God of the possible
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Day 15 (Sunday, Nov. 22)
Megh Gurung gives audio Bibles to a family during Mission: Nepal 2016. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Many places we GO are hostile; hard-to-reach locations with people who have hardened hearts. But, as Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
And God sends us to deliver the Good News of Jesus.
Megh Gurung, our Kingdom worker in Nepal, energetically shares the love of Christ with Buddhists and Hindus, alike. He does this by, first, “sitting and eating.” He allows the invitation to come in to be the first step in what will result in them inviting Jesus into their hearts.
He talks to them about their gods. “They will pay attention,” he said. “After that, I can share about the Lord. They can listen and, if the Holy Spirit will work, accept Jesus Christ.” He does this with care, knowing that at any moment the door could be closed on him.
Sometimes Megh will talk about karma. “After that, I keep continuing to focus on Jesus,” he said. “If they give attention, OK; otherwise, I move away from them because they don’t want to stay with me.”
Among Hindus, he tells them “how Jesus Christ took a penalty for our sin. He sacrificed for us. After that, I challenge myself from the Holy Scripture, creation, bad news, and the Good News. Then I challenge them (to accept Christ).”
The Buddhist World Prayer Guide: 15 Days of Prayer (2020 Edition) states: “All over the world God is moving in the hearts of secular, Hindu- and Muslim-background believers. Millions of people from these groups have become disciples of Jesus in the past 25 years. Yet the response among Buddhists during the same time-frame has been minimal. Can God change this? Jesus says, ‘Yes!’ Jesus challenges us to ask that God will do the impossible.”
We are blessed to serve with dear brothers like Megh in the Buddhist world. We are also thankful God allows us to witness His work among Hindus. To help us share the Gospel in the Hindu world, here are some things to consider (adapted from Hinduism: A Religion Profile by the authors of Hindu World Prayer Guide: 15 Days of Prayer):
- Offer Jesus’ forgiveness. “Since the Hindu system is based on karma, forgiveness is not available to Hindus.”
- Keep God’s personhood in mind. “Hindus need to know that a personal, fulfilling relationship with a holy and loving God is available to them.”
- Ask and listen. Hindus will talk about “enlightenment” as if that means salvation. “You may want to discuss with your friend the difference between salvation based on human effort versus that based on God’s grace and forgiveness.”
- Be humble. Hindus often consider themselves “spiritually superior” to Christians because of their sacrificial lifestyle. Humbly share with them the peace and love we experience in your relationship with God.
- Focus on Jesus. Even Gandhi referred reverently to Jesus. Share the Gospels of John or Luke with your Hindu friends.
- Be aware of differing definitions. Be careful about the term “born again,” which to the Hindu means reincarnation – “something from which they want to be liberated.”
Heavenly Father, we join brothers and sisters in Christ in asking You to inspire a vast spiritual movement across the Buddhist world and among those in the Hindu world. We pray that they will be awakened to their need for You and the salvation found only through Jesus. We ask You to do the impossible – and be glorified!
The final Word
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37 (ESV)
Day 14 (Saturday, Nov. 21)
By the numbers
Pak Gusti, a Hindu who lives on the predominantly Muslim island of Lombok in Indonesia, holds his grandson and the machete he uses to clear his jungle-covered land. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Numbers can overwhelm the missionary and the prayer warrior. The enemy uses them to discourage and distract.
For instance, there are nearly 1.2 billion Hindus in the world. The Joshua Project estimates 1,175,879,000 adherents of Hinduism. That’s a big number.
The five countries with the most Hindus are India (more than 1 billion), Nepal (24 million), Bangladesh (19.4 million), Indonesia (4.5 million), and Pakistan (3.4 million). In North America, the United States (2.3 million) and Canada (half-million) have growing Hindu populations.
Buddhism has more than a half-billion followers (501,589,000). That’s significantly smaller than Christianity (2.4 billion), Islam (1.85 billion), Hinduism, non-religious or atheists (nearly 1 billion), even ethnic or folk religions (737 million). But still a heart-wrenching number of people on the path to hell.
