Greetings Remnant Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, dear friends, and to whomever else may stumble upon this post. Grace, mercy, and peace be with you from the One True God. Hallelujah, Jesus Christ was born! Hallelujah, Jesus Christ is risen! Hallelujah, Jesus Christ is coming again! Are you ready? We trust all of you had a wonderful Christmas season in contemplation of what the Lord has done for us. Here in Nepal, on or around Christmas, the Nepali churches typically take to the streets with Gospel tracts and microphones in honor of our Lord’s birth. Yesterday (i.e. Christmas), we saw several groups out witnessing with boldness. ‘Twas a great encouragement. If only the American churches would follow this example, putting aside all the commercialization, greed, and insanity that descends upon our culture this time of year, and utilizing the opportunity to openly declare the child born in a manger as the ONLY ONE who can redeem us from the curse of the Law (Galatians 4:4-5). Yes, there is a lot we can learn from the believers in this country. Though much has gone the way of Western “Churchianity” in Nepal (i.e. via the influence of Western missionaries more concerned with a career than a commission from the Lord Jesus Christ; II Peter 2:15 calls it the “way of Balaam”), a Remnant Body remains, and this Body often acts so as to generate our pleasant surprise. Glory to God in the Highest! On a similar note, Ricky and I were walking through a local mall several days before Christmas. It is perhaps the one place in all of Kathmandu where one can walk inside and actually think they are stepping into America. This particular day, I knew I was not in America because Christmas hymns were being piped over the speakers. “Joy to the Lord”, “Silent Night”, “O Come All Ye Faithful” . . . I simply had to pause in the middle of the breezeway and lift my hands as I heard “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing; O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.” And friends, this is in a Hindu country where the Christian population is less than one percent! As we often quip, “Miracles never cease in the Kathmandu Valley.” In those moments I thought of some of the most powerful words that Jesus ever spoke: “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). God will be glorified, my friends, if not in America, in a place where people know Him not.
This December has been extremely busy for us here in Nepal. We chose to celebrate our Lord’s birth by declaring Jesus Christ openly and publicly as much as possible in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and several places in between. In December alone, more than 5,000 Gospels of Mark have been distributed along with at least as many Gospel tracts. It has been a real joy to stand alongside and partner with the team of believers that Bishnu has put together for the work of evangelism. Some of these have recently used the microphone for the first time, and the preaching has been good. I think particularly of Laxmi, a 55-year-old brother and a former staunch Hindu who was saved late in life. For work, he sells wares from his bicycle, a simple man. Nevertheless, he is always ready to join us and has recently desired the microphone. He handles the old Hindus wonderfully on the streets, citing contradictions in their religious writings and proving the truthfulness of the Gospel from the Holy Scriptures. Then, there is Raj & Esther, a husband and wife team that Bishnu, along with FPGM’s help, will be shortly sending to a sound Bible school outside of Kathmandu where they can undergo a 5-month intensive training course. These joined us on an outreach journey to Pokhara where we targeted Muslims and did some open-air preaching in a few busy markets. Both were very bold and a true asset to the work. In the next few days, Raj will be going with Ricky and me up to the Mt. Everest region where we will be spending twelve days in the bitter cold, declaring the Lord Jesus Christ to the high-altitude Sherpa at a time where the distraction of tourism is at its annual nadir. Please pray for Laxmi, Raj & Esther, and the other brethren that we are training. Pray that the Lord will provide for their needs and continue to use them for His glory in this country where many still have not heard. And, please don’t neglect to lift up Bishnu, FPGM’s national partner, and his family. His wife still battles high blood pressure in this late stage of her pregnancy. Moreover, I would like to see FPGM’s monthly support of Bishnu increase as he is making every effort to support other local brethren, sending them to the villages for extended periods of time and supplying village pastors with Gospel materials. If you would like to contribute to our support of the local brethren here in Nepal (i.e. something that can be done a lot cheaper than supporting foreign missionaries on the ground), you can DONATE ONLINE. Be sure to note how we should appropriate the funds; and remember: all contributions, whether mail-in or online via Paypal, are tax-deductible for United States citizens.
