Categories
Stories

Pray for the Persecuted 2020: Nepal

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

Categories
Countries

Nepal and Tibet

Nepal & Tibet

Nepal is the beautiful home of Mount Everest! It also borders Tibet, where we support ministry in the border region. With a population of 30 million, Nepal has the distinction of being one of the few countries in the region never to be colonized. As such, it has maintained a rich cultural history, despite being landlocked by the two most populous countries in the world – India and China. It even has its own calendar, called the Vikrami calendar, which is a historical Hindu calendar – while it’s the 2020s for most of the world, it’s the 2070s in Nepal. Until 2008, Nepal was the only Hindu kingdom in the world. In recent years, the church in Nepal has become one of the top ten fastest-growing in the world. 
 
Using The Timothy Initiative’s teaching materials, our partners have trained several thousand lay church leaders. The 55 men and women we support are spread throughout the country, and primarily in mountainous areas. Pastor training and disaster relief have also been key areas of focus, with several recent projects also focused on women’s empowerment and children’s education.
 
In 2020, about 270 people with critical food insecurity due to COVID-19 lockdowns, received food supplies. 180 children in extreme poverty were able to go back to school after receiving school necessities. The pastors and missionaries baptized 300 disciples, and about 700 people made a decision to follow Jesus. 

Capital: Kathmandu

Population: 28 million

Religion: Hindu 81.3%, Buddhist 9.0%, Muslim 4.4%, Christian 1.4%, Ethnic Religions and other 3.9%

Persecution Watch List Country Ranking: 34

Ministries: Pastor TrainingDisaster Relief

Leadership Information: The leader of our partners in Nepal and Tibet oversees a team that has planted over 70 churches in Nepal and 17 underground church gatherings in Tibet. He has been a leading coordinator of disaster relief efforts, especially after the April 2015 earthquake. He also serves in leadership with a large-scale seminary program for lay church leaders, in cooperation with several mission organizations.

Give directly to our Nepal fund:

STORIES OF NEPAL

Nepal and Tibet

Nepal & Tibet Nepal is the beautiful home of Mount Everest! It also borders Tibet, where we support ministry in the border region. With a population of

Read More »

GET INVOLVED

Categories
Stories

Thankful for God’s Presence

As Thanksgiving approaches, I have been thinking about the recent deliverance of Asha*, a young woman in Nepal. 

Twenty-three-year-old Asha lived in hell. 

From the age of five, she spent most of her days trembling and weeping in a corner. Occasionally, Asha would scream for no apparent reason. She bit and clawed anyone who approached her. Asha grew up friendless and without schooling.

One day, our missionary Bijay* told Asha’s parents about Christ. They were outraged, and threatened Bijay. (Evangelism is punishable by five years in prison in Nepal.) Despite their anger at Bijay, Asha’s parents were desperate and promised to give him a hearing if Jesus healed their daughter. 

When Bijay approached Asha to pray for her, she attacked him. As he prayed, she became still. By the end of his prayer, Asha was unconscious. Asha’s parents were alarmed and furious, and they cursed Bijay. Later, to her parents’ amazement, Asha awoke in her right mind! 

Imagine their surprise when she apologized to her family for the pain her illness had caused them. 

Asha soon found Bijay, thanked him and told him that she wanted to accept the Lord who healed her. Since then, Asha’s family has welcomed Bijay into their home to teach them about Jesus. Asha is now preparing to be baptized.

Asha’s healing brought great thanksgiving, not only to Asha’s family, but to Bijay and the local church. This was not only because everyone was happy for Asha and her family, but also because they knew God was present among them and had heard their prayers. 

Whether or not we see dramatic miracles, there is always a holy joy when we know that God is present and at work among us.

Asha was healed because Bijay obeyed and trusted Christ. This pattern is repeated millions of times every day, all around the world. Christ-followers have been pioneers in starting hospitals, universities, drug treatment centers, homeless centers, and youth programs that have transformed countless lives. 

Many of these organizations no longer bear Christ’s name, while others are Christian in name only. Deep pocketed funders and discriminatory laws continually pressure organizations like ours to leave their faith behind, especially in South Asia. Of course, we will not do that. Christ did not send us out on our own to do good deeds, but called us to join with Him to change lives.

If we cease to trust Christ, we can offer human compassion, but cannot introduce others to the joy of knowing Christ.

As you know, one of the names of Christ is Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Mt. 1:23). As we count our blessings this Thanksgiving, Immanuel, “God with us,” is at the top of my list.

God was present from the start of Harvest Bridge, when He called us to start it from nothing. God was present as He guided us and created the partnerships on which it is built. God’s presence is still evident among us, in both quiet, inconspicuous ways, and through mighty miracles like Asha’s.

Thank you for being part of this divine adventure. We hope you take pleasure not only from the thousands of people who benefit from this ministry, but also from the knowledge that God is behind it all. 

You, we, and our partners around the world are part of Christ’s Body. Even when we face hardship and cannot find the silver linings in our own circumstances, we can be the silver lining in someone else’s, because Christ leads us and empowers us.

It is our prayer for you, this Thanksgiving, that you have confidence in Christ’s care for you and rejoice in His partnership with you. We also pray for God’s presence in resolving the problems you face, whether inconspicuously and gradually, or immediately and miraculously, so that you can rejoice both in His presence and in the practical help He has given you.