Thirty-one countries have at least 100,000 Buddhists, led by China (1.42 billion), India (1.36 billion), the United States (326 million), Indonesia (269 million), Brazil (210 million), Bangladesh (162 million), Russia (144 million), and Japan (126.7 million).
Forget those masses of people for one minute. Focus on one person, one lost soul. Look at the photo of Pak Gusti, a husband, father, grandfather, farmer, and Hindu. He is a friend of C4C Indonesia leader Budi Yuwono. Our Mission: Indonesia 2017 team met Pak Gusti and his family and have been praying for his salvation. For today, pray for Pak Gusti. Pray for one Hindu, one Buddhist, one lost soul to find Jesus.
Heavenly Father, we know that You desire that none should perish. That’s why You have sent us to the ends of the earth to share the love of Jesus with those who don’t yet know Him. We ask that You stir in the hearts of these people – one soul at a time – the desire to call you “Father.”
The final Word
“And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” – Matthew 10:30 (NLT)
Day 13 (Friday, Nov. 20)
Captive in caste system
It is not surprising that the lowest castes often are the first to follow Jesus. And the higher the caste, the more difficult it is for that person to surrender to the Lordship of Christ.
While Christians recognize believers as the “body” of Christ and recognize the importance of the foot, eye, and nose (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-31), Hindus believe the castes were also derived from the body. Hinduism’s creator god, Brahma, produced priests (Brahmins) from his head, warriors and rulers (Kshatriyas) from his arms, merchants and traders (Vaishyas) from his thighs, and laborers (Shudras) from his feet. At the bottom of the countless levels of the caste system are the “untouchables” or Dalits.
“The caste system has been used for thousands of years to justify oppression,” according to Hindu World Prayer Guide: 15 Days of Prayer (2020). “Violence against Dalits has been especially prevalent. Although India’s constitution outlawed discrimination against Dalits in 1950, caste-based prejudices persist.
“Historically, most conversions to Christianity in India have come from the Dalits. The higher castes have been consistently resistant to the religion, especially because Christianity, by its very nature, abolishes castes. Castes can be a barrier to the Gospel, especially the higher castes, which have much more to lose and would no longer have the most power and privilege.”
Hindus believe birth into a caste has been determined by karma and rebirth. Christians see rebirth as a gift from God, who sent His one and only Son into the world so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Father, we know that we cannot be born again without You, Your Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We thank You for choosing to call us Your own. We ask that You call those trapped in cycles of rebirth and captive to a manmade caste system that makes one person more important than another. We know everyone is important in Your eyes.
The final Word
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 (NLT)
Day 12 (Thursday, Nov. 19)
Yoga’s evil roots
I have never been a fan of yoga. I have watched real yogis in Nepal teach classes and felt the presence of evil.
Our Climbing For Christ staff has spent a lot of time studying spiritual warfare, for obvious reasons. We have confronted the enemy – in the mission field and at home.
Yoga is, by definition, a Hindu practice. It has roots in Advaita Vedanta, a school of Hindu philosophy that believes the Brahman (the highest caste or priesthood) alone is real and the world around us is illusionary. But yoga also is a common form of meditation, involving body posture and breathing to connect with the universe.
In 2018, I read a story in Charisma magazine by a sister in Christ, who told about attending a women’s event at a small fitness studio “owned by a sweet new believer. There were Bible verses on the walls and Christian music playing as we followed her exercise routine.” It turned out they were doing yoga – although the leader did not call it that – and a few days later this sister fell ill. Long story short, she was under attack by the Kundalini spirit, a snake-like demon associated with yoga. She was healed by God through prayer.
“Christian music and prayer do not make this ancient practice a Christian exercise,” she wrote about yoga. “Dismissing its foundations by turning yoga into a sanguine practice is impossible. An evil spirit doesn’t leave because you call something godly.”
Pretty scary stuff. And not surprising. I encourage anyone taking yoga classes to pray about this practice. If God says “no” to you doing yoga, listen to Him! It is an easy trap to fall into. Things of this world that seem innocent – from music to TV, and from books and movies to philosophy and even exercise – can lead us astray or invite the enemy into our lives.
Father, You know what is best for us. You want to protect us. Your Spirit is our Counselor, our Advocate, and our Messenger. If we will listen, You will lead us away from danger. Show those using yoga whether this practice is a threat to them spiritually. Please, Father, exercise Your will on Your people.
