Reaching the most remote places on earth.
Batsal* gently brakes in his four–wheel drive and turns to the side of a dusty Nepalese road. We open the car doors and cross the street to a café for a cold drink. A blue–seated rickshaw waits for a customer outside whilst the driver calls out to a friend across the way. Our legs are tired and we’ve been shaken around for many miles on the bumpy roads, but we’re rejoicing inwardly at all we’ve seen and heard in this last couple of weeks. Sitting down with our Cokes, we begin to recount an incident near the beginning of our expedition.
The Hindu festival of Diwali was in full swing. People thronged the roads looking for a ride somewhere down the road. As we drove on, we saw ahead the familiar uniform of the Nepalese policeman: light blue shirt, navy trousers, white belt and white–topped peak cap. He held up his hand and motioned us to pull over. Batsal wound down his window as the officer approached and was asked to take a lady to the town ahead. We agreed gladly, for here was a heaven–sent opportunity to share the gospel of salvation in Christ.
The woman told us that there had been a fatal accident, and that she was going to the festival to meet her brother. Batsal took this fact as his point of departure to explain that Christ conquered death, and that by faith in Him we can be ready to meet our Creator on that day assigned us all.
We continued west along the main highway near the Indian border only to be stopped again, this time by an army officer. Could we take a soldier with us also? Of course! Now the congregation had doubled! We left the officer behind with a tract in his hand and journeyed on, explaining the gospel to both of our guests. Delivering both passengers safely, they each went their separate ways with a tract and gospel of John in hand.
This had been only the beginning of our adventure, and as we continued, the needs of the pastors and rural churches we went on to visit were powerfully impressed upon me. After we had dropped off our little ‘congregation’, we headed north to a small town. The centre of activity was by a river, with the town nestled between green fields and wooded hills. We were met by a group of rural pastors with whom we spent time in fellowship, prayer and sharing from the Word of God. How much these men appreciated this time! They longed to be taught more from the Word, having had no formal training themselves. And how excited they were about the teaching seminars Batsal was planning for leaders from the area! They gladly received literature and Christian books to aid their ministry to the people they shepherd.
The fact is, it’s been a privilege for me to see Batsal at work close up. He exemplifies the way God is raising up Nepalis to reach their fellow countrymen and women, just as He is raising up Asian workers right across this vast continent. From his early days preaching in the open squares of Kathmandu to more isolated work since the anti–conversion law was passed, Batsal has carried the torch of the gospel throughout these mountains.
And the work has grown beyond sowing seeds to working for mature growth. Each year he teaches numerous pastors. Sometimes he goes to them, and sometimes they come to him for extended training in the monsoon season. There have been times of extraordinary providence in Batsal’s life. The direct intervention of God when his life was threatened by a Maoist guerrilla in a remote village and the brave intervention of a sole policeman who stood up for him against a baying radical Hindu mob were two of the more remarkable incidents. But more often it is the unspectacular, day in, day out, faithful sowing of the gospel seed that is bearing fruit in a quiet but effectual manner.
We have finished our drinks and it is time to get back in the jeep. This leg of the journey is coming to its close, but the ministry will go on to reach the lost and further build the church here in Nepal.
*name changed for security.
You can support evangelists like Batsal through our Asian Workers Fund. Just £30 will support a worker for a month!