Part 1: Building the church in the dark
Story and photos by Gary Fallesen
“X” marks the spot of the proposed church build.
In my mind I could see a church where there was none. I could envision the small planes that provide the only way in and out of Nepal’s Far West district of Humla touching down on the short runway and its passengers seeing a cross in a place that serves as the jump-off point for followers of Hinduism and Buddhism making the pilgrimage to the holy Mount Kailash.
In my heart, after visiting Humla three times in 17 months, I know the importance of such a church. Both symbolically and HIStorically.
“You are the light of the world,” Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 5:14. “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Soon, the church – the body of Christ – will not be able to hide in Humla. It is growing, by leaps and bounds.
The Humla District, in red, sits along the border of China.
When our Mission: Nepal 2012 team arrived in November of that year we did not think there was a Christian in Humla. That’s why we went there – to deliver the Good News in a place where there was none.
But upon landing in Simikot, the administrative headquarters of Humla, we learned that there was a small house church and we went to visit. We met seven men. One of their prayer requests: ask God to send some women. “But for the man there was not found a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:20). On both Mission: Nepal 2013 (September-October) and Mission: Nepal 2014 (Spring) we were blessed to participate in the first two Christian weddings in Humla. God answered the prayer, and He was growing the church – from seven men to 50 brothers and sisters in Christ.
And Simikot is not the only village where the Spirit is at work:
- Thehe – This was the farthest village to the East in Humla where our team went in 2012. We went there to pray with the one woman who was following Christ. But when we arrived we found her brother also had accepted Jesus. We prayed with the two of them – inside the sister’s house, in the dark, so no one in this Hindu village of more than 500 families would see us. On Mission: Nepal 2014 we returned to Thehe, found 18 believers, and worshiped on a rooftop – singing and praying – where everyone could see.
- Syada – A village to the West of Simikot, where we first went in 2013 to meet a church of fewer than 10, has expanded to 35 in just six months.
- Torpa – One girl had accepted Jesus when we evangelized this Buddhist village in 2012. Before our return in 2013, she had turned from Him. So God used us to lead her back along with one of her friends – so she would not be alone. She is farther from alone after Mission: Nepal 2014, when seven people from Torpa invited Christ into their lives.
Simikot is the only village with an organized church and a pastor. It is also the place the people of Humla must go for goods and services and to meet. The aforementioned airstrip (the only pavement in a district that is larger than two U.S. states – Rhode Island and Delaware) heightens the importance of Simikot.
There is property not far from the airport that Pastor Harka and the church at Simikot are eyeing for the potential building of Humla’s first Christian house of worship. I have been burdened with the desire to see this church’s construction. I pray that many others will share this burden and together we will do what God has used us to do in three other parts of Nepal (see gallery below), and in Haiti, Mozambique and Peru.
Let’s build a church and build up the church in Humla, Nepal.
The cost is problematic: an estimated US$19,300 just to purchase land. Jesus already told us, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). So, as with all things that are Climbing For Christ, I turn it over to Him. I ask that you would simply make yourself available; God will do the rest.
When I was asked to preach to the church at Simikot I spoke of a coming storm and the need for Christ followers to arm themselves (Ephesians 6) and stand together.
Humla is a stronghold. The southern part of the district is Hindu and the northern part toward Tibetan China is Buddhist. Reportedly there are 10 village of Tibetan origin, making Humla an important location for Buddhist culture and lifestyle. Trekkers from around the world join Buddhists and Hinduists on the trail leading northwest from Simikot toward China, four or five days walk away, and on to Mount Kailash.
Eventually, the enemy will turn people against the growing Christian church. Because where there once were no believers and then, in November 2012, there were fewer than 10 there now are more than 100. That’s 100 in a district of about 50,000 people (or 0.002 percent of the population). But the growth is exponential.
Full house church in Simikot.
The body of Christ is outgrowing its house church; it needs a house of worship. That’s what God has directed us to do in hard-to-reach places, most of which are in the dark behind the enemy’s line. As the bridegroom told His bride: “and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
Picture the cross, like this one on the church we helped build in Kathmandu, on display in Humla.