Kathmandu by bus (five hours) for the trip to the Chitwan area to visit the home and ministry of Pastor Pandy. Pastor Pandy has established a small orphanage, Mercy Home, on his own property consisting of a few acres of land and a couple of buildings. There he provides room and board for fourteen children. One of the children is severely mentally and physically handicapped due to abuse. Pastor and Mrs. Pandy, along with their three grown children provide the care for these children. As well they raise funds to support their education which is not provided for free in Nepal.
On the 10th and 11th I taught three sessions each day to a gathering of Nepali pastors and leaders. Most traveled long distances to attend. There were twenty-four in attendance. I taught a series of messages on “The Christ in the Old Testament.” Surprisingly some said they had never heard of Christ in the Old Testament. Pastor Pandy’s son, Sanish, was my translator the first day and Pastor Caleb the next. They have asked me to return to teach more.
You may recall that in March and April of 2015, Nepal was hit with a devastating earthquake and powerful aftershocks which killed nearly ten thousand people, injured tens of thousands more, and destroyed approximately five hundred thousand houses. On January 12th we set out to a rural area of the Chitwan district which is struggling to recover from the earthquake. Our goal was to distribute 150 blankets to remote villagers. We literally went up a river without a paddle. It was the dry season so our truck went down into the not quite dry river bed. After a couple hours we arrived at a remote clearing to meet with the mountain villagers. It was amazing to observe these extremely poor people coming down out of the mountains to see us. Even more, it was a great blessing to distribute these warm blankets in Jesus name, praying with them and for them, as many of these people did not even have covering for sleeping or basic protection from the winter cold.
On the 13th we spent a day’s journey by bus traveling to the western city of Kohalpur where pastors and leaders from the area came for another two day Reformation Bible Seminar. Twenty-five more leaders came and I taught again the subject of “The Christ in the Old Testament.” It was well received and again there were those who were amazed at learning this doctrine. Pastor Caleb again translated for me. This took place on the 14th and 15th.
On the evening of the 15th we traveled to the area where Pastor Caleb and his family once lived. He has donated to a local pastor for this second Christian orphanage I visited. We stayed that evening at the orphanage and met with the children.
On Saturday, January 16th, I preached for the local church in the village of Bardia, some 50 miles from Kohalpur. Yes, the Christian churches meet on Saturday in Nepal and they aren’t even Seventh Day Adventists! Saturdays are the days the Nepali people take off, so the Christians have chosen Saturdays to meet. Later that day, we visited some of the members who Pastor Caleb had sponsored for micro-businesses of raising hogs and chickens. We returned to Kohalpur that evening.
Sunday, January 18th, was another full day on a bus headed back to the Chitwan area to Pastor Pandy’s home and to again visit the Mercy Home orphanage. Pastor Caleb met us on Monday and took us around to visit additional micro-businesses which he had helped to start with several needy Christian families in the area.
We spent the next two days resting and doing some sightseeing before heading back to the United States on Friday.
Overall, I found it to be a profitable and informative trip. I am encouraged by the sacrificial dedication of Pastor Caleb, his brother Pastor Pashant Acharya, and the Pandy family to Christ and His church. I was deeply moved by their desire to see the Reformed faith prosper in Nepal in the hearts and lives of the people.
It was evident that there is a serious deficiency of Biblical understanding among even the leadership of the Nepali church. Evident as well is the hardship of poverty that many of our Christian brethren there face. I came away committed to assisting Pastor Caleb and the people of Nepal to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Again, I thank you for your assistance in making this trip and joining with me as co-laborers in bringing the Gospel in Word and deed to the people of Nepal.
In Christ’s Service and Yours,
Dennis E. Roe, General Secretary
Westminster Biblical Missions, Inc.
P.S. I have a Power Point presentation on Nepal which I will gladly provide for you. I would be happy to come to your church to share more about this field. Please contact me at 530-277-4673.