Category Archives: Mission

Nepal Trip and Holistic Approach to the Needs


AN-Satya

Friends, I just got back from Nepal. I travelled half way around the globe and spent one whole month in Khokana, my birthplace which is also one of the most affected areas by the recent earthquake.  The 7.8 magnitude scale earthquake shook the very foundations in western and central region of Nepal on 25th April 2015.  Waves of aftershock followed by another fresh 7.4 Rector scale quake destroyed other remaining infrastructures in Khokana. The aftershocks of 4-5 magnitude scale are persistently felt almost every day. I was there for a relief work, solely focusing on the community health project. Needs are sky high; generous gifts from people and national/international humanitarian agencies have been helping people with basic needs.

My one month stay was fruitful, in a sense, that I was able to build six permanent toilets for a displaced community of more than 100 people which consists of 27 households living in their temporary shelters in a public property called Bäkhä (pronounced as Baa Khaa). Prior to my arrival there, they had only two makeshift toilets made of only some bamboos and corrugated galvanized zinc roofing sheets. No proper sewage management or privacy. One of them was already knocked down thus unusable.

Basic needs for survival are demanding, as they will be living in the temporary shelters for, at least, next two years. Some of those living in the shelters will never be able to come out and move back to the old resettlement due to poverty. They might end up living in the slum. Yet, these people did not look broken. I saw their will to come out of this situation. I saw their resilience to get up and move on. Meantime, the spirit of dependence on outsiders also was prevalent among other survivors. Those in need had less or nothing, but others who already had were amassing more. Greed, selfishness, dissensions, discord, and jealousy are pervading the once generous hearts.

Sometimes, we easily lose sight  of eternity when something bad happens to people, and we tend to care only about their physical needs. As much as they need help in the midst of this magnitude of calamity, they also need a redeemer who can see them through and through and change their hearts. God has called us to be ambassadors to show his love through our actions. Please pray for the survivors that Christ’s love will be manifested in their lives. And also pray for God’s people who are working to bring the hope of Christ to the displaced people.

Find out more about what’s happening in Khokana.

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Sabbatum Excerpt: A Grace-Awakened Approach to Mission by George Verwer


There is such a need for this grace-awakened, big-hearted approach in mission work. There are so many areas where a lack of grace causes hurt and tension and positively hinders the work of God across the globe. So often our fellowship as Christians seems to be based more on minor areas in which we are like-minded, than on the real basics of the gospel and the clear doctrines of the Christian faith which are so amazing and on which we should be more united…

I think of all the people who have been rejected, to some degree, because they did not fit in with someone else’s expectations – because they were not Baptists or Anglicans or because they did not speak in tongues, or did not come up to the mark on any one of a hundred possible issues, which may or may not be of genuine importance. Many have felt rejection and hurt because they were not received by those who emphasized the gifts of the Spirit, simply because they did not have the same understanding of those gifts. The reverse is also true. Those who emphasize the gifts of the Spirit have felt rejected by members of the body who didn’t.

What makes this problem even more complex is that so often preachers emphasize these smaller issues from the pulpit, affecting how their congregations think and how they evaluate other people and their beliefs. It seems to me that our behavior often testifies that these little issues are more important to us than the unity and reality that we have in Jesus Christ by the new birth through His Holy Spirit. We lack grace in this area.


George Verwer, Out of the Comfort Zone: Grace, Vision, Action! (Authentic Publishing: Colorado Springs, CO, 2000), 5-6.

 

Ambassadorial Talk: Jonah Yonjan


From the month of April, we are going to feature a Christian leader in our Jonah Yonjan Portrait
“Ambassadorial Talk” interview section. This time, we are featuring a prominent leader, motivator, mobilizer, youth pastor, and faithful servant of God. Yes, he is Jonah Yonjan. He has been with Operation Mobilization Nepal for past 2 decades working in various capacities. He served as a National Coordinator of OM Nepal for past decade. At present, he is pursuing his further theological and leadership studies in Manila, Philippians with his family. Meantime, he is also involved in the ministry.  Recently, I (Satya) contacted him online for an interview without asking him if he would be willing to answer some of my questions for the blog. Despite his busy schedule with his school, family, and ministry, he was ready for this project and sat down to spare his time to answer these questions. He is a man of grace.


