Pastor Kamal knows something about working against the odds. According to Operation World, only 2.85% of the country’s population is Christian. Christian believers are far outnumbered by the devout of other religions that have been entrenched in Nepal for hundreds of years.
Nevertheless, Kamal was moved by the gospel and chose to pursue becoming a pastor through ServLife’s pastor training school. After completing his training in 2011, Kamal sought to plant a church in a village of central Nepal where the vast majority of residents are devout Hindus.It was tough going at first, and Kamal met with a lot of resistance to his efforts to build a community of Christians.
Finally, he met a family who were open to hearing him share the gospel. They explained that the cost of performing the prescribed rituals according to Hindu teachings was a burden on their already inadequate finances.They said they struggled to find joy in their lives and wanted something mo
With Pastor Kamal’s encouragement and sharing of the good news, the family became the first in the village to accept Christ and the pioneers of Christian community in the area.
Since then Kamal and his congregation have faced persecution from the religious majorities in his village, but he says that the Lord has used even the oppression to grow their community. Kamal now leads more than 45 people across two villages who meeting for prayer and worship every week. In spite of all the odds, Christ is giving them the victory.
Please pray for Kamal and his growing group of believers as they share the gospel and care for the poor in their area. If you’d like to support pastor Kamal or pastors like him more directly, visit https://servlife.org/sponsorapastor/
Posted on July 29, 2014 |
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about investment, micro-finance and return on investment. It led me to revisit the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Jesus tells the story of a wealthy man who goes on a trip and leaves three different funds to three different employees. Two of them quickly make investments and double their funds. But the third employee literally buries his funds in the ground, not even earning bank interest. The wealthy man returns from his long journey and is quite pleased with the first two employees. But it does not go well for the third employee. He calls him names, chides him, gives his funds to the first employee and then kicks him out. The wealthy man drives it home with a striking quote, “‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”
This story has obvious financial implications, but I think it is beyond just financial. It has me asking questions like, Who am I mentoring? Who am I investing in? Where am I spending my time? How am I helping replicate leaders? How am I investing in future generations? I want to invest my life in the right places and hope to someday hear Jesus say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
May we be people that invest our time, money and talents into others for God’s Kingdom. I am grateful for the way that you do this in your partnership with ServLife. Thank you for your strategic investment in these pastors, children and families in India and Nepal. Your support is architecting a new future for these children and communities. Thank you.
Posted on July 14, 2014 |
Early this year the HOPE Fund launched in the Surkhet Valley of west Nepal and is having an immediate impact:
Since the HOPE Fund’s Launch, six families have received low-interest micro loans to start small businesses. These loans provided supplies such as sewing machines, a small herd of goats, or a sow for breeding. The recipients get the added resource of business development advice from local staff, as well as evaluation and assessment of their progress.
In the Surkhet Valley, most families live on less than $2 a day. A kid goat or a piglet can be sold for about $50—an adolescent animal for even more. Since the goats and pigs can give birth to several babies every six months, the added income can increase a family’s earnings by more than 120%. For example, Amrita (pictured on right) received a sewing machine and supplies to start a business as a seamstress through a HOPE Fund loan. She now earns $5 a day, more than twice the average daily wage, and is well on her way to paying off her loan.
Before the HOPE Fund many people in the Surkhet Valley had to leave their homes and villages in order to find work and support their families. HOPE Fund Local Chairman, Hom, says, “when [families] get the HOPE Fund loans it is very helpful to them because they can stay in their own homes and earn money here.” Hom dreams of many more people coming to Christ through the work of the HOPE Fund. “I want to see every family stand on their own two feet!” Hom explains, “None of Nepal’s NGOs or INGOs or government organizations have done anything to help us here. But you have come and we are really doing our best with this project. We want to make good on your investment here… Thank you so much for helping us!”
A small amount can go a long way toward empowering a family and growing a community in Nepal. To find out how you can get involved in the HOPE Fund visit our Fighting Poverty page.
