ServLife’s newest staff member in Nepal, Lazarus Thulung, tells his story:
I was born in the tiny village of Deupuje, Solukhumbu district, Sagarmatha zone of Eastern Region, Nepal in 1973. My parents were new followers of Christ, with my grandparents being the first believers in our family.
I love my grandfather’s story of how he came to know Jesus: After the Second World War he found himself fighting with the British Army against the Japanese in a Malaysian jungle. He’d eaten lunch, then stopped to rest on a bench. It was high noon, but the blinding light Grandfather saw in the sky was far brighter than sunlight. And the clear voice that rang in his hears telling him to return to Nepal and preach the name of Jesus was like none he’d ever heard. Not understanding the vision, Grandfather confided his experience to his British officer, who was a follower of Christ.
On a Sunday morning two months later, Grandfather and his officer went to church where there was a marriage ceremony between a white woman and black African man. My grandfather was moved and astonished at the absence of traditional prejudice and in that Christian marriage he realized there was no distinction between rich and poor, black and white. He saw equality and no evidence of the oppressive caste system so prevalent in his own country.
Still not understanding God’s call to preach to the Nepalese, my grandfather returned to Nepal after retiring from the British Army. By then he’d been baptized in India and given brief Bible training at a missionary hospital in Raxwal. Back home again, he shared the gospel of Christ with a retired friend and veteran in the British army. This man believed along with other British vets and the group became a small fellowship in Dharan! This was the first church in eastern Nepal and from it God began spreading His Good News to all of eastern Nepal.
As you might imagine, it was Grandfather who shared Christ with my father. A school teacher in Solukhumbu while Grandfather was in Dharan, my father received the Bible his father had been given at the missionary hospital in Raxwal. Under the light of a pine tree, Father finished reading the New Testament in a week! He loved the stories of Jesus and though he was uncertain how to pray, my father trusted Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Persecution came next. After both of my parents became followers of Christ, local villagers forbid us water from the common well. My mother’s parents insisted she abdicate her Christian faith and she died while giving birth to me.
Upon her death, my father was left to bury Mother without help from his village. This broke his heart yet caused him to trust God for strength to keep preaching the name of Jesus. Meanwhile, Grandfather was thrown into prison 24 times, always when my father wasn’t home to ward off the authorities. Police began searching our house every week. Several times, my father was beaten by our local villagers and the police put him in prison, too.
Back home, this anguish tore at our childhood. We had trouble studying; concentration was all but impossible knowing that danger was imminent. Every day before sunrise we buried our Bible and other Christian literatures in the paddy field. At sunset, we’d uncover them, then pray and study. But only at night. The police never found us out.
Today the Good News of Jesus is like a forest fire. It’s spreading everywhere in eastern Nepal where more than 700 churches and over a thousand Christians praise the name of Jesus. As for my grandparents and parents: They continue pastoring churches throughout the east of Nepal.
I learned what it meant to be a faithful follower of Jesus by looking at the example my parents and grandparents set for me. Despite persecution and suffering, they chose Jesus, and watching how they lived gave me an inner faith and strength that’s convinced me I must pass on their legacy to this and future generations.