ATS: Please tell us briefly about your family and yourself. What brought you here in Philippians? Will you elaborate a little bit about your involvement in ministry here?

I was brought up in a very devoted Buddhist Family. I came to the Christion faith at the age of 19. Before I left the country for Philippians, I have served the Lord in Nepal for 2 years as a Youth Pastor and 18 years with Operation Mobilization Nepal as a National Coordinator and ministering in the church as an Elder.  I am married to Niru Yonjan and have one son, Johnny Yonjan.

Since I came to Manila, I have been working with High School students. God has given me this unique opportunity to work with medical students from next year. On the other hand, I am pursuing a master’s degree in Leadership in the International Graduate School of Leadership.

ATS: What made you Christian? What was so unique about Christianity?

I grew up in a religious family; I always looked for a true God.  There was time in my life when everything was downhill. Then I sought for someone who could help me.  Jesus then came as my comforter and gave me a new life. God’s love for the sinners and his forgiveness of our sin through the completed work of Jesus on the Cross is so unique and unrivaled in other religions that the message became so real and appealing to me when I first heard it.


I think what is so unique about Christianity is that it is not a religion or mere “dos” and “don’ts” but a relationship with One true God.


ATS: What have been the greatest influences in your life to get involved with the Operation Mobilization (OM) ministry in Nepal?

Operation Mobilization is a movement, not just an evangelistic program. We strive to reach out to the unreached and unchurched people all around the country. Every Christian is a missionary, and there is no exemption for anyone to not to share the Gospel. It was this movement that had a greater impact in my life. So, I got involved with OM. And you too have great experiences with OM! (He was referring to my involvement and quite an extraordinary experience at that with OM Nepal in the past).

ATS: Do you still have a vision for OM Nepal?

Definitely. I have seen His faithfulness to me all those years serving Him in OM.  He has helped me build the National base office, National Leadership Development, Mercy Ministry, Skill development  with Agriculture training and National board as well as to see Nepalese young people into the mission with the Ship ministry. Now, I am taking a sabbatical year after 18 years to train and empower myself for future ministry. God willing, I want to see OM Nepal become the missionary sending base for Nepali Christian society. I want to see Ministry among the Muslims in Nepal, especially in Terai in its 8 different districts (Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mohatari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsha).

ATS: Do you still do personal evangelism? Can you tell us a little bit about your imprisonment during Panchayat (one party) system in Nepal?

Personal evangelism is the effective way to bring the gospel to the lost people. Therefore, I still continue with this movement.

I was in the east side of the southern part of Nepal with the team and our plan was to bring the gospel to the Maithalee community.  I think I have a good command in speaking Maithalee, the local language to communicate the gospel effectively to the local Maithalees. We had an open air ministry in the marketplace. During the ministry time in the marketplace, we asked people to join for the Jesus film show in the evening.  It was about 8 pm; one of the Hindu people went to the police station and reported about our ministry in the market place. The government officer and the Police came to where we were showing the Jesus film. They arrested me right at the venue. All the other team members fled, which I never thought about doing it. They put me to trial and was sentenced a month of imprisonment. That time, however, was also an opportunity for me to share Christ with the prisoners.

The allegation from the then Royal government against me was of converting Hindus to Christianity. That was not true though. I knew proselytizing was against the constitution in the then only Hindu kingdom in the world. I was only sharing my faith with people of different faith.

It took me almost 2 years to fight my case in the court. I thank God for the victory that he gave me over all those accusations. And I became a free man again.  While I was in the prison, they did not allow me to meet with other Christians. I was imprisoned and chained under the category of “A” level prisoner. This category points out the severity of the crime. I was a “Religious criminal”.

Thank God for the seeds that I have planted amongst the Maithalee tribe. Now, five churches have been already planted there and reaching out to many.

ATS: Over these years since you gave your life to Christ, you have been through many ups and downs. If you were to live your Christian life over again, what would you have done differently?

