Dear respected brothers in Christ,
Greetings to you all in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May the grace of God, love, and peace always be with you.
I am always happy to write some encouraging words to our brothers and sisters in Christ. NCBS is really blessed by God through His people around the world. We are doing our regular school activities in a normal way. Our students are doing their best in studies. We were able to make one Bible campaign at West Bengal of India and East Nepal from the 15th - 29th of January 2015. Brother Jerry, sister Sunita, and myself went together for two weeks of Bible study. The environment climate was so cold, but the hospitality and welcome were so warm in eight different congregations. Our classes went well. Brother Jerry and sister Sunita coordinated in the women's classes. Two souls were baptized in the Lord at East Nepal. We did our best to serve God's people in His kingdom.
I must thank God for His love and grace. I must thank you, our brothers and sisters, who are helping us to run our school at Kathmandu, Nepal. I have below message and words from Brother Jerry and sister Sunita.
Brother in Christ,
India Tea Plantations Plus East Nepal Campaign
Gajendra Deshar, the Director of the Nepal Center For Biblical Study [NCBS] in Kathmandu, along with Sunita Rana, a Christian widow and mother of two college students who pioneers our outreach to teach Christian ladies, and Jerry Golphenee spent two weeks [January 15-29] visiting, teaching, fellowshipping and encouraging congregations in eight villages in the Darjeeling District of India and in east Nepal. Each day was a wonderful experience even if measured separately. The whole time and experience of growth for those being taught, the local leaders, and for the teachers, was and will continue to be a blessing for the kingdom of Christ.
These two weeks were also a special joy when we reflect on how far we have come in Christian love and fellowship over the last five years. NCBS opened in January 2010. At that time we had no support or encouragement from the congregations in these areas. Unfortunately we had some active opposition from church leaders in east Nepal. An American missionary, not directly associated with the school, which has worked in Nepal for twenty years labeled it as “jealousy and bitterness” because their area was not getting special recognition. This is common to Nepal because of its ethnic, tribal, and geographical separations as well as the caste system. The Nepal government has been unable to write a Constitution over the last five years with two different Parliaments and Prime Ministers because of the rivalry, prejudice, and self-serving demands of the ethnic and geographical divisions. This historical cultural trait also has affected the church resulting in fragmentation and lack of fellowship. However, it is with great joy that we are seeing a whole different attitude from these same leaders and congregations today.
Our first class of students had one man from east Nepal. However, over the previous ten years he had spent seven years working out of the country to earn money for his family. His connection to any congregation in east Nepal was very loose. Still they opposed him being a student at NCBS. Today, we have five students from these areas of India and east Nepal. The local leaders are supportive, encouraging, and even proud that their young men are devoting themselves to a more active work for the Lord and with their study at the preaching school.
What has brought about this change of heart, mind, and behavior?
1. The noticeable progress and conduct of our graduates [11 in the first two classes……. 2010 to 2013]. Our product is our biggest blessing.
2. The excitement and unbelievable amazement of the local congregations when they see the Bible knowledge combined with the servant leadership attitude of the graduates.
3. The high level of teaching of classes and delivery of sermons by the 11 graduates. The result is greater learning by the members and increased motivation to mature more.
4. The hard work and humble attitude from Gajendra. High in leadership by service and strong in truth. Void of boasting and criticism. His ever faithful and soft response has turned closed doors into open arms.
Nepali Christians, students and teachers, are responsible for these much needed blessings and the progress that brings rejoicing. The leaders who opposed or stood at a distance in 2010 are to also be commended. They have objectively viewed the progress being made, had their fears and questions answered, and have accepted their responsibility in strengthening and expanding the Lord’s church. The respect, cooperation, fellowship, singleness of purpose, and frequent expressions of love expressed over these two weeks were prayers answered and dreams come true.
We Americans, those providing financial support from home, those who visit and teach on occasion, and myself [live here 9-10 months per year] can guide and assist this growth. Foreigners will never evangelize the local population. That can only be done when Nepali preachers and teachers, including women teaching women, “speak the truth in love” and give those words credibility by Christian example.
The progress in the past five years, and the bright hope for more growth in the future, go hand in hand with the reduction of frustration I feel after 17 years of working with the church. The internal cultural fragmentations of the past are being broken down as seen in our 11 graduates, and our present 12 students, from various areas and different ethnic groups. They work in harmony as we do campaigns all over Nepal. The visiting missionary is being supplemented by a constant working presence of the school. All these factors that were separated and fragmented in the past are now working together year round to bring this progress all over Nepal.
A brief message about our recent trip: First ….. We were invited by local leaders and joyfully received by each congregations. That is essential for a fruitful campaign. Gajendra and I taught men and women together each morning on two subjects; lessons from the book of Ephesians and lessons on personal Christian maturity, which leads to congregational growth. Gajendra continued these lessons in the afternoon while Sunita and I taught the ladies some parables of Jesus and a lesson on the scriptural role of women in the church. The lessons were appropriate, timely, and needed. We had a devotional every evening. The reception was outstanding. The smiles on the faces in every congregation said as much as their words of gratitude. Last, and related to the first, is that we were enthusiastically requested to return soon and frequently.
We will supply money to add on a room for a church meeting hall in Kurti, India. See the picture of the very crowded and very small room below. It will cost $4,000.00 with them doing all the labor. A tea worker earns about $1.25 per day [7:30-4:30]. It is the right thing to do at the most needed place.
The smiles on our faces, which you cannot see, compliment our words of gratitude and appreciation to our brothers and sisters in the USA for your prayers and love graciously supported with your generosity.
A word from Sunita:
In the 15 days campaign, Brother Jerry, Brother Gajendra and I traveled to West Bengal India, Darjeeling, Mirik and east Nepal. During that time we visited eight different congregations. We had a great experience with all the families in Christ. Brother Jerry and I, Sunita, handled the ladies’ Bible classes after the combined classes with the men and women together. It was a wonderful experience taking the ladies classes. Wherever we had classes, we were welcomed with a lot of enthusiasm and a great desire to learn the word of God. Most people had a very low Bible knowledge but a great interest to learn. Their warm welcoming attitudes and their loving hospitality touched our hearts. They have invited us to come in the near future. I am so thankful for this trip.
I would also like to thank you all for your prayers and your support. Without your support, it would not have been possible. I would also like to thank brother Jerry from my heart. He is a big encouragement and help to me and all the ladies in Nepal in all the time that he has spent here. May God bless all of you.
From your sister in Christ