The final Word
“For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths.” – Isaiah 14:13-15 (NLT)
Day 11 (Wednesday, Nov. 18)
Today is Brother’s Day in the Hindu world. It is the last day of the Diwali festival, celebrating the relationship between brothers and sisters.
Sisters will put a red tilak (mark) on their brothers’ foreheads and pray that they will have a prosperous life. Brothers, in turn, bless their sisters and give them gifts.
Father, we ask that these brothers become brothers in Christ. We ask for the blessing of seeing Hindu sisters become sisters in Christ. Be glorified in bringing siblings into Your family.
The final Word
“Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.” – Hebrews 13:1 (NLT)
Day 10 (Tuesday, Nov. 17)
Mountain of lore
Legend has it, Mount Govardhan in northern India was lifted on this day by the little finger of the Hindu god Krishna, who was protecting the people, their cow herds, and farmlands from flooding caused by the rain god Indra. Today, on Day 4 of Diwali, some worshipers will commemorate this occasion by building small replicas of Mount Govardhan out of cow dung.
There are many other stories and rituals surrounding this day. Some will celebrate with Annakut (“mountain of food” in some translations) and share hundreds of dishes in communities. Knowing the lore of Hinduism is one challenge of evangelism in the Hindu world.
“We need to pray for our people who are working among the Hindu-dominant areas,” said Rohit Mattoo, a Climbing For Christ member and ministry partner in the mountainous north India. “We need to train them not only in the Bible, but also other Hindu religious books. Sometimes we are aware of our Bible, but not of their religious books, which creates problems.”
Heavenly Father, give us knowledge and wisdom so we know how to reach those in the Hindu world. Send us to reach those who are lost in the mountains.
The final Word
“The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.” – Psalm 130:119 (NLT)
Day 9 (Monday, Nov. 16)
Cleaning Hindu houses
The third day of Diwali is considered the most important day of the festival. It is the day of the new moon. Lights will be lit inside and outside houses to combat the darkest night.
Today, there will be house cleaning done throughout the Hindu world. This is done to prepare a welcome for Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. Men and women will put on new clothes (or their best clothes) and women will wear new jewelry. Sweets and gifts will be exchanged.
Later in the evening, firecrackers will be set off to scare away evil spirits.
Heavenly Father, You are the Light of the world; You turn back the darkness. May You clean house for Hindus, and may they realize prosperity and happiness are not found in worldly things or false gods. Only You can protect us from the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world.
The final Word
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Day 8 (Sunday, Nov. 15)
Freedom from fear
Houses covered in lights in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo by Megh Gurung)
Celebrities are tweeting “happy Diwali” and Hindu houses are lit up like it’s CHRISTmas. In fact, exchanging gifts and food on Day 2 of Diwali is a modern practice.
Traditionally, this day was reserved for the cleansing of one’s self to prepare for the rest of the festival. “On this day, Lord Krishna is reputed to have destroyed the demon Narakasur, freeing the world from fear,” according to Hindu World Prayer Guide: 15 Days of Prayer (2020).
Yet fear persists in the Hindu and Buddhist world. Ministry partner Rohit Mattoo says, in northern India, “they sacrifice male goats because of fear of their local god. In (the mountain state of) Himachal Pradesh, we can find so many temples with so many statues of their local gods. People here believe that if they accept Jesus, a foreign God, then their local god will create a problem for them. Because of this they don’t accept Jesus.
“Next is the fear of their society and religion,” Rohit added. “Sometimes believers get abandoned because of accepting Jesus. Therefore, we need to pray for the stronghold to be broken.”
Father, we ask that you break strongholds in the Hindu world. Free them from fear. May the Hindu world learn that Jesus is not a “foreign” or “western” God, but He is the Son of God who came for all people. May wishes of “happy Diwali” become “happy birthday, Jesus!”
The final Word
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
Day 7 (Saturday, Nov. 14)
Light or darkness?
The first day of Diwali, the second-largest of the many Hindu festivals, is considered lucky. This festival of lights represents new beginnings and the victory of light over darkness.
