‘Christians are a disease’. It is hard to believe that this small group of believers in Nepal had such a bad reputation. Pastor Kancha Bahadur* and his wife Batuli have just welcomed us into their home and served us a generous lunch of goat curry, water chestnut and rice. I guess the wider community didn’t yet know them.
When, two years ago, a major earthquake struck, the church responded by providing 50 people with its building as a place to sleep, blankets for warmth and sheeting to start rebuilding their homes. The wider community saw that these Christians cared about them and so relationships started to improve.
Nowadays the church is a channel of all sorts of blessing. Inspired and trained through church and community transformation, the church has worked with the community to start goat rearing, beekeeping and vegetable growing as ways to improve their lives. Shyam demonstrates making bricks using hand-worked machines for sale at 60 rupees (45p) per brick. The church has also worked to repair and upgrade the local road so the vehicle that collects milk can access the area even in the monsoon. When asked what keeps him persevering, Pastor Kancha Bahadur says “I want to be like Jesus, caring for the poor and being part of their struggles.”
With local elections looming the community has strongly encouraged Pastor Kancha Bahadur to stand for election as ward chairperson. He’s come some way from being seen as ‘a disease’. Praise God.
*Names changed to protect privacy.
Richard Lister is Global Church and Development Lead at Tearfund. He writes his own blog - Churches Changing Nations - about his adventures in church and community transformation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org