Bob Travels: A visit to two churches

by Bob Putman, editor
News

It was a long, sweaty walk through fields and along rice paddies to reach this remote mountain fellowship. Bhakati Christian Church is just three months old and hosted in the home of a new believer.

The man in the light green shirt is the pastor. He started this church. His mother, behind him in a red dress, is a new believer. Bakati is a very poor church among the Dalit people, the lowest Hindu caste. Yet already new believers have led others to faith in Christ, and the pastor is training a church planter to start the next Dalit church.

One woman was holding her year-old baby, who was blind and unable to support his head. The problem is arsenic in the groundwater. Our team prayed for his healing, and later team pledged $1,000 to provide a water purification system for the entire village and to transport the mother and baby to Kathmandu for medical care.

Our team leader observed: “You have just seen the first-century church. It’s a remote setting, meeting in a home, with people worshiping and praying for one another. Unbelievers are there listening in and the gospel is spreading rapidly.” What a rare honor to join these new believers in worship and prayer.

Another church we visited required a bone-jarring ride on pot-holed roads and a one-kilometer hike through woods and fields. Then, on foot, our group walked past two bulls and ascended a steep hill to reach the church building. We left our shoes outside before entering the “holy place.”

Inside, we found seats among about 50 brown-faced members of the western Magar people group. The Magars are animists, numbering about 729,000 people. According to FinishingtheTask.com, there aren't any known Magar believers or churches. This was one of the first. The Magars speak their own language and practice a distinct culture.

Most had walked an hour to meet us. Others had walked five hours from a new, four-month-old church.

After they greeted us with ceremonial scarves around our necks, they boisterously sang a song in their language. Then a pretty young woman in brightly colored clothing stood up and danced as the Magars clapped and sang a traditional song a capella.

Her movements were graceful and a bit suggestive, a dance you might expect to see on a South Pacific island. Our all-male team was entranced, as if we were part of a National Geographic special. When the dance concluded, the young lady blushed and sat down.

One of our Nepali leaders gave us the backstory on this dance. Some nights the Magars play drums and dance till past midnight. Then, at the end of the dance, any man may approach the dancer, take her hand and bring her home. "That is the extent of their marriage ceremony."

The Magars had built this church by hand, complete with electric lights and fans. They had carried the rocks on their backs in baskets, cut down bamboo beams in the forest for rafters and constructed the walls using bags of donated cement mix. Someone had given the corrugated roofing and another person volunteered the electrical work.

Help start a church in Nepal now.

Read Bob's previous adventure at a Hindu temple here.

    Point - September 2018

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