Facts about Nepal
* Nepal is home to eight of the world’s tallest mountains including Mount Everest.
* 50% of Nepal’s population earns less than $1.25 a day.
* Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha.
* Nepal is located above India and below Tibet.
* According to a 2001 survey, 80.6% of Nepal is Hindu, 10.7% is Buddhist, 4.2% is Muslim, 3.6% is Kirent, and 0.9% other.
Jessica King worked in Nepal as a missionary for six months in 2001. She says, “When I lived in Katmandu (the capital of Nepal) I could feel deep spiritual oppression every day. Believers were few and persecuted. At that time, Nepal was a Hindu kingdom closed to the Gospel. Daily we prayed that things would change in this beautiful nation.”
Since then, the government has changed hands several times and we hear recent reports that Nepal is opening up to the Gospel. We have been told that entire villages and people groups are willing to forsake their Hindu deities and become believers in Jesus. When we heard about this open door, we knew the time was ripe to go to Nepal for a public, open-air presentation of the Gospel, which hadn’t been allowed previously.
You have Painted the City Yellow Three days before the Nepal Healing Festival was scheduled to begin, the head of our pastor’s committee received a call from the mayor of the city demanding that he come to his office. When the pastor arrived, it was obvious that the mayor was angry. He said, “All over the city, I see yellow posters advertising your Healing Festival. You have painted the entire city yellow. Who gave you permission to do this?” Politely, the pastor said, “You gave us permission.” He pulled out a sheet of paper that clearly gave the Christians permission to advertise for the festival. At the bottom of the paper, in blue ink, was the mayor’s own signature. The mayor had forgotten that several weeks previously, he had given his permission. Embarrassed, the mayor began to apologize. The pastor decided to take a chance and said, “Sir, when the Hindus do a festival, you give them money to help with the expenses and when the Buddhists have a festival, you give them money. As you know, the Christians are also tax payers, will you give us some money to help pay for a Christian Festival?” In a great gesture of welcome, the mayor of the city decided to donate 20,000 rupees (about $280) to the Christian festival.
Welcomed to the City Over 4,000 Christians welcomed us to their city with a giant rally and parade. A traditional Nepali band marched at the front and provided marching music. Church choirs sang, dancers worshiped the Lord, shouts of “Hallelujah” rang out, and the line of Christians, four persons wide, stretched for almost a kilometer, from one end of the city to the other. On the sidelines, Hindus gathered to watch the spectacle. They had no idea there were so many Christians in their country. They were amazed to hear the believers singing Christian words to traditional Nepali tunes. As the parade arrived at the Festival grounds in the middle of the city, the worship team kicked off the festivities with a fast-paced song of praise to Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas Many top government officials were curious about why we were in their city so they came to see what was happening. We gave them seats of honor on the platform. On the first day of the festival, I sat next to the chief of police, the chief of the armed forces, and the head administrator of the entire district of Surket. They started to talk among themselves. It was obvious they were confused about something. Finally, the three of them nominated the head administrator to ask a question. He leaned over and asked, “What is a healing festival? I have never heard of this before.” He had a very perplexed look on his face. As a Hindu in a predominately Hindu nation, he knew little about Christians and their ways. “A healing festival is when Jesus heals people emotionally, spiritually, and physically. There are many hurting people and Jesus wants to heal them,” we explained. “Oh, now I understand,” said the official. Instead of a puzzled look, he had a smile on his face. “This healing festival is a very good thing.” Then, in a final gesture of peace, he leaned over and said, “Merry Christmas.” It was the only Christian phrase he knew but it was his way of saying that he was happy to have Christians minister healing to the people of Surket.
Hindus Healed on the First Day My co-evangelist, Dr. Jack Myers preached the first day on the power of the name of Jesus. Thousands of people shouted the name of Jesus, many of them Hindus calling on Jesus for the first time. In the middle of the sermon, an elderly gentleman to the right of the platform jumped to his feet and lifted his walking cane in the air. He started to shout, “I’m healed. I’m healed.” The entire crowd turned to look at him. He threw his cane to the ground and began lifting his hands over his head. There was a huge smile on his face. After this spontaneous miracle, the preaching was over as God began to touch people across the field. People streamed forward to give their testimonies. A blind eye was opened. A man with back pain for four years was healed. Then, a Hindu man came to the platform. He explained that he had been deaf in his right ear for five years. As he listened to the sermon, his ear popped open and he was able to hear. We tested his hearing and he was able to hear even the softest whisper. When the crowd saw that he was Hindu, they began to talk, “Jesus is healing even Hindu people.” At the end of the first day’s service, as people left the field, it was obvious that word about what had happened was going to spread across the city. The whole town was talking about how Jesus was touching the Hindus.