Nepal (MNN) — When the Gospel first started going out with missionaries into Asian countries, huge strides were made for God’s Kingdom in nations like China and India. However, the small country of Nepal sandwiched between them was largely overlooked.
By 1975, there were only about 500 Nepali Christians. But then the Holy Spirit started stirring a new missions movement in Nepal. In 1990, the population of Nepali believers was at nearly 30,000. And in the last 25 years, that number has now blossomed.
Dan Pokharel is the President and Founder of Global Mission Nepal, a ministry partner of Christian Aid Mission. He reports, “In the last 25 years, 1990 onward, we have more than one million Christians in Nepal. That’s amazing…. God has put revival in Nepal. That makes Nepal one of the fastest growing Christian nations in the world. Nepal has 234 percent Christianity growth currently!”
A First-Generation Church
Because of this rapid growth rate, many believers in Nepal today are first-generation Christians. Often, the local pastor is simply the first person who came to Christ in the community, or another believer who is willing to step-up but lacks seminary training.
“Nepali Christianity is growing through a leadership transition. Most of us, we come from Hindu family backgrounds. We need a lot of training. We don’t have a solid theological foundation in Nepal.”
Yet, Pokharel says the Church in Nepal continues to grow and thrive as transformation depends on the Holy Spirit.
“Nepal still has a law that you cannot change your religion or one cannot convert other religious people. What that means is you are allowed to worship your forefathers’ God, you are allowed to practice your forefathers’ leaders, but not to convert — especially Hindu to Christianity. But again, people are still coming to the churches and I am seeing a revival in Nepal, despite the circumstances.
“The Holy Spirit is leading this missions movement in Nepal. I call this a Jesus movement, and this movement cannot be stopped by any power, any persecutions.”
His Personal Call to Ministry in Nepal
Pokharel can empathize with the experience of first-generation Christians in Nepal, because he was the first in his family to come to Christ also. He shares, “I come from a Hindu background. When I accepted Christ, after two years I went to my home and told my mother I became a Christian. My mother told me, ‘Oh, you became a Christian! You’ve accepted a foreign leader. I am going to die! I am going to commit suicide!’, she threatened me.
“My prayer was that I love my mother so much; my family, I love them so much that I wanted them to also accept Christ. It took almost 11 years for my mother to become a Christian. Once she became a Christian, everyone accepted Christ, and now 95 percent of my family members are Christians.”
In 1993, a local pastor invited Pokharel to serve in the church. Since then, he has worked in ministry full-time, and in 2001 he came to the United States to study theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. From there, he went on to Texas and Massachusetts to minister among Nepalis living in the U.S.
Then, says Pokharel, “In 2013, God gave me another vision. One day I was praying, reading my Bible, and spending some quiet time with God, and I just heard a kind of whisper. The whisper was God telling me, ‘Hey, Dan, you came to this country to study theology for missions, and then you wanted to go back to Nepal. What do you think of right now?’ It was the kind of question I had in my mind, but I felt so strongly that was the Holy Spirit talking with me.
“When I heard that word, I said, ‘Yes, Lord. That’s why I came to this country, to [study] theology. I will go back to Nepal, and I will do mission work.’ I started crying — praying and crying at the same time.”
He then shared this vision with his wife and with a Christian friend back in Nepal. Pokharel and his wife moved back to Nepal with a goal to plant 100 churches in the next ten years. Pokharel started the mission agency Global Mission Nepal with the hope to encourage evangelism both inside Nepal and going out from Nepal.
He reports, “We have 64 global mission church plants going on right now in the last three years. And we’ve seen probably in the last one and a half months 154 people have launched five more churches. Last week, one of my friends, a church planter, called me and said, ‘Pastor, we’ve launched two more churches!’”
These days, Pokharel encourages and trains church planters in Nepal, provides them with resources, and coordinates with ministry partners in the U.S. like Christian Aid Mission.
Fueling Continued Spiritual Revival in Nepal
Right now, what ministry in Nepal needs the most is your support and prayers. Pokharel shares, “By 2020, I’d like to establish a global mission seminary in Nepal, and we are looking at $2.5 million to buy land and build a seminary there so we can train the college level and the masters level Nepali pastor leaders right there in Nepal. So you can certainly pray for that.”
He also adds, “We support each missionary or church planter with $200 per month support, three to five years. So right now currently, even though we have 65 churches right now in Nepal, we are only able to support about 25 missionaries. So certainly you can pray for that [as well]. By 2020, we’d like to have 100 church plants, and we need support for those missionaries in Nepal.”
Please also pray for Dan Pokharel, his wife, and their two boys, that God would bless them and Global Mission Nepal’s ministry as they pursue His will for the Church in Nepal.
Click here if you’d like to give to Christian Aid where most needed as they support ministry initiatives in Nepal.