Well, in those days Christians were not allowed to meet and have fellowship. Christians were so afraid of the local government. I was also rejected by my own family for my faith in Christ. Religion was not free like today. I had to defend my Christian rights in the community and the government to emphasize that I am not a second-class citizen of the country.

ATS: Finally, what do you believe is the world’s greatest need today?

God is a gracious God and He still loves so much for the people of the world. The greatest need is to bring hope, love and peace.  Therefore, harvest is ready but we need more workers to reap harvest for the kingdom of God.

Tract Evangelism Still Relevant in Nepal


I believe that the tract evangelism is still relevant and effective in this age in Nepal. Given the consideration of geo-polical, and social aspect of the country, tract evangelism is still one of the effective methods to share the gospel to people of different faiths in the country. Working with an international mission organizations like Operation Mobilization and Gospel for Asia have offered me an enriched experience of sharing the gospel through the tracts. From my own firsthand experience in the evangelistic ministry, I have seen and heard numerous stories about people being saved through reading the tracts.

Now, let me explain why the gospel packets or tracts are still one of the effective tools to reach out and share the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Not all of them who hear or read the gospel message come to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet we have a good reason to believe that, if not many, few people will and have come to faith through reading the short but pithy tracts.

I had the privilege of visiting some remote parts of the country with mission teams. I noticed, particularly, people reading the pamphlets and manifestoes of political parties that were laying off the road for days or maybe months. In the next scenario, I saw an auto-rickshaw with megaphone also distributing some politically motivated leaflets, manifesto, and pamphlets in the village. Once I came back to Kathmandu, I saw the same incidents reoccurring. This was not something new happening in the town but I just happened to realize that it was happening that time. Those series of incidents had an enormous impact on my way of thinking about tract evangelism.

I know many people would not bother to hear the gospel from someone, especially in the urban area, they do not know of. However, they tend to read the literature they find on the road or handed out by even a perfect stranger. Not all of them who hear or read the gospel message come to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet we have a good reason to believe that, if not many, few people will and have come to faith through reading the short but pithy tracts. In some cases, people came to believe Jesus as the One who he claimed to be – the living Son of God– by reading only some verses from the tracts. Those verses address their spiritual hunger and need  deep inside their hearts in the given moment of their lives. That transform their lives. We may be tempted to ask how on earthy they would grow in spiritual maturity. There are churches and believers who are willing to walk with them in their spiritual journey. Growing into spiritual maturity is a life-long process. Let alone this topic be left to discuss on different day.

Once a man shared his testimony with me how he came to Jesus. He went to the local food mart to buy some salted peanuts. The shopkeeper put the salted peanuts into a piece of paper and handed him. [In Nepal, some local stores still use papers to pack things by wrapping the corners of papers]. While eating peanuts, he saw something written about life here and afterlife. He started reading it. The message written in the paper touched and greatly moved his heart and he became Christian.

The punch line is: Many people have access to internet and gadgets in our country. Yet, there are still a good numbers of people in the different parts of the country who do not have either no access to electricity or cannot afford to access the internet. Gospel tracts can be a helpful tool to share Jesus to those people.

Recovery From The Western Blueprint Evangelism


By Khechyon Maharjan

My take on this topic is not to condemn the Western Christianity. Rather I would like to point out to the history and learn from it. Back in mid 20th century, Western Churches and missions realized why pouring millions, if not billions, of dollars in Asia and South Africa failed to bear fruits in the mission field. Churches from the West thought that their evangelistic model, tools and guidelines would be the best mean to win souls of those who were utterly marinated into animism and civilized into pluralistic society.

The West imposed their understanding of the Gospel into very different culture with distinctive values and characteristics. And history is there for us to learn how badly they failed until they realized that their blueprint evangelism would not work in the context they were toiling at the time. They trained indigenous people to reach out to their people in their context in their own language.

Indigenous churches have flourished since the western blueprint for evangelism is not strictly followed or implemented. However, the western branded Christianity and its ghost of worship, parroting doctrine, and individualistic salvation culture have been serenely haunting Nepalese churches. This is not only our problem but half of the globe has gotten the same branded imported Christianity from the West.