Bob Travels: The Happiest Man in Nepal

by Bob Putman, editor
Nepal

His name is Shiva and he’s one of the key directors of the fastest-growing church movement in the world.

Shiva was born into a Hindu Brahman family and, like his grandfather and father, raised to become a Hindu priest. From childhood he learned and practiced its rituals and traditions. At 21, he had left his village in southwest Nepal to pursue an education in Kathmandu.

There, he grew dissatisfied with Hinduism and lost his sense of hope. He encountered a Christian preacher, who told him about Jesus Christ. Well versed in study of the Hindu scriptures, Shiva asked the man if there were any Christian scriptures he could read. The preacher told him, I have only one scripture.”

“What’s that?” Shiva asked.

“The Bible.” The man gave him a New Testament, which Shiva read through in a week.

“As I read it, Jesus was coming into my heart, speaking to me,” Shiva told me. “He was saying, ‘I will give you peace. I will restore you. You have to believe in me. You have to accept me as your Lord and Savior.’”

When Shiva met the preacher a week later, he said, “I have read through the New Testament. What do I have to do now?”

The preacher told him, “This is the way God is speaking to you: You have to do one thing. Confess all your sins, all your mistakes and wrongs in life. After that Jesus will come and live in you and restore peace in your life.”

“So I did exactly what he asked,” Shiva said. “I experienced peace and I have followed Jesus for 24 years.”

For a while, Shiva kept news about his faith in Christ to himself. Then, about two or three months later, Shiva’s father called him to say he wanted to hold a large Hindu celebration to pass the family mantra―one way Hindus worship their clan god―on to Shiva. His father had served as a Hindu priest for 42 years.

“This was very difficult for me,” Shiva said. “I had accepted Jesus and found peace. Now I had to participate in my father’s ceremony.” That night he wrestled in prayer past midnight, asking the Lord, “What can I do?”

Jesus spoke to Shiva saying, “I have chosen you; you did not choose me. But I will use you greatly to build my kingdom. So you must inform your parents that you are a Christian. Go to the celebration. Don’t participate, but witness to your father that you are a Christian. Whatever problems come up, I will handle. I am your God. I will give you the Holy Spirit and he will guide you. He will restore everything in your life. Don’t worry about anything.”

Shiva obeyed. When he spoke of his new faith in Jesus, his father and family were furious. His father threw him out of the house. Shiva returned to Kathmandu with only the clothes he wore and a few rupees in his pocket. But he began to live for Jesus.

Today Shiva is pastor of Nepal Multicultural Christian Church in Kathmandu, which has trained 20 church planters, each starting one or two new churches. Nineteen times he and others had witnessed to his father, now retired from the priesthood. Always, the Hindu priest argued against the gospel.

So why is Shiva so happy?

On August 31 our group of 10 visiting pastors and mission leaders gathered in the cramped living room of Shiva’s parents. The group included Converge missionary David Nelms, International Ministries executive director Ivan Veldhuizen, Illinois pastor Kirt Wiggins and me. As we prayed silently in the cramped living room, Nelms respectfully walked Shiva’s 84-year-old father through the gospel message.

This time there was no resistance. Shiva’s father followed along, asking questions and laughing with a huge smile. When the time came, this Hindu priest for 42 years now prayed to confess his sins, turn from idols and trust in Christ as his Savior. It was astonishing.

As we departed, Shiva glowed with joy. The next morning his father called him to say he was getting rid of all his idols and was full of joy in knowing Jesus. In late October, Shiva’s father led his wife to faith in Christ.

Help start a church in Nepal now.

You may also like:

1. Bob Travels: A visit to two churches

2. Bob Travels: At the temple in Kathmandu

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