He grasped my hand in his leathery worn one as he prayed simple and sincere words over me. Eloquent and lengthy statements weren’t necessary because behind every word he prayed was a lifetime of experience: persecution, miracles, entire villages coming to salvation. This man was one of the first believers in his area, coming to Christ after his wife was miraculously healed. Since then he was beaten, chased out of the village, and tormented by his family. As a result this 70 year old man with a jolly smile and a dream to see Nepal turned to Christ has discipled spiritual leaders who are bringing the gospel into the four corners of Nepal. And he never even learned how to read.
Our voices weave together in a harmony of tones and different languages. I sit on my knees in awe of who God is and what he’s done in the lives of each of the 15 children around me. Kids that have faced extreme poverty and loss of loved ones. Some have a parent who is a Buddhist Monk or Hindhu Priest, one boy’s father even persecuted the believers who now care for him. Yet here they are standing, kneeling, lifting their hands. Tears fall down Dawa’s face, the one who led her classmate to the Lord after praying for her for 5 years. Others are seeing visions of Jesus and heaven and hearing the Father express his love to them.
Muktuk’s teenage children are teaching him to speak English. We sit with him around his kitchen table with tummies full of Tibetan food and piece his words together as he slowly unravels his story. A leader in a guerrilla group rampaged their village church one night, burning bibles, breaking instruments, and beating the pastor. The persecution in the village got so extreme that all the Christians moved to the city to reform their community, but that didn’t hinder the gospel. Muktuk and others from his church have been chased by Tibetan police for sharing the gospel. Once as they were prayer walking during monsoon season they got lost in the jungle for three days with no food or water. They have persevered through threats against their church, members being arrested for baptizing youth, and so much more. Now Muktuk focuses on raising up his many children and sending them out to do even more radical things then he himself did.
In Dhaading, the most Christian region of Nepal, lies a little village where it all began. A porter held a gospel track in his hand as he returned from a hike to find his son still sick and lying in bed, despite all their efforts to get him better. So in a last ditch effort he took the words in the booklet seriously and spent the whole night by his son’s side calling on Jesus. The next morning the boy was healed and many of his family members gave their hearts to the God who heals. For three years they were persecuted by their fellow villagers, forcing them to live in cliffs in the jungle, before some village leaders approached them. They told them of a sick woman in the village and said that if they could heal her they would worship their God, if not they would execute them. Needless to say, they and the woman survived and in just a short time Christianity began to flood the entire region.
These are some of the heroes I have been honored to stumble across on my journeys. They are the definition of a faceless people, looked over even by many in their own community. They live humbly, demanding no attention, but they wear crowns of glory. They are the ones in whom the Spirit of God dwells and demonstrates himself just as He did in the New Testament. They are the chosen. They are the brave. They are not so different then us.