Nepal: remote possibilities
When her daughter was healed through the prayers of local Christians, Misha decided to follow Jesus. She now leads a church in her village.
Growing up, Misha hadn’t heard of Jesus – but now she has started a church in her village, thanks to the experience and confidence she gained through training with CMS local partners.
Misha (name changed) grew up in a Hindu family in rural Nepal. She hadn’t ever heard of Jesus. She lived in the hills with her husband, two sons and a daughter, but her husband left her and she cared for the children as a single parent. During Nepal’s civil war (1996 to 2006), Misha fled with her family – becoming one of hundreds of thousands of people who were displaced to other rural areas in Nepal.
As the years went by, Misha grew increasingly concerned about her daughter’s health. She was unwell for a long time, and Misha didn’t know what to do, especially as the cost and the difficulties of travelling made it impossible to access treatment.
Church: worth a try
One day, Misha’s cousin came to visit. This cousin shared her experience of meeting and following Jesus, including her own daughter being healed, and suggested Misha try going to a church.
Out of other options, Misha was sceptical, but decided to take her daughter to a church. The church she found was a long journey away, but when she got there Misha was amazed. People at the church prayed for her daughter, and the girl was healed! After this, Misha’s whole family came to faith in Jesus, and Misha continued to attend church.
After a few months, it became clear that the church was too far away to travel there every week, so Misha and her family sought other Christians closer to home. This isn’t a simple thing to do in rural Nepal. Travelling between villages can be challenging and sometimes there’s only one family or individual following Jesus in a given village.
Yet Misha met some local believers who gathered together for weekly worship, and she and her family joined a church much closer to their village.
Pillar of the church
As time went by, Misha became a key member of that church, and when problems came up and two leaders left, she stood firm, supporting the church and handling the issues that had arisen. Finding herself in a position of leadership, Misha realised that she needed some training to equip her in this role.
Misha wasn’t alone in feeling ill-equipped for leadership – most of the leaders of rural churches in Nepal are first generation believers in Jesus. Equipping leaders in remote and rural districts is a real challenge, leaving many churches without leaders. For new leaders, it is difficult to access long-term formal theological education – as that might mean relocating to study in Kathmandu.
In the face of this challenge, Misha heard about someone who could help. CMS local partners in Nepal run training for local church leaders through shorter courses in more accessible places. Misha heard that she could join a three-month course in a nearby town and signed up.
The courses these local partners run cover a range of different topics, including: discipleship, counselling, biblical preaching, leadership and Bible study methods.
Starting the training was a big step for Misha, and it wasn’t easy. Again like many leaders in rural and remote areas, Misha had not had the opportunity to access higher levels of education. In her case, she had only received primary school education, so study was difficult. Yet she tried her best and was able to complete the course, gaining valuable experience. She also found space to spend quiet time with God, and this time changed her and she left committed to God’s mission.
After the training, Misha returned to her village and shared what she had learned with others in her church. She commented, “I learned and developed myself to bring people to Christ and share the gospel confidently.” Misha felt far more able to care for the people in her church.
As a result of the training and the changes in her life, Misha has now started a church in her own village, with connections to the church she had been leading before. Misha leads this new church and even provided the land to build it.
Today there are 60 to 70 followers of Jesus attending this village church, as many Christians from a Hindu background have come to join them.
Recently one of the local partners was able to visit the church to see how God was using Misha. He shared, “I was very much encouraged by what she is doing and by the zeal and passion of the believers for Christ. I feel really God is using her to build his kingdom on this earth.”