“I was cruel. Christ changed me”

From gang leader to church changer

At Church Mission Society, we are passionate about seeing people released into their call in God’s mission, wherever they are. We love partnering with local leaders around the world to help them put their call into action. One of our local partners in Nepal shares his story.

My mission is to train “great commission” leaders. Over the years I have seen many young people transformed and become leaders of churches. I feel such joy when I see the people I mentored now pastoring congregations or going out to Nepal’s unreached places and people groups.

Yet, at 16 years old, my life was very different: I joined a friend in collecting dues from businessmen for his gang. When they refused to give us money, my friend and I would beat them severely.

A good life goes bad

I grew up in a mixed religion family. We had a good life; my father enjoyed a good position as a government employee. He came from a Buddhist background and would often call in a Buddhist monk to perform chants to cast out evil spirits from our home.

Yet he was a heavy drinker and once I saw him beating my mother. My mother, who came from an upper caste Hindu family, was very spiritual in Hindu practices.

Women sit in the colonnade of a Hindu temple in Nepal
The vast majority of Nepali people are Hindu; around nine per cent are Buddhist

When I was 11, my mother suddenly moved out of our home. Later we found out that my father had had an affair. My sister, brother and I lived in boarding hostels, and our father forbade us to see our mother.

When he ended up in prison, the door opened for us to see our mother again. I used to hate my father because he had been unfaithful to my mother and we were in shame. Journey into gangland

At around 13 years old, I started to smoke, drink and hang out with other disaffected teenagers in town. I remember going with some friends to a brothel area to rob the visiting men to fund an alcohol-fuelled party.

When I went to college some of my friends were already active gang members. I got more into gang life and enjoyed their company. I was appointed the leader of collecting money and hurt many men.

My friends and I were taken into custody several times but released after a few days. While in prison, I often thought of my parents and harboured feelings of revenge towards my father.

A greengrocers' shop on a hilly Nepali street
Small business owners are often forced to pay protection money to gangs

Return of the prodigal father

One day when I was around 20 years old, my father invited me to his home. I was shocked, having not seen him for many years. I knew that he had remarried, which had made me hate him more. But at the same time I had started to feel tired of my lifestyle, so decided to visit him.

I went to meet him in Kathmandu. I was welcomed into the home but refused to talk with my stepmother.

After a couple of hours a friend of my father’s came over and introduced himself and asked me some questions. Then he shared the gospel with me and challenged me to accept Christ.

As it was my first day back in my father’s home, I didn’t want to disappoint him. So I prayed the sinner’s pray to please my father.

Later I discovered that my father had a good Christian friend who shared the gospel with him many times. When my father accepted Christ, his new life prompted him to contact me again.

New life, new culture

I started living with my father, who welcomed me warmly, and was offered a job as a schoolteacher.

I began going to a house fellowship. People there would come and pray with me every evening and ask if I needed help.

When I got sick, people would come bringing fruit and offering prayer. Their words meant so much to me. I had never encountered this kind of culture before. I used to think that all people were selfish.

Slowly, I started to disconnect from the gang. As I discovered Christ more from the Bible and through fellowship, my feelings of hatred towards my father started to dissipate. I began to respect and love him, and discovered the truth that we all are imperfect and need to love and encourage each other.

Clouds low in a valley, mountains in background, houses in foreground silhouette
Clouds congregate in the valley below a Nepali town

Set free to serve

My real conversion took place in a church in 1999. This was when I totally broke with drugs and with the gang. I felt very free. I felt the peace, care and love that I had been seeking and began to experience transformation. I was cruel once but Christ changed me and planted his love in my heart.

After my conversion I went to my home town to visit my mother and brother. They had witnessed my past addictive and aggressive behaviour, and were shocked. Other acquaintances saw that I had changed.

When I started going to church, I found that the pastors were not well trained. This gave me a passion to train church leaders. My calling was confirmed when, miraculously, the Lord opened the door for me to study in India.

God allowed me to gain the experience I needed to be in a strategic position to encourage church leadership training. He allowed me to work in pioneering mission in different regions of Nepal with different denominations.

Investing in young lives

I am now helping the Nepali church in equipping, mentoring and empowering leaders who cannot go abroad for their theological studies.

The Lord has also allowed me to go out to Nepal’s unreached people groups, and impact the social development of some of the most marginalised and oppressed people in Nepal.

I feel humbled to see my investment in the lives of young people rewarded. They have been transformed and are now leading churches. This gives me strength to move in my calling no matter what difficult situation I face.

The Call in Action

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Published 27 June 2018

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