After witnessing Christian missionaries extend love and compassion to those affected by Nepal's devastating earthquakes, a powerful Tibetan monk accepted Jesus Christ and now works tirelessly to spread the Gospel despite severe opposition.
On April 25, 2015, a violent 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal-followed weeks later by a 7.3-magnitude aftershock-killing almost 9,000 people, injuring 22,000, and damaging or destroying nearly 800,000 homes. Currently, more than 600,000 Nepalese still live in temporary or unsafe housing.
According to a report from Christian Aid Mission, an indigenous ministry team traveled to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal to not only share the gospel, but to help those affected by the quakes. The group revealed that numerous churches from the local area also came together to help those in need, providing food, water, and shelter.
"All Christians came together, gave everything they had and tried to help the country to heal," a ministry director told CAM. "They united. Our brothers and sisters came together to help, and the Nepalese as a whole came together - high caste, low caste, all came out to the streets and helped each other."
In Nepal, Hinduism reigns as the primary religion, and Christians make up less than 1.5 percent of the country's population of 28 million, according to NPR.
Recently, the former Hindu kingdom adopted a new constitution that declared the country a secular state. Thus, attempting to change or convert someone from one religion to another is punishable by law. In addition, Christianity remains socially unacceptable, often inciting violence and oppression. Nevertheless, the country has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world, according to the World Christian Database, which tracks global trends in Christianity.
The ministry director revealed how, thanks to their tireless efforts, the Christian community gained esteem in the eyes of a wary government and impressed people of other faiths.
He shared one particularly compelling story of how an influential Buddhist monk observed as Christians helped rebuild his community for a week after the first earthquake reduced the neighborhood to rubble.
"As a powerful Tibetan monk with 1,000 disciples, his word was law," the director said. "He was watching us for seven days continually as Christians became salt and light to the community. After watching us for seven days, he said, 'I'm going to give my life to Jesus.'"
Previously the Buddhist leader never allowed the indigenous missionaries to preach there and frequently voiced his opposition to Christianity.
"His monastery colleagues and others did not help him after the earthquake," the director said. "He said, 'Where are the 330 million gods of Hinduism? Where are the Buddhists?"
The monk put his trust in Christ, as did his family and many others, and became the leader of a congregation, the director said. His two sons were recently baptized, and his daughter has become a Bible teacher for area children.
The monk's conversion calls to mind the story found in Acts 16:25-40, in which the Philippian jailer is converted after witnessing the power of God and the ministry of his prisoners, Paul and Silas. After accepting Christ, the jailer brings the apostles to his house to share the Gospel and baptize his entire family.
For the monk, accepting Christ came at a cost: his Buddhist colleagues now oppose and dislike him and falsely accusing him of being paid to convert.
Undaunted, the former monk says he wants to go to remote areas on Nepal's border with Tibet, where water is scarce and there are no roads, to proclaim Christ.
"He says, 'I want to go where no churches are,'" the director said. "We have come across many other people thankful for our help. Even in hostile areas, many people were touched. When they saw our love and service, people were amazed - they saw the life of Christ."