Blessings in Christ,

Tim M., President

 *Names changed & photo blurred for safety

Categories
Stories

Kingdom Couples

Dear Friends,

In light of Valentine’s Day, this newsletter is dedicated to the missionary couples Harvest Bridge has the privilege of partnering with. 

These members of our Christian family serve Jesus together in difficult places; as couples, their ministries complement one another and facilitate deeper impact in their communities.

Sunil* and Premila* are a perfect example. Married as teenagers without the permission of their families, they lost their first child to disease and began following Christ after their second child was miraculously healed from the same disease. 

For the past 17 years, they’ve been doing ministry together in Nepal. Whether serving those affected by an earthquake, conducting marriage counseling, evangelizing an unreached village or working part-time jobs to support their ministry, they follow the command to love God first and love their neighbors as themselves.

Then there’s Raju*, the coordinator of our Bhutanese church planters, and his wife Divya*. Born in southern India, they met while attending Bible college in Bangalore. 

In 2000, after graduating and marrying, they moved to an underdeveloped region at the India-Bhutan border to focus on reaching Bhutan, one of the least-evangelized countries in the world. 

In pursuit of this goal, Divya had the idea of starting a school, both to educate children and to support the ministry. Today, the Christian school they started has over 400 Bhutanese, Indian, Nepali, and Bangladeshi children, of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian faiths, all learning together. 

Largely due to Divya and Raju’s efforts, it is now common in their town for girls to attend school, when just 10 years ago it was almost unheard of. 

Raju and Divya’s marriage, and their efforts to promote women and girls’ education, are models for women’s empowerment in a society that largely treats women as second-class citizens.

Last but certainly not least, we can’t highlight missionary couples without sharing the story of Mamun* and Tabitha* in Bangladesh. 

In nearly 30 years of ministry together, they’ve faced much persecution – beatings, stalking, death threats – but nothing compares to the rape of their 14 year-old daughter, Anna*. Her assailants, a group of six extremists, made it clear they were assaulting her because of her parents’ ministry. 

Thankfully, Anna received extensive medical help through an HB partner agency and has recovered physically. It would be wholly reasonable to leave the community where this horrific act occurred, but Mamun and Tabitha have chosen to stay and continue serving as Christ’s ambassadors among those who do not know Him. 

As they describe, 

“We pass every day with this threat, but we believe in Jesus – that He will save us – because the Lord is our strength, and we are depending on that.”

Thank you for standing with these couples, and dozens of other couples like them in Harvest Bridge’s network, through your prayers and financial support!

In Christ,

Andrew David

Director of International Partnerships

*Names changed and faces blurred for security

Categories
Stories

Arrests in Nepal Mark Growing Persecution

For several months, Nepal has been debating an anti-conversion bill in Parliament. The law stipulates, 

“Preaching, testifying, and counselling people for religious matter and leading them to new religion other than their forefathers’ traditions is considered as crime. The punishment is 5 years imprisonment as well as Nrs 50000/ fine for those who break the Law.”

Although the law has not officially been passed, Christians are already feeling the impact. Along with other Christians, several of Harvest Bridge’s pastors have been brought in for questioning, or have had their churches ransacked. 

Persecution is increasing in Nepal, and the situation calls for deep prayer. Pray for strength and joy in the Nepalese Body of Christ, and praise God for what He will do through this opposition. 

As one of our pastors put it, “This is a good sign that we have persecution. This means we are doing what we are supposed to. We are frightening the Evil One.”


UPDATE – June 13th

On June 13th, another pastor was arrested and is in the same police custody with the other seven brothers and sister. He was apparently arrested because of his faith in Christ and for sharing the Gospel. He is a local pastor and the secretary of the Christian society in that region. Please continue to pray for all involved.


On June 9th, seven Christians were arrested in Charikot (Bhimeshwar), in Northeastern Nepal. 

In a press release, the Federation of National Christian Nepal stated that the accused were from the organization, Teach-Nepal. 

The statement says that the individuals were, “falsely accused of evangelizing while they were returning after their program on 9th June, 2016 from Dolakha, Charikot…they were conducting earthquake related awareness programs in various schools as per their organization’s objective.”

Our Nepal lead pastor and coordinator, Samuel*, who knows them, says, 

“Please uphold these six brothers and one sister in your prayers. They have been arrested and taken into custody by authorities. They were falsely charged of converting school children to Christianity. 

We firmly stand with them and pray that they shall not lose their heart, and will keep the faith and be His witness wherever they are taken.

The chain shall of course be broken and they will be released soon…by seeing this act we know that the fire of revival is going to be kindled in this country soon. And all will see the glory and experience the Spirit of the Lord God Almighty engulfing this entire nation. 

Of course the victory is His and always will be.

The so-called anti-conversion bill is still stuck in parliament, and the government is planning to persecute Christians. This is just the beginning. 

We are very much aware of these threats when sharing the Good News. If they find any pamphlets or tracts distributed by us, then that becomes reason enough for the government to arrest us. They will accuse us of trying to convert people to Christianity. 

The tough days are coming in Nepal but we continue to preach at any cost. 

‘Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’ ~Matthew 5:11-12

Please remember us in your prayers. Thank you.”