Posted on June 23, 2014 |
In a remote village in the Himalayan foothills of far western Nepal, donkeys are the only means to transport goods into the area. The residents lack sources of income and many struggle to make ends meet. Often, families’ primary earners go to India for work. Women collect and sell stone from the mountainside to meet their families’ daily needs. The area’s predominant religion is Hinduism, and the region has a long history of enslaving Dalit caste members, also called “untouchables.” Even today Dalit people are forced to eat outside of restaurants and wash their own plates and cups before leaving.
This is the background against which Pastor Madan has chosen to start his church.
Madan’s congregation has faced exclusion from their local community upon conversion to Christianity. They were even threatened with being banned from local food and water sources. This oppression, however, has not stalled the growth that is taking place. In two years of service in this village, Pastor Madan has baptized more than 70 people in his church. This ministry is reaching the hearts of the local people. 98% of Pastor Madan’s church members were born into the Dalit caste, as was Madan himself. The acceptance Christ offers is transforming their society.
Over 100 people gathered on the 24th of May to celebrate Pastor Madan’s ordination to leadership of his church. The congregation has grown too large for its building and is prayerfully awaiting a new church to be constructed on land of their own. They still have a ways to go before they are able to purchase the land, but it is clear that God is blessing their faithful walk with him. Pastor Madan is certain that God will continue to grow his church and transform lives in tangible ways.
If you would like to be involved in the growing life of a church like Pastor Madan’s you can do so by sponsoring a pastor and his church plant. Find out more on our Pastor Sponsorship page.
Posted on June 16, 2014 |
In early May ten pastors celebrated their graduation from the Pastor Training School in Raxaul, India. They completed a ten-month training, which included theological studies, and training on pastoral care for a congregation. The students were excited for this milestone and Director Albert Das says they are feeling equipped to pastor their churches.
These men and women are following God’s call on their hearts to bring His Word into the darkest of places. ServLife is launching a new Pastor Sponsorship Program that enables those who want to support these pastors to sign up to sponsor them and their church plant. This sponsorship provides for their continued training and oversight of these pastors and encourages them as they do God’s work in difficult areas of the world.
In north Indian states only 1-2% of the population is Christian. These pastors are planting churches in villages where no churches exist. As a result, they often experience opposition from religious extremists and even persecution from the government in their local area. They also face financial issues as they serve in severely impoverished areas with little funding of their own. Unfortunately, only about 5% of U.S. missions giving goes to support the planting of churches in areas where there are none. These pastors are stepping into a gap, trusting God to provide as they build God’s kingdom in these remote and under-served areas. So, as we celebrate these new graduates we are reminded of the urgency of their work and the necessity to support them. We hope you will join us in this partnership.
Posted on May 31, 2014 |
If Pradip were not living and studying at ServLife’s children’s home in Nepal, he would likely be working as a shepherd in the village of his birth. Pradip lost both his parents to tuberculosis at the age of three. This might well have spelled out a life of struggle for Pradip; scraping out a living with distant relatives and going to work with the livestock at a very young age. He says that after his parents passed away he was not receiving the love and care he needed in his home village. Pradip may never have seen a classroom or received the love and attention so essential for a child’s growth and development.
Thankfully, the danger to Pradip’s future was recognized, and he came to the ServLife children’s home. He is now 15 and has been at the home for about ten years. He is in ninth grade and considers himself a family member in this home. Pradip refers to the staff that cares for the children as his parents, and the other children as his brothers and sisters. He says, “With the support of my surrogate parents I am doing well in my studies and I have the opportunity to learn about God. Now I can understand the love my late parents wanted to give me.” Pradip shares that his favorite things about his home are first experiencing the love and care of his surrogate parents, and second the cooperation and companionship of his brothers and sisters at the home.
Pradip credits his new parents with enabling him to make his future bright. “My parents have shown great and unexpected love towards me,” he says, “so I want to show love to others in my future career.” Pradip wants to help others through becoming a police officer. He hopes that by becoming a public servant he can begin to pass along the love he has been shown by his surrogate family. Pradip is joyfully taking on the challenges of forging a future path for himself, but acknowledges that he could not have come to this place on his own.
“I thank God and my new parents,” Pradip says, “without them I would not receive this opportunity to study and create a career for myself.” Pradip is convicted of the value of the love and opportunities he has received. He says, “I had never experienced such parental love before. Every child in this home should be thankful for this privilege. Children should have the chance to experience this parental love!”
