The opportunity to go to Nepal came about through a friend of Mike’s who has been there multiple times. He organised to run kickstart seminars through various churches in March but had some health problems so couldn’t go and asked Mike to help. When I heard about this I considered whether I could go as well. I prayed about it and all God said to me (through a dream) was not to take my work with me. Jesus said to go into all the world to make disciples and Nepal is included in that so I figured God was saying yes. My work is very quiet around February & March so the timing was good. My work is all cloud based so I could have taken my laptop with me but I think I would have been distracted. We had been given some money recently by some relatives for our new house so money was not an issue. Then Irene gave me the go ahead, saying she’d be fine with our 3 young children so everything fell into place nicely and I bought the tickets.
Day 1: Fly to Nepal. Spoke to a few people on the way about Jesus but they were not people of peace. We were picked up from Kathmandu airport by a young Christian named ‘Ashish’ and his friend. He found a hotel for us and fed us. He was very keen to show us his church building that they’d just built and he wanted us to pray for his church. We had a discussion about what church is and told him we weren’t prepared to pray for his building but we were more than happy to pray for the people that attend. I asked him what he would do if 3000 people came to faith in one day like in the book of acts. He said that God would provide a big building for them all. I told him that would take a long time to build and the people would need discipling in the meantime so that wouldn’t work. Tried to open his eyes to home church but he has been in the church system for such a long time that it proved very difficult. I left him a copy of my book.
Day 2: First kickstart near Pokhara. Met ‘Harry’, the other member of our team from Australia. He had the itinerary. Also met ‘Marduk’, our interpreter. Harry taught ‘Christian or disciple’, I taught ‘Luke 10’ and then Mike spoke on ‘the gospel’. We noticed the first signs of religious spirits at work. Whenever I asked someone to read a scripture out load or asked a question, the pastor would always respond. If we mentioned a controversial topic like water baptism, all the congregation looked at the pastor to see how he would react. It was incredibly frustrating and a common theme throughout Nepal.
That night I had a dream where I saw a group of young people in a room. An older man was standing next to the light switch. When he turned the light off, the young people slept instantly. When he turned it on, the young people woke up instantly but they were confused about where they were and weren’t happy about the person turning the light off and on but they believed they had to obey him. The older man was looking smug at his ability to control these young people.
Day 3: Mike shared the gospel using cups and water. I shared about ‘healing the sick’, then we went out on the streets (or to the villages in this case). We saw many people healed in their homes and the gospel shared with them. It was hard to know exactly what was shared because of the language barrier but we found out later that there was no talk of water baptism or receiving the Holy Spirit. All they told non-believers was to repent and ‘come to church.’ It was frustrating hearing this. I started to feel like we would see very little fruit and that the only reason we were there was to build their church, rather than building the kingdom of God.
Day 4: We went out on the streets again but didn’t find any people of peace even though there were some healings. A lot of what I taught my group this time was how to recognise a person of peace. A lot of the villagers seem to want to argue so I said that they are not people of peace and we don’t need to waste our time on them. Mike prayed for 2 ladies in his group to receive the Holy Spirit while they were out on the streets and they started speaking in tongues. These 2 ladies shared their testimony of what happened with everyone else afterwards. Then I asked if anyone else wanted to receive the Holy Spirit and they all surged forward immediately for us to pray for them. I was the only one speaking at the time and I felt like I was going to be trampled! We spent a lot of time praying for them. There were demons cast out and people experienced the presence of God. I don’t remember any of the details now unfortunately because there was so much going on. I do remember that not all of them spoke in tongues but we encouraged them that it doesn’t always happen straight away and to keep seeking God for it. Mike gave a DVD of the first Last Reformation movie to a young man there that seemed to really grab hold of what we were teaching. He came up to me later and said:
“That DVD…There are pictures on the back…One of them…Is that… you?”
I just cracked up. He thought I was Torben because there is a picture of him casting out a demon in the movie.
Day 5: We spent the next day resting up in a hotel before travelling to our next location near Ghorka. Harry had to stay in Pokhara to sort out his visa so we went on without him. The trip involved a 5-hour long bus ride over the bumpiest, dustiest and most uncomfortable road I’ve ever travelled over. It never seemed to end. When we got there, we had no idea what the plan was. The pastor of the church there met us but spoke with our interpreter the whole time and we never got a word in. From what I could gather, we would speak to some of the believers first, then do some outreach after that. We slept in the church building on the floor.
Day 6: In the morning we still didn’t have much of a clue about what was happening. Eventually people started showing up for teaching until there were around 30 people there. We did a brief teaching on healing the sick, then started praying for a few of them and got them praying for each other.
One of the things we noticed right from the start is that they have very strong traditions which aren’t from the Bible. For them, the women sit on one side and the men sit on the other, they always want to play worship songs in the church building and they sit facing the front during services. The honoured guests always get to sit in the best seats and eat before everyone else. Mike and I quickly set about trying to break these traditions. We would constantly move from our ‘seats of honour’ in the shade to sit with the normal believers in the hot sun. We preached from different sections of the building, told them not to play any songs and often asked everyone to sit in a circle. It was always funny to watch people’s faces when we told them we don’t go to church! We were there to teach them that ALL believers can preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons and baptise people. We couldn’t teach one thing and then act another way.
A lot of the people were healed after our teaching then we asked if anyone wanted to be baptised in the Holy Spirit. Again, a lot of them were keen. We prayed for one lady to start off with through our interpreter and told her that, after she received, she would be expected to pray for others. There was quite a struggle for her to receive and we had to cast out a few demons. It took around 30 minutes but by the end she was laid out on the ground speaking in tongues. I learnt the value of perseverance during this. Some people just take a long time to receive. As long as they are willing to be prayed for, keep praying for them.
After this we prayed for around 15 others. 8-10 of those received the Holy Spirit and started speaking in tongues. The first ones that spoke in tongues helped us to pray for the others. That certainly made a difference. I was praying for one lady in English for approximately 20 minutes with seemingly no impact. When another lady who spoke in tongues shortly before came and prayed for her in their language, the impact was immediate. She started shaking and spoke in tongues not long after that. I think a big part of receiving the Holy Spirit is to ‘receive’. I was telling that lady constantly that God wants to give her the gift and was offering it to her freely, but it wasn’t until she could understand what was being offered to her that she was able to receive it for herself.
Not all the people spoke in tongues straight away and again, we encouraged them to keep asking God for themselves.
After all this was over, we found out that there was a young lady there who wanted to be baptised in water. We found some water and were about to baptise her. We could sense a bit of reluctance on the part of the believers there for some reason. We quickly worked out what that was when the pastor arrived back. He had been away all day at a meeting and just arrived back when we wanted to do the baptism. He informed us that it is their policy to wait 6 months before baptising anyone so that they can fully understand what it is all about.
We had a very strong argument with him and asked him whether he followed man or God because in the book of Acts new believers were always baptised on the day of belief. We told the pastor that we couldn’t compromise our message and that we would walk out if he wasn’t prepared to allow the girl to be baptised that day. He didn’t relent so we packed our bags and started the 8km walk out of there 30 minutes before it was due to get dark.
The 2-hour hike was a hard one, but we were confident we were doing the right thing. We eventually found the main road and caught a ride to pick up Harry (who had been waiting for us since we started walking) and then get dropped off at a hotel for some much-needed rest.