International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church took place on November 1st. Throughout this month, we will focus on prayer for our brothers and sisters in South Asia who face opposition for their faith. Each Sunday we are sharing thoughts on persecution from our country leaders. This week, we share the wisdom of our Nepal country leader, Pastor Shalva*.
As the Christian church grows rapidly in Nepal, persecution increases. For context on the persecution believers face in Nepal, we encourage you to read Open Doors’ country analysis here.
Pastor Shalva has been arrested several times, and was himself disowned by his high caste Hindu family for decades, until his father at last accepted Christ a year before his death. He has trained and discipled thousands of believers and pastors throughout the country in church planting, and oversees nearly 50 Nepali pastors and missionaries whom you support. Pastor Shalva shares,
“These are my personal opinions based on my experience and practice as I do ministry and help ministers of our Lord Jesus Christ. Most of the persecution is a kind of hatred to Jesus. Nowadays Christianity is growing, so Hindu people are against the Christians because their own population and power is decreasing.
Persecution for faith includes being excommunicated from family and society, deprived from having a share in parental property, no access to government facilities, etc. Facing opposition is that you are not allowed to preach, you are not allowed to gather in the Church. You are not invited to family or social functions, people throwing stones in your house or Church, you are not getting police support even if you very seriously need them. While you can send your children to school, because they are Christian they are treated differently, and many more examples.
Pray. There is nothing more than always praying for the safety and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in our lives. As missionaries are always doing ministry, traveling, helping others to understand and know the saving power of Lord Jesus Christ, they are always risking themselves for Christ’s sake so they also need a kind of comfort and support and encouragement from us. Through prayers we can provide them divine intervention and support and encouragement. Providing for some of their needs is also a kind of guarantee that someone is behind them and praying for them.
As a leader, mostly I visit believers facing persecution immediately after I hear the news. I try to know the situation and find out the solution to solve the problem. I will speak to those in power on behalf of the believers, and do the needed work. Moreover, I visit their family and have fellowship with them and encourage them from the Bible. I will call fasting-prayer meetings and pray for them. If they are in need of anything I will buy those things. I make myself available for them as long as they need me.
The motivation of the missionaries to face persecution is their love for Jesus and the power they have experienced as they believed in Jesus. Even in the very life threatening situation they are always ready to face persecution. They can leave everything but they can’t leave Jesus – I have seen this in the lives of persecuted Christians. They are well taught from the Bible what it is to believe in Jesus. So they are always ready to face persecution.”
Join us in praying for the persecuted church in Nepal. Next week, hear from our country leaders in Myanmar (Burma). Myanmar has an election today, November 8th – so please be in prayer for believers and the entire country this week.
*Names changed for safety