The day was spent preparing for yet another session of former Empowerment Nepal, that is training pastors in Nepal in cooperation with Hosanna – a local church in Nepal. Klas and Lars Olov had very kindly accepted the invitation to teach the Old Testament for us, more precisely from Genesis to the book of Esther. The almost 30 pastors who attended this time, were very grateful for their solid lectures and for the pedagogocal way of explaining the word of God.
As you probably know the September and December sessions were cancelled due to the decision of pastor Raja and Hosanna. Unfortunately we learned of their decision somewhat late, only a few weeks before our departure, but there were good reasons for the decision. The September session was cancelled since the pastors were busy with the harvest and hd to stay at home to ensure the survival of their families – and what can say against that? We learn new things of course and remember them. In November there was an election in Nepal and the leaders of Hosanna thought it would be too dangerous for us to be in Nepal at that time. Of course we are very grateful for their concern and realize that that if they found it would be dangerous for us to be in Nepal at the time for the election, then we have to listen to them.
So now we are very excited to get more involved with the work again. This time our third fulltime assistant in Nepal, Mankaji Tamang, has left his job. It happened in September but we didn´t learn about it until November! This explained why we couldn´t get in touch with Mankaji at all. Communication isn´t always simple.
Nevertheless pastor Raju first said that he wanted brother tsering for the job, but two weeks before our commencing the work, one more person, Daniel Giri, is our new fulltime local employee. He was working with us in Hetauda and did a very good job there, working with interpretation among other things, so he seems to be the right person.
It is interesting to discover that what find culturally difficult, is very simple in the world of the Nepalese pastors. For instance the family and its role. A Nepalese Chritian´s concept of the family, its meaning and influence is much simpler, since their understanding of what a family is probably is a lot like Old Testament thinking. We, on the other hand, think that a family consists of mother, father and children and maybe also grandparents, uncles and aunts with families. In Nepal and in the Bible, all relatives both close ones and distant ones are family. They all depend on the care and contrubution from each other. The family is the very foundation on which the entire society rests. In Bible studies and in preaching it is very simple to relate to this world wide basic view. This is the way of life here.
I remember one time in Kathmandu when bible school students asked me about Swedish poverty. After thinking for a while I answered that in Sweden poverty most likely means loneliness and lack of relationships. Then I said that in our country many homes are single households. I added that it happens that people are being buried without any families or friends being present at the funeral. Of course this is always due to tragic circumstances . One of the students then tells me ”If you live with our family (which consists of 12 people i a 3 room apartment in Kathmandu) then you would never have to be alone, because at your age you need a family memberwith you to help you out with all your needs!”
This is a richness which also explains why many poor people survive despite the high level of unemployment. You quite simply take care of bigger family and help each other! Who are the poorest ones?
Vilka är fattigast?
Back to the pastors´training school. Now I´m eagerly looking forward to meeting Lars Olov and Klas to hear their stories and impressions. I know that they and their work have been very well received and appreciated.
Now the pastors will return to their everyday life to gather the 30 groups to continue the work. We have had problems with getting all 900 pastors and leaders which was our goal from the beginning. Our list of those ready to take part consists of 470 names. As Håkan Sunnliden and I return to Hetauda in May, we´ll know the outcome.
After a few days in Hetauda with our friends there, I went on to Kolkata and from there on a 10 night train journey to Orissa and our destination there – Sundargarh. My arrival there initiated our cooperation with bishop Prathat and bishop Gabriel, both of them leading their own independent church with altogether 300 congregations.
We will be back with a detailed description of these churches on our homepage, including some photos.
The two bishops had invited thirty pastors, and I introduced what we were going to do in India and Orissa, and then full speed ahead with the gospel according to Mark. In India there are very virulent bacteria causing stomach sickness. One (?) of them hit me in Kolkata, so I had six hours of teaching combined with sleep and curing my stomach. On my way to Kolkata again I felt much better.
The pastors´school in Orissa seems to be very well planned by our friends. They have 30 pastors present and they in turn have 30 pastors/senior leaders waiting to be trained by our thirty pastors when they return to their villages.
Incredibly exciting and good!
This time the first session was spent going through the gospel according to Mark, verse by verse. Plus a lot of praying, fellowship, group discussions and an extensive exposition on our thoughts on the project. Everything is based on our planning for 10 congregations, groups, missionary organizations to carry the project in prayer and financial responsibility (which means 3000:- per project/country/month for 3 years. They´ll send teachers, that is their pastors to teach. In India the two churches have appointed thirty pastors to be trained on condition that they then train/teach pastors locally after each session.
I underlined an important dimension – that in this way we work with a two-way mission. All who come to India – Nepal will return home as changed people. They´ve been able to see and experience the result of the revival led by God´s Spirit. It will transform us for ever. This is quite simply part two of our vision: To make our local congregations at home more mission minded and apostolic!
All pastors found this fantastic! And I´m so humbled and thankful to God for letting us be part of this work.
So, if you are interested, you are welcome to support our work! It is no longer called Empowerment Nepal but ”Pastoral Leadership Training” (PLT).
We´ll also be changing our home page address and information during spring. We have also chosen to ask Håkan Gabrielsson´missionary organization ”Touching Asia” to be our chief trustee/leader in stead of the congregation Mosaik. The reasons for this are manifold, the main one being that Touching Asia is already via their contacts, for instance the already mentioned three churches. Furthermore, it will make our work simpler and more efficient.
So, please pray for us and for what lies ahead of us. We need intercession! And we also need congregations that want to stand with us in our work!
Finally, if you would like to be a monthly donor you are so welcome! Check out our homepage http://www.pastoralleadershiptraining.org. There you´ll find further information on where and how to make you donation.
God bless you!Hans Sundberg