We know from the Gospel of John that True Light has come into the world, “but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:19, NLT).
In India, Nepal, and throughout the Hindu world, including the United States, millions of gods are being celebrated. (To recognize the start of Diwali, the Empire State Building in New York City was lit in orange last night.)
“Here in India, there are 330 million gods and goddesses, and each god has a special character and duty and every village has many gods and goddesses,” said sister Sara, a long-time Climbing For Christ member. “For every village border there is a god and goddess to protect and secure the village outskirts and not allow the evil forces into the village.”
“Compulsory worship of these gods” is required of all families, Sara added. If they do not “they will be punished by the gods, so the tradition goes on and people worship and sacrifice animals, like goats and sheep and hens.”
Across the border in Nepal, Hindus and Buddhists alike have begun the Diwali celebration. Lamps are lit and flowers decorate doors and windows. “Yesterday they worshiped crows; today dogs, (and) tomorrow cows and oxen,” said Kingdom worker Megh Gurung.
Because of the pandemic, many countries will be celebrating online. But in India, the festival will go on despite the country having the second-most coronavirus cases in the world (nearly nine million; behind only the United States).
Father, please forgive us for not always shining Your light. We acknowledge we were once in the darkness, but now are light in the Lord [Ephesians 5:8]. May we walk as children of light. May we reflect You and Your love in the Hindu world.
The final Word
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” – John 1:5 (NLT)
Day 6 (Friday, Nov. 13)
An intoxicated man leads a group of monks into one of our team’s tents in Tibet. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Our team was delivering MP3 players that contained Christian content. Word spread that we had “radios” and Buddhist monks thought this would be a way to finally connect with the exiled Dalai Lama.
They entered our small camp, perched on the side of a hill in a high valley (around 14,000 feet up) in Tibet. It was after dark and the five members of our team were in sleeping bags in our tents.
The monks – some of whom were drunk – tried to force their way into our tents. They wanted radios. They wanted to hear their beloved Dalai Lama speak.
These monks were used to getting whatever they need or want. They live in a culture where they receive gifts (food and money – or alms) from people. They are called bhikkhu, which means “beggar” or “one who lives by alms.” They literally get fat off the belief by people that giving to the monks builds merit or good karma that helps a person achieve a better rebirth in the next life.
As for the Dalai Lama – currently 85-year-old Tenzin Gyatso, who is reputed to be the 14th reincarnation of the “living buddha” – he is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. He is revered by Hollywood celebrities and intellectuals alike. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In his best-selling book, The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, he wrote that happiness can be found by training your mind.
His followers, like those monks we encountered in the remote reaches of Tibet, find themselves seeking happiness through a radio connection with their spiritual leader. We told the monks to come back the next day – and they left. When they returned, we showed them MP3 players with teachings from Jesus, not the Dalai Lama.
Heavenly Father, we know we can connect with You at any time and all the time. We don’t need a radio or any special equipment. You are with us and listening to us. You also are the source of our joy. We ask that You allow these misguided monks and other followers of Buddhism to hear Your Word and believe.
The final Word
“And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is – free and undeserved.” – Romans 11:6 (NLT)
Day 5 (Thursday, Nov. 12)
Urban grazing. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
The cow standing between me and my vehicle did not look like a blessed bovine. More like hamburger.
But in a Hindu country, the cow is a sacred beast – a god with hooves. Cows roam the streets unharmed; traffic speeds around them as if cows are supposed to be laying in the road.
India reportedly has 30 percent of the world’s cattle. But this herd is mostly off limits to steak lovers.
As one Indian writer put it, “As the sheep is to Christianity, the cow is to Hinduism. Lord Krishna [one of the most important incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu] was a cowherd, and the bull is depicted as the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Today the cow has almost become a symbol of Hinduism.”
World religion author Gerald R. McDermott confirms this: “In early Hindu writings, the gods were said to be ‘cow-born’ and the cosmic waters called ‘cows.’ The cow was a symbol of heaven, earth, and speech.
“The Indian epic Mahabharata says the killer of a cow will be reborn in hell for as many years as there are hairs on his body. Cows are associated with the Mother Goddess, who gave the cow to humanity for its five products – milk, butter, curds, dung, and urine.