Posted on May 12, 2014 |
In April I spent two weeks in India and Nepal visiting with our directors, meeting with pastors, sharing sponsor packets with children and interviewing families in the micro-finance program. I slept in a hut in a remote village, took pictures of hundreds of children and rode a motorcycle over a river, through a valley and on the side of a mountain on Easter Sunday. It was epic.
Throughout the trip, I was often reminded of the importance of relationships and partnerships. Our Children’s Director in Nepal is partnering with local schools to provide education for hundreds of children. Our Indian Director is partnering with local church leaders to start over 100 churches. Nepali leaders are partnering with village leaders to provide small loans to empower families on the brink of extreme poverty. Alone we can accomplish a little. But together, we can do so much. Your partnership with these leaders is so critical and transformational for their ministries and communities. Thank you for your strategic investment in these leaders, pastors, children and families. I have seen the direct impact of your partnership, and it is making a huge difference. Thank you.
May God grant you endurance and encouragement through these friendships and partnerships. With one mind and one voice, may we glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- based on Romans 15:5-6
Posted on May 5, 2014 |
The Terai region of Nepal is a province where people of the Tharu tribe have traditionally worked and lived. Because of Therai’s desirable fertility, the Tharu often found themselves and their land under the oppression of other people groups. This oppression was the reason Merina’s father, an agricultural worker, could no longer earn enough to support her. And so, when a six-year-old Merina was brought to ServLife’s children’s home in Kathmandu, she was mourning the loss of her previous life, which she spent mostly with her relatives after her mother died in childbirth. “That first day I cried a lot,” Merina says, “I looked around and I could see the happy faces of the children who lived [in the home]. Some of them even made jokes to get me to smile, but it was too hard for me to laugh, so I just watched them.” Merina refused to eat dinner that night, not wanting to stay in her new home. It upset her that the other children urged her to call the caregivers “mummy”; she missed her own family so much. That night after bedtime she thought long and hard about running away, but was too afraid to leave in the night.
The next morning the children and staff gathered for devotions. Merina looked again at the other children. “I was looking at all the people who were singing, and watching while they praised God,” Merina says, “I began to look again at their happy faces… and the praise and worship touched my heart. I began to know that this place was part of a great plan God had for me.” In the following days Merina warmed to her new “mummies”. Her brothers and sisters at the home continued to love her and care for her, making her feel welcome. Slowly, joy reentered Merina’s heart and she began to become closer to her new family.
Today, Merina is sixteen and studying in the tenth grade. Her teachers and caregivers say she excels in school and loves math and science. She is a big helps at the home, assisting with caring for the other children. Using these skills and experiences, Merina hopes to become a nurse. She feels God has given her a heart to serve others and wants to help women who suffer in childbirth like her mother did. Merina is excited to further her education, saying, “I am happy and proud to have this opportunity to continue my studies, because many children in this world do not have such chances… I suppose that if I was not here [at this home] I would not have this chance to plan for my future.” Out of her sorrow at losing her old life, God brought Merina joy in a new one. Now, she is a hopeful and enthusiastic young woman, ready to make a difference in her community. She says, “I thank God for providing me with such a caring place and for making me so happy. I thank Him from the bottom of my heart.”
Posted on April 28, 2014 |
In John 8:12, Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” During the month of April we transition out of lent and a long winter, and into spring and Easter. The journey out of darkness and into the light is led by Jesus. He is the pillar of fire that led the Israelites through the dessert at night. He is the light that didn’t go out during Chanukah. He is the fire walker with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He is the illumination of the ascension and the glow of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He is still the light of the world and uses his church to shine his love in places of darkness.
As Jesus mentions in Matthew 5, you are the light of the world. And your partnership with the church in India and Nepal is bringing light to the darkness. It generates income for families on the brink of extreme poverty. It is providing education and love for children. And it is spreading the hope of Jesus to villages that have never heard of him. You are making a difference, and we are deeply grateful for your support. Thank you.
Lord, may your light shine brightly through our lives and partnerships. Display your light and love to our next-door neighbor and our global neighbors. Let your light reside and illuminate through your church. Amen.
Posted on April 14, 2014 |