Rising from the ashes
Posted on: 10th January 2017
CMS worker K has been serving in Nepal for the past six years. Even in the aftermath of a massive earthquake, and growing hostility towards Christians, God’s Church in Nepal continues to grow. This is an answer to prayer, says K.
Could you tell us about the work that you have been doing in Nepal?
My work role has been using my Occupational Therapy skills, firstly in community-based rehabilitation, following up patients and also working with local communities – schools, health posts and community workers – to increase their understanding about disabilities.
After the earthquake in Nepal in April 2015, I ended up working more with hospital patients with spinal cord injury, stroke, head injury, amputations (some of which were related to the earthquake), and also with children with disabilities.
Last year I was forced to leave Nepal due to visa issues and ongoing negotiations with the Nepalese government. In September, God opened up another opportunity for me to serve elsewhere in Nepal. I am now again working as an Occupational Therapist in a mission hospital, which caters for people from many rural parts of Nepal.
What have been some of the biggest challenges during the past six years?
There have been many challenges! Before embarking to Nepal, there was a lot of preparation, prayer and seeking God’s guidance. I went with a strong conviction about the work I was to do there, however work in Nepal often doesn’t look like you imagined – things take longer, people have different ways of doing things, and you discover that your way is often actually not the best way! So one of the biggest challenges has been figuring all that out: What am I doing here? Why has God called me here at this time? And how can I be faithful in service (even when what I’m doing seems different to how I would have it)?
After the earthquake a friend in Australia wrote to me and said, “I’m glad you’re there.” This really touched me, as it’s the opposite to what most people would say in that situation. It helped me realise that I was also glad to be there, and to share in the grief and shock that now defines that nation.
In what ways has your personal prayer life sustained you?
I’m definitely not the stereotype of a missionary, who finds it a joy to get up at 5am and pray for hours! I find the discipline of prayer difficult. But as I have been thinking about God’s purpose for me in Nepal, I am grateful that I have prioritised spending time with God. In countries where you have less control over situations yourself, you are more motivated to go to our Lord. You quickly realise there is nowhere else to go!
What has God taught you about prayer in Nepal?
God has taught me a lot of things during my time in Nepal, many through my Nepali friends. In particular, I have been challenged by their quick faith and acknowledgement of answered prayer. Whatever faith background a person is from, most will jump at the chance to be prayed for, especially if they are unwell or in a difficult situation. They will also, almost immediately, say thank you to the pray-er and to Jesus when they see prayer answered – in little or big ways.
This has been a great and humbling lesson for me, and has helped when I look back at the past six years and think I haven’t “achieved” much. It helps me remember what a joy it has been to meet with believers occasionally in villages I have travelled to, and to pray with others who have experienced God’s grace and want to do something about it. In my work with children with disabilities I have been able to share with many mothers the amazing grace of Jesus, who loves them dearly and has made them and their children in his image.
Can you tell us about the current climate for Christians in Nepal, and how have you seen God working despite this?
There is a growing opposition against Christians in Nepal, but this is not the first time. The new constitution proposes laws to prevent people from sharing their faith and can lead to imprisonment for five years. While these laws have not been finalised, it is an ongoing concern.
There is no doubt that God is answering prayers for Nepal. The Church in Nepal continues to grow and is now an obvious presence in city areas, which is being noticed. While some Christians fear the potential repercussions about their witness and it’s a challenge to know how to respond, most are continuing their work and ministries. We are also seeing Christians unite for prayer about this situation.
CMS workers in Nepal are continuing to faithfully do our work and take opportunities as they arise. We are, and will continue to be, people seeking to “live such good lives” that locals may see our “good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).
The Church in Nepal needs your prayers! Please pray for unity among believers, and for perseverance and faithfulness. Pray that local Christians will have a strong grounding in God’s word to sustain them in difficult times. Pray also for CMS workers in Nepal, that visas will be granted and that they will continue to trust in God’s plans.