“Gandhi said the cow represents the indissoluble bond between humans and sub-humans – an example of complete giving to others.”
Heavenly Father, You are the Good Shepherd. While we follow You, we do not worship sheep. We know that the ultimate sacrifice was made by Jesus, not by mother earth or a cow god. May our Hindu friends learn about the Lamb of God and recognize there is nothing holy about cows.
The final Word
“The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” – Psalm 23:1 (NLT)
Day 4 (Wednesday, Nov. 11)
Darkness in the sky
A human body is carried to a sky burial site in Tibetan China. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
The body is carried to the sky burial site, where countless prayer flags flap in the wind and Buddhist monks chant mantras in eerie trances. What occurs next – the dismembering of the deceased and the feeding of the remains to vultures that stand at attention until the proper time in the ceremony – is considered “an act of generosity and compassion” by Tibetan Buddhists.
They think the dead person is providing his or her body to other living beings.
The consciousness of the dead has been released to find a new body. In 49 days, that person will be reborn into another physical form. That’s what followers of this dark religion believe, according to the Buddhist World Prayer Guide: 15 Days of Prayer (2020 Edition).
On our first trip into Tibetan China, we had an opportunity – rare for foreigners – to attend a sky burial. The darkness experienced was an invaluable lesson for what our team was facing. Nightmares followed for the next few nights. But nothing can compare to the nightmare that millions find themselves trapped in for this life – and all eternity.
CLICK HERE to see our Sky Burial video and read “Special Report: Sky Burial – Dancing with Death.” (Note: This is an insight into a very real, very disturbing spiritual darkness.)
Heavenly Father, You know the darkness so many live in. They are trapped and the only escape is through Your Son, Jesus Christ. We ask for Jesus to enter their hearts. We ask that they would realize they can truly be born again – as believers in Christ.
The final Word
“ Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, ‘Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’” – Ephesians 5:11-14 (NLT)
Day 3 (Tuesday, Nov. 10)
Origins: native religions of India
A Hindu holy man. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Hinduism is sometimes called the world’s oldest religion. But some would tell you, “There is no such thing as Hinduism.” It was a word coined by the British “as a catchall term for the innumerable and often contradictory religions they found on the Indian subcontinent,” wrote Gerald R. McDermott, the author of several books on world religions.
Paul and Mary Filidis, authors of Hindu World Prayer Guide: 15 Days of Prayer (2020), concur. “Hinduism contains many strands, developed over long periods in different regions,” they write. “Hinduism has developed into a complex system of varied ideas and beliefs. Because of its continued assimilation of local traditions and views, it is difficult to define the common beliefs and practices accepted by all Hindus. It could be said there are as many forms of Hinduism as there are Hindus.”
There are 1.175 billion Hindus – more than 15 percent of the world’s population – making their religion the third-largest (behind only Christianity and Islam).
On the one hand, Hindu scriptures claim there are 330 million gods. On the other hand, in the mountainous Himachal Pradesh state of northern India, Climbing For Christ ministry partner Rohit Mattoo says the majority of believers come from Hindu backgrounds. “Like us, they too believe in triune God,” Rohit said of the Hindus around him. “Brahma, the creator god; Vishnu, the one who controls (everything); Mashesh, the destroyer god.”
That’s a far cry from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
But it is easy to see the confusion of Hinduism – or what McDermott labeled “the native religions of India.” It has been said there can be as many Hindu gods as there are Hindus to suit their moods, feelings, emotions, and social backgrounds.
CLICK HERE to hear the prayer of a Christian who once was a Hindu in a video produced by Prayercast. (Note: You’ll be leaving ClimbingForChrist.org.)
Heavenly Father, You are the Creator. You are the one true God. We praise and thank you for making us Your children. We ask that those living – especially in India and across the border in Nepal – in the darkness and confusion of Hinduism would be brought into the light.
The final Word
“Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.” – Psalm 90:2 (NLT)
Day 2 (Monday, Nov. 9)
Origins: the birth of Buddhism
A sign: the place in Nepal where Buddha was supposedly born.
Hinduism has no founder. There is no historic figure like Jesus or Muhammad or Buddha.
