- Believers strengthened in their faith

A community Bible studies training day drew Christians from over a wide rural region of Nepal

P raise God for the wonderful growth of the Church in Nepal. In the early 1950s there were virtually no Christians in the country, whereas today it is estimated that believers number 1.5 million, or about 5% of the population.

The pace of expansion is creating a huge yearning among Nepali Christians to increase their Biblical understanding.

Greater knowledge enables Christians, who are either first- or second-generation believers, to stand firm in their faith in the face of harassment and hostility from extremists within the Hindu majority. It also equips believers for leadership roles in their local churches.

A grassroots training ministry, supported by Barnabas, is filling that thirst for knowledge by providing Bible studies for believers, especially to the many Christians living in remote rural areas where it is especially needed.

“Bible college at home” enriches 5,743 students in their faith

The courses are taught through a combination of self-study and discussion groups led by trained tutors in homes and churches. Students have lovingly nicknamed the ministry “Bible college at home”.

In 2023 alone, 5,743 Christians were enriched in their faith through the courses. They were taught in 643 study groups by 255 tutors.

“Seeing our people in our church excited to learn and discuss makes us feel blessed,” declared Asmita, whose church uses the training ministry’s course books for study sessions. “This has brought a huge change in our lives.”

The students at Asmita’s church range from women who are barely able to read to people undertaking degrees.

Course books explain Biblical subjects in simple language that everyone can understand and each theme is enhanced through illustrations and pictures.

Help is given to Christians wherever they may be in their faith. One course explains concepts such as sin, forgiveness and new life, preparing new believers for baptism. Another teaches further about the life of Jesus, His ministry, life, death and resurrection, and is designed for those seeking leadership development to serve their churches further.

“I wish I could have taken this course 15 or 20 years ago. How much more meaningful services could have been done in our village,” said Bharat, a deacon of his church.

Relationship with God strengthened

Rupilal explained that a course “changed my thinking”. It taught him the importance of Bible study, prayer and service, which he had previously neglected. He now leads a church where he uses the courses to strengthen others in their faith.

Nishma, who is 14, said each lesson gave her new insight into the Bible.

“I learnt about baptism, prayerful life, how to overcome our temptations,” she said. “Above all, lessons about how to study the Bible changed me … This course has helped me in my relationship with God.”

Christianity is viewed as an “alien faith” by the majority of the population of Nepal.

A law that came into force in 2018 made it illegal to attempt to convert a follower of a religion “being practised since ancient times”. This is interpreted as a religion passed down through at least three generations, thus protecting Hindus and Buddhists but excluding most Nepali Christians.

There is a growing religious nationalist movement in Nepal, officially a secular state since 2008.

“Bible college at home” has changed the lives of many hundreds of Christians including (from the left) Asmita, Nishma and Bharat

Project reference: 89-946

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