Sumitra Pariyar, left, with C4C member Alyssa Kaelin outside the Pariyar's home in Dapcha, Nepal.
(Photo by Gary Fallesen)
“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.”
— Mark 5:24-26
To a Hindu family that had tried everything — and lost everything — in an effort to heal a sick daughter, the church of Christ offered hope.
Gopal Pariyar carried his paralyzed daughter to the young church at Dapcha on Christmas day in 2007. “He was so worried,” Gopal said through a translator, who explained that the father had lost all his property buying medication for the teen and “even visited two witch doctors” trying to find a cure for what had crippled Sumitra.
“He heard that if you go to church that Jesus would heal, so on one Saturday he took her to the church. When the people prayed, the believers prayed, by then he realized ‘I haven’t yet found the real God.’”
He and other members of his family, including Sumitra, met Jesus Christ that day. He was waiting for them in a rented one-room space in a Central Nepal village where Hinduism and Buddhism grip the people. More than 80 percent of Nepal is Hindu and another 11 percent is Buddhist.
Now Sumitra can walk to church. Soon she will step into a real church space. God is using Climbing For Christ to build the church in Dapcha: both the physical church — a house of worship — and the growing body of Christian believers.
The importance of a physical church is evident in the story of Sumitra’s family.
Sumitra was 7 when she was “struck by a fever.” It led to paralysis. Nine years later, after much struggle, searching and pain, she was healed by God.
“He was a bit upset in his heart and he thought what if I had God earlier that my daughter would not be sick like this,” our translator said as Gopal shared this story.
“She is sorry,” Sumitra told us through our translator. “‘What if I have got Jesus earlier before being paralyzed?’ So she is so sorry for that — that she did not hear about Jesus before her sickness.”
This is not Sumitra’s fault, nor the fault of anyone in her family. It is our responsibility to GO and share the Gospel of Christ with the Sumitras of the world.
The church in Dapcha, a daughter church of the SARA (Savior Alone Reaches Asians) Church on the Rock in Kathmandu, is doing its part. Church leaders took our Mission: Nepal 2011 team out daily to deliver tracks and the Good News of Jesus to the many living in the village.
The church started in 2006, after a local man (Kristshna Lama) accepted Christ in Kathmandu and spent six months in discipleship training with Pastor Tej Rokka’s SARA ministry. Kristshna returned to Dapcha and started a house church. Initially, there were six believers.
Climbing For Christ was taken to Dapcha in May 2009. Kyle Austin, a C4C member from Houghton, N.Y., who had served for two years in Nepal and has participated in all three of Climbing For Christ’s short-term trips there, met the Pariyar family.
He heard the story of Sumitra’s recovery from paralysis. But Sumitra still suffered from seizures and bleeding. Kyle and the Dapcha church leaders, including Sumitra’s brother Prajwal, prayed over her. Shortly thereafter, the bleeding stopped and the seizures lessened.
“She definitely had something spiritual going on,” Kyle said. “It’s incredible to see her now. Keep praying for Sumitra and thank God for the miracle He’s already worked in that family.”
Having witnessed the power of the local church in this community, God moved this ministry to help build the growing body of believers in Dapcha a real home. Money was raised in the United States in October 2009 to purchase land and additional funds were provided in October 2010 to begin construction.
The Mission: Nepal 2011 team, on which I was also joined by Alyssa Kaelin of Laramie, Wyo., visited in January. Time was spent on the site and in teaching and prayer with church members.
“I liked spending time with the church leaders and attempting to grasp their lives as Christians in a rural village with a predominately Buddhist stronghold around it,” said Alyssa, who also spent five months in Nepal as a volunteer teacher. “It was a blessing to be served by them (the Dapcha leaders) and to see their zealous vigor for the church, especially at such a young age.”
Prajwal Pariyar, 16, Gopel Nepali, 18, and Kristshna, 36, are the leaders. A pastor, Ratna Lama, graduated in February from a three-year Bible college in India and answered the call to serve at the church at Dapcha. This church has a bright future as a beacon of hope in this mountainous region.
The Pariyars’ testimony speaks volumes:
“When he was a Hindi he used to have many losses in his animals, in his family,” Gopal Pariyar said through our translator. “Since being a Christian he has never experienced such a loss. So he was so blessed to know Jesus and he is quite happy. He has in his heart that whatever comes, ‘I will never forsake Jesus in all circumstances.’ He has also decided that ‘I have to tell others.’ ”
He and his daughter have a miracle to share. Sumitra, once crippled and mute, smiles with a joy that is not of this world.
Despite living in a land where the name of Jesus is not widely known, our translator relayed: “She had somewhere in her heart believed that ‘I would be healed’ after she received Jesus.”
Her faith made her well. As Jesus told the bleeding woman in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke: “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
This story originally appeared in The Climbing Way (Volume 22, Spring 2011).