One particular week from this December was especially sweet as it involved laboring with a dear persecuted brother who lives in a closed country. For security reasons, I must refrain from names and attempt to be vague. Suffice it to say that I have corresponded with this brother and his family for nearly five years. Apparently, he stumbled upon FPGM’s website and initially made a request for some Bibles. We sent them, and the relationship has been mutually edifying ever since. Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I saw this dear brother face-to-face for the first time. The Lord provided for him to come spend a week with us in Nepal and to taste the sweet freedom to preach Jesus Christ without fear of persecution. It was a real joy to watch this brother exercise his spiritual gifts and to enable him to carry out the Great Commission outside the borders of his own land. Ricky, Jamie, and I listened in amazement as he shared with us stories of persecution from his homeland and reports of the strength and perseverance of the Remnant Body of Jesus Christ that dwells therein. We were truly blessed to have this servant of God abide in our home and labor alongside us in the streets of Kathmandu, in the marketplaces of Pokhara, outside a few mosques, and at sacred sites of Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. Through this experience, I have come to see what an amazing training ground Nepal is for those who want to get their feet wet in the bold proclamation of the Gospel. There is no better training ground in all of the world. If you want to be a bold witness in the United States, come see us for a week or two. We’ll see that you return home completely and permanently changed for the better. Please pray for our dear brother. Unfortunately, I cannot mention his name or his country. He did return home safely, though, and was able to successfully smuggle in some Gospel materials that we sent to his church body. We are praying for two specific things in regard to this relationship. First, we are asking the Lord to allow Ricky and I to travel to his home for 7-10 days in February or March so as to encourage the persecuted brethren in his church and to provide them with some training. Obtaining visas will be the real challenge, and the Lord will have to orchestrate the approval. Secondly, we are asking the Lord to provide the necessary funds for this brother to bring a small team of young people to Nepal in the Spring so as to allow these to openly display their zeal for the Lord Jesus Christ on these streets without fear of real persecution. We really could use the help of these in targeting Nepal’s Muslim population and in terms of preaching and distribution amongst the Hindus. The will of the Lord be done. My fellow American believers, don’t forget the persecuted church. Never forget the persecuted church! Several scenes from the past month come to mind as I type:
- Outside a mosque on the outskirts of Pokhara, a crowd of angry Muslims starting shouting “Allahu Akhbar” as we preached Jesus Christ and distributed Gospel tracts. They forced us to leave the public street, vilely threatening as we shook the dust from our feet and moseyed on. So, we actually did taste some real hostility here.
- There’s the drawn-out scene of us lugging the cross from Kalanki Chok all the way to Swayambou and then circling the stupa with some other brethren so as to put a Gospel of Mark into each of the more than two hundred shops that surround this Buddhist shrine.
- In Patan Durbar Square, the center of orthodox Hinduism in Kathmandu, there was the amazing silence as we preached with a speaker at the bottom of the temple steps for more than an hour. A huge crowd gathered with zero resistance as the Gospel was preached in three different languages.
- At Pokhara’s Prithivi Chok and Kathmandu’s Balaju Chok, I recall scenes of hands reaching out windows from passing buses and trucks. We were actually out in the middle of the streets, dodging insane traffic and distributing into the vehicles. Many received Scripture portions and Gospel tracts.
- I’ll never forget the glorious sunrise that lit up the Annapurna Range as we stood atop Sarankhot in the chilly morning air outside of Pokhara.
- At Sundhara in Kathmandu, there was a boisterous old man who claimed to be a “Hindu Christian.” When Ricky rebuked him for attempting to worship God and idols, he became irate and a large crowd assembled. As I entered into the conversation, it proved a nice opportunity to utilize and practice some good Nepali vocabulary: baadmas (wicked), murti pujaa garne (idolatry), jasto lekhieko chha (It is written… ), paaprahit (without sin), shraapit (cursed), kshamaa (forgiveness), paschaattaap garnu (to repent), parameshvarko sandesh dharma hoina (God’s message is not religion), etc. Thanks to the heckler, many heard that day.
- Enroute to the bank, Ricky and I discovered a trail of Gospel tracts shredded into tiny pieces all up and down the Mahalaxmi Chok Road, evidence that Bishnu and his team had been out on the street targeting university students eariler that day. Someone has to really hate Jesus Christ to tear a Gospel tract into that many pieces.
- It was a joyous scene as our living room was packed with Nepali believers sitting on the floor and enjoying a hearty Nepali meal cooked by loving servants’ hands. These precious people filled our home upon our invite, and the Christmas fellowship was sweet.
- December 23rd, a team of us took to the streets at the Kathmandu Long Distance Bus Park where transportation departs daily for all corners of Nepal. Many heard as we celebrated Christmas together by openly declaring Jesus Christ and mass saturating with Project Jagerna Scripture portions. Only the Lord knows where the seeds scattered that day will end up.
- Of course, there’s a scene from Christmas Eve where we spent the day with some American friends and other Nepali believers: a nice fire burning underneath a metal grill plate and the sound of succulent goat meat sizzling in the flames. We cooked an entire freshly-killed, amazingly marinated goat and feasted in gratitude to the Lord for the greater part of the day. Many weeks ago, I requested prayer that the Lord would provide us with some special like-minded American fellowship. This particular day was a specific answer to those prayers.
- Finally, I recall the joy in a young pastor’s face as he came out to meet our hired van somewhere east of Pokhara. We had stopped briefly to offload some Gospel tracts and Gospels of Mark so that he and his church could take them into remote areas to the south. The joy written on his face in response to receiving materials for evangelism is something one would rarely ever see in America. When you contribute to Project Jagerna, don’t forget that the funds go toward printing and supplying such as these, local believers who can take the Word of God into the nooks and crannies of this rugged terrain where we cannot go. Nepal is 70% mountainous, and the countless numbers of hollows and valleys where villages are cached make West Virginia seem like an easily navigable public park. Please pray for Nepal and the distribution of the Word here.
