by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA
On January 28th, I left for a sixteen day trip to Nepal and Pakistan. This was my first trip to both of these Asian countries. I thank the Lord for this experience!
Nepal– A mountainous country with an estimated thirty million people, Nepal has world fame for its temples. People from Hindu and Buddhist religions make pilgrimages to these temples while others look to trek the mighty Himalayas. While the Nepalese government says less than one percent claim to be Christian, rough estimates within the country put the number closer to ten percent or three million people. Proselytizing is illegal under the current government. Six months from now changes could occur which will open the doors for the gospel to spread and Christian Endeavor to make significant advances. Please pray for God’s hand to direct the governmental affairs in Nepal!
After a day for my body to adjust to new time zones, we toured the greater Kathmandu area. Seeing some of the world famous temples left me even more grieved for the souls of those who trek to these places. They try to do the correct incantations, burn the proper incense, write their prayers on flags, spin every prayer wheel, scrub lime on the walls, and do the exact spiritual positions for the recommended amount of time . . . all in hopes of capturing a little peace. I am so thankful for God’s grace through Christ and that our lives can be free from doing the right “works” in order to have hope.
Churches meet on Saturday in Nepal. We enjoyed a two hour worship time where I shared the morning message. After a short snack we gathered for a two hour worship time with the Christian Endeavor group where I was also the featured speaker. The next morning we began a two day Leadership Academy. The event was attended by close to sixty people representing fifty pastors and youth workers from the 52 churches connected with Christian Endeavor in Nepal. There are great plans for additional churches to be planted in the next ten years. This step would further open the doors for the spread of the Kingdom and the use of Christian Endeavor across Nepal. Two strong translators were identified to assist with taking core C.E. materials and preparing them in the Nepali language. One person was also identified to join the C.E. Under Thirty Advisory Collective (a group of people under thirty from countries around the world that advises the WCE board and executive council.)
Pakistan– Nearly two hundred million Pakistanis live to the Northwest of India. I learned how Pakistan and Bangladesh had once been part of a British colony that was connected to India. Today there are many encouraging economic signs. Large malls with brands from around the world are located around Lahore. Because so many clothing items are manufactured within the country, the cost of these items is considerably lower (often times only 20-30%) than the prices I am used to seeing in the USA. The government broadcasts that Christianity represents a fraction of the population but it is believed that a more accurate number would be five percent.
Our first three days were invested helping me understand Pakistan during the day before participating in worship celebrations and conventions in the evening. People were incredibly generous and incredibly kind no matter where I traveled. I had the opportunity to tour a denim factory that develops 2.4 million clothing units annually. They showed me every step in the manufacturing process before giving me some complimentary jeans. I later learned that the owners were all Muslim people. A few days later I met a Pediatrician that has done several eighteen hour medical mission days with my host, Pastor Ashknaz Silas. During these days over one hundred patients are examined and given prescription medications. This doctor is a Muslim man doing humanitarian aid work with Christian leaders because of the great need.
The next two days were the C.E. Leadership Academy. I was thrilled that fifty church pastors were registered for the event. A total of over eighty people attended the equipping sessions with many people being youth or young adult age. Pastors do not receive any salary in Pakistan. All of them maintain other jobs as well as having families. The Academy, especially Day two, had an enthusiastic audience with hunger to learn and grow. I received word that a Saturday night C.E. worship experience will be launched in the next few weeks. It will be a collaborative church effort where numerous churches send their young people and potential adult coaches to one site. Along with this, there is already interest in some additional cities to take C.E. to these locations. Pray for the leadership in Pakistan as it begins to form a board and executive team. The group hopes to apply for National Union status later in 2019.
A huge thank you to my hosts Dr. Mahendra Battarai and Pastor Ashknaz Silas for all your efforts in hosting me and coordinating the ministry opportunities while I was with you in Nepal and Pakistan respectively. Amen!!