Everybody needs good neighbours
BMS World Mission worker Christine Preston is the deputy director in charge of training cluster team leaders and reporting for BMS partner - United Mission to Nepal (UMN). Here she shares with us how one man, Nabu Raj, has put Jesus' teaching of "love your neighbour" into action.
Nabu Raj lives in Nawalparassi with his wife and two children. He is from an agricultural background and is a dedicated pastor of a growing congregation with a heart for evangelism.
He used to visit homes and local villages with Christian literature in his bag and share with everyone he met about his faith. His church grew strong and currently has over 200 baptised members.
This year he attended a 'Church and community mobilisation process' workshop, which completely changed his traditional approach to sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus with his community. He realized that he could share God's love in practical ways, not just with words.
Returning to his church he gathered the 11 elders and deacons and shared with them all he had learnt. They were interested but sceptical and felt disheartened that they had no resources.
Naba Raj challenged them and everyone was asked to put into the circle all the resources they had on them at that time. These were then gathered together and a great chain of resources was made available.
Immediately the group realised that in fact they did have resources and were convicted that they should do something for the poor in their local community. They discussed, prayed, contributed as they were able, and sought resources from elsewhere.
One Nepali NGO gave them 14 goats. The elders and deacons group then identified poor people in the community, discussed with them and distributed the goats - 90 per cent went to non-Christians.
No one was very experienced in animal health so when the goats got sick the beneficiaries called the elders who went and prayed. The sick animals recovered and all have had kids so that a further 14 goats have been distributed to more families.
Another NGO gave opportunity for tailoring training. The Christians identified those who would benefit from this and after training have supported the establishment of small businesses.
This process has created a very natural reason for the deacons and elders to be calling in on their neighbours to see how the goats are growing and how the businesses are running. In this way strong supportive relationships have been built.
The local community feels respected and they trust the Christians. The elders and deacons are relaxed and comfortable in their neighbours' homes, listen to their troubles and pray with them when family members are sick.
Nabu Raj was greatly encouraged at the response of the local community and the changing attitude of the church members. He felt called to move from his village, leaving his mother to care for the house and rent a place in another village.
There he and his wife established a small chalk-making business, employing a local young man. The villagers were interested in their new neighbour and would call to chat about what he was doing, how he managed his farmland and why he had moved.
It was easy to build relationships and then in a very natural way Nabu Raj and his wife shared their faith. In just eight months, six villagers have come to faith and been baptised.
Nabu Raj acknowledges that the 'Church and community mobilisation process' workshop has encouraged him and built his confidence to express the love of God in practical ways for his neighbours. This has gained their trust and brought opportunities to share his faith in a very natural way.
Please pray for those BMS workers currently seconded to UMN projects - Jon and Nic White, Marcus and Suzanne Walton, Alan and Anne Penn and Martin Butterworth.
Pray too for Edwin Lee, currently in training and going to Nepal in January, and for Christine Preston, retiring from mission work after 40 years' service both in Nepal and Bangladesh.
Click here for more information about BMS work in Nepal.