Buddha was born in modern-day Nepal. The first sign you see after landing in Kathmandu is the declaration that Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha. Buddhist tradition regards Lumbini Province, in Mid-West Nepal, as the place where a prince named Siddhartha Gautama was born in the sixth century. (Today, Lumbini is where the district of Rolpa is found; Climbing For Christ has built two churches there.)
Gautama was shielded from the outside world by his father, but at the age of 29 he ventured beyond the palace where he lived. He was exposed to suffering.
Distraught, he began to wander in search of solutions to the world’s problems. Legend has it he resolved to achieve enlightenment and sat beneath a bodhi tree. That is where he received “supreme truth” and became the Buddha or “enlightened one.”
Unlike most religions, there is no supreme deity in Buddhism.
Buddha’s teachings center around the “Four Noble Truths”:
Life is full of suffering.
The cause of suffering is desire.
Suffering can only cease by ending desire.
The way to end desire is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.
Paul and Mary Filidis, authors of Buddhist World Prayer Guide: 15 Days of Prayer (2020), write: “The only way to get off that endless cycle of rebirths is to walk the ‘Middle Path,’ avoiding extremes and living with right understanding, thought, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and finally right concentration. The end-goal is not eternal communion with God, but rather – like the flame of a candle being extinguished – a state where craving is ended.”
Heavenly Father, we crave eternal communion with You. We ask that real enlightenment would be brought to the more than half-billion Buddhists in the world, especially those Climbing For Christ has been encountering among the nearly 2.3 million living in Nepal where Buddha was born. We know that the suffering here is temporary, but those who die apart from you will suffer for eternity. Father, we ask that You rescue these lost souls.
The final Word
“ Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ ‘What do you mean?’ exclaimed Nicodemus. ‘How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.’” – John 3:3-5 (NLT)
Day 1 (Sunday, Nov. 8)
No monkey business
The Swayambhunath stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
We know it as the Monkey Temple.
It is a religious complex and major tourist attraction sitting on a hilltop in the capital of what was once a Hindu kingdom. It is home to one of the holiest Buddhist stupas in Nepal. But the Buddhist stupa (or place of meditation) is surrounded by Hindu temples. Not to mention hundreds of what are considered “holy” monkeys.
Swayambhunath – the Monkey Temple’s real name – is a place of worship for Buddhist and Hindu, alike. “There are some similar Hindu gods and Buddhist, too,” said brother Megh Gurung, our co-worker in Nepal.
Many Buddhists and Hindus visit Swayambhunath each day. They celebrate this as a symbol of religious harmony in a place where Christians are persecuted.
Nepal is one of only two countries in the world with a majority Hindu population (more than 83 percent of its 29-million people). Neighboring India is the world’s most populous Hindu nation (80.5 percent of the nearly 1.4 billion living there).
At the same time, Nepal has the 14th-largest Buddhist population in the world (more than 2.3 million people).
Buddhists live mostly in the Himalayas along the border with Tibetan China, which is home to the largest Buddhist population (184 million) in the world.
Climbing For Christ has worked in these three Asian countries: Nepal, China, and India. This is a crossroads for two of the world’s largest religions. Only Christianity (2.4 billion followers) and Islam (1.85 billion) are bigger than Hinduism, which has nearly 1.2 billion adherents. Buddhism has about 501 million.
Starting today, we are conducting 15 days of prayer for the Hindu and Buddhist World in conjunction with WorldChristian and other international ministries. The project is built around Diwali, the five-day festival of light, “celebrating the victory over evil, light over darkness,” according to WorldChristian’s 15 Days Hindu World Prayer Guide. Diwali is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism – and observed by some Buddhists. It begins Nov. 14.
Our prayer is that many in the Hindu and Buddhist world would see the Light of the world – Jesus Christ – during this festival of light. We ask you to join us in this time of prayer.
Heavenly Father, Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. We rejoice that we are walking with You. But nearly 1.7 billion souls are lost in the darkness of Hinduism and Buddhism. Today – and in the days ahead – we ask You to visit those who are on the wrong path, heading toward hell. Show them the Way. Use us to reach those who need to have their darkness turned into light. For Your glory!
The final Word
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” – Matthew 4:16 (NLT)