I could write much more about the work here going back to the first of December, but I trust the videos posted below will serve to tell more of the story.
declaring christ in nepal, part 1
declaring christ in nepal, part 2
Please pray in earnest for Ricky, Raj, and me over the next two weeks. On Thursday at dawn, we will be leaving Kathmandu and flying into Lukla, the world’s most dangerous airport. From there, we will spend the next twelve or so days in the Solu-Khumbu at altitudes as high as 17,000 feet. Our route will partly be off the tourist trail and will involve the crossing of at least one high mountain pass. Lord willing, a couple Christian brothers from down in Solu will be walking for two days to meet us and help us porter the Gospel materials into the targeted villages. This time of year, the tourist traffic is at its lowest, so without the distraction that this normally creates, we are praying that the locals will be more open to the Gospel. To our knowledge, there are zero churches in the Khumbu and maybe only two believers (i.e. Nepali workers from the outside). Though a popular tourist destination, the Khumbu remains completely unreached and overrun with the devilry of Tibetan Buddhism. Some of the villagers will have gone down to Kathmandu for the winter, but one of our aims is to leave tracts and Gospel portions in boarded up homes to be found in the Spring. Basically, this is a situation where we will be striving to boldly saturate with the Gospel in such a way that it benefits the long-term work of some particular laborers whom we know, love, and appreciate. Such is the fellowship and partnership in the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will scatter seeds so that our brethren can water and see God’s increase as early as Spring. Pray for us, our health, our safety, strength, and an open door to proclaim Jesus Christ on the roof of the world. We will carrying 1,500 Gospel tracts and 300 Scripture portions with us, a daunting task Please also remember Jamie and the children, and Bishnu and his family, as they remain behind in Kathmandu. Lord willing, we return to the Valley on January 11th. Not until our return shall we know for sure whether or not Shawn Holes and his family will be coming to Kathmandu on January 15th. As mentioned in my previous post, we have been praying that this dear brother, his wife, and his teenage son can come labor with us for at least a month here in Nepal. I really could use Shawn’s help; Jamie really could use the fellowship with his wife, her longtime friend; and I believe their boy would benefit immensely from what we have going. Our two families continue to await provision from the Lord on this, hoping for arrival around the middle of next month. January and February are prime months to be in Nepal, and there’s much work to be done during that window. Obviously, the cost for three people to travel to this side of the world and live for at least thirty days is exorbitant, but this is but a small thing for the Lord. Please keep praying for financial provision. The plane tickets alone are going to cost $4500! Thus far, some have been generous to give, but the accrued amount isn’t yet enough for one airfare, much less three. For more information on how you can help send the Holes family to Nepal, please visit THIS FACEBOOK PAGE. As I will be out of contact for the next two weeks, it really will be a miracle if the Holes show up on the 15th of January. Well, I better wrap things up. My laptop battery is waning; power blackouts are now up to eleven hours per day in Kathmandu, and our one-month-old expensive inverter has already stopped working (It’s a Nepal thing, you wouldn’t understand). I am literally burning the midnight oil in a house that’s 55-degrees as the candle I lit when I started is a mere nub. Let me therefore conclude with one final and very important prayer request. I have often talked about the freedom to preach the Gospel here, the amazing open door that political instability has created, and the boldness with which we are able to go forth into the streets. But, it bears reminding that this is a fragile freedom, and the open door could slam shut at any time, ushering back in the persecution that the church once felt in this place. This past month, I have personally encountered several signs that indicate this day could be closer than expected. Please just pray for us, for Project Jagerna, and for Bishnu. May God give us wisdom to know when to speak openly and when to hold our peace. Just last week, I was taken aback with some strange interrogation by a foreign aid worker; such leads me to believe that our efforts are being watched and that fellow “missionaries” may be instruments used to get us deported. Many are threatened by our open preaching and free distribution of Scripture portions and Gospel tracts, both foreign workers and local “churchianity” pastors. I fear that the Laodicean churches here will soon team with the Maoists and the Hindus to try and extinguish the light of Remnant Body of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Ricky and I walked down the street with a Gospel banner several days ago, I overheard a group of men talking about how to get people like us kicked out of the country. Winds of change are blowing, my friends, and going forward, you may see us become more clandestine in our reporting of what the Lord is doing. As for hitting the streets and openly proclaiming Jesus Christ, that’s not going to change. Whatever happens is going to happen; and I rejoice that Bishnu and I are both in 100% agreement concerning the importance to continue doing what we are doing. Just pray that the door remains open; pray for our safety and security, pray after the manner that the Apostle Paul requested prayer in Ephesians 6:19-20.
Happy New Year, and may 2012 be the year that your boldness for the Gospel grows by leaps and bounds. For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ, The Boyd Family & Ricky