Almost eleven months ago Nepal was hit by the first of a series of earthquakes that have devastated the country. Border blockages halting all international commerce has crippled the country over the past six months. All import items, especially food and petrol products, which include fuel for all motor vehicles plus cooking gas, have been on dangerously short supply. The result is that Nepal is really hurting and the people have no control, nor even a voice, about making the future better.
It is under these extreme circumstances that we had our best-attended lectureship at the Nepal Center For Biblical Study [NCBS] from March 8-11. We had many church leaders from many congregations all over Nepal, and also some from India. Over one hundred people composed the audience at most of our classes. Everyone was requested to read the book of Acts two or more times before coming for these classes. Our focus was on church growth. The emphasis was on what the early Christians did to grow the church … BUT … special attention was always directed at the ATTITUDE that was behind their behavior. We were blessed by good lessons from six Nepali preachers and three American teachers. That blessing was multiplied by the discussions and question/answer sessions that marked most classes.
Our lectureship ended Friday afternoon by distributing $160,000 to church leaders in many earthquake damaged areas to assist in rebuilding homes. In the past we have provided food items, clothing, blankets, cooking utensils, weather protection, and other necessities as the needs demanded. None of this could have been done without the love, generosity, and cooperation between local church leaders and concerned Christian individuals, congregations, and groups in America. We thank them and we thank God for this outpouring of love expresses in financial aid. As you would expect, the donations have slowed down mightily, yet we will still be able to offer some assistance in the future.
Our twelve students began classes last November. They will go home for their first holiday on April 1, returning three weeks later. It is always exciting to have their family and friends notice their progress in Bible knowledge, their enthusiasm to serve, and their ability to teach and preach God’s word.
Gajendra, Arun, Parsuram, and I will visit a number of village congregations, most of which will have graduates of NCBS or present students, for teaching, fellowship, and encouragement. Sunita will join one of these groups to provide guidance and teaching to the ladies.
Craig and Teresa Phillips will host a special lectureship in Pokhara in May. Eddie Cloer, editor of Truth For Today, and father of Teresa, will be the guest speaker at this time. We plan to take our twelve students to the classes and also to help in personal work in the Pokhara area.
NCBS will host our first Ladies Lectureship and Classes from June 7-10. Christian ladies from all parts of Nepal and some from India will join us in this labor of love. As with the March lectureship, we will pay for their transportation, food, and lodging. The theme of this meeting will be determined soon. We expect the teachers to come well prepared and we request that the class does the same by studying prior to entering the classroom.
The first paragraph of this report focused on our problems. The rest of the letter talks about our spiritual blessings. We are truly blessed and thankful. Life has its way of reminding us to “Set your minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).
May the grace, peace, and blessings of God be with all of you in your work for the Lord’s kingdom, wherever that may be.