2017 Nepal – Sarah Suh

The Simple Gospel
(audio mp3)

“They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” – Acts 16:31

To the Philippian jailor’s simple question, “What must I do to be saved,” Paul and Silas give a simple answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved.” They don’t examine his life and say that he needs to attend church 100 times, do good things and then become saved. Simply, he needs to believe in Jesus. This to me is the simple Gospel—that everything you need is only one thing and that’s Jesus Christ.

Among the many crazy things I witnessed during my short time in Nepal, I will never forget Friday, December 30th. We were set to visit a few homes, joined by some Nepali youth from Pastor Saul’s church who would serve as translators. Now any kind of evangelism in Nepal is illegal and if caught, people are severely punished. Pastor Saul had told me about how many Christians were being caught and punished in the recent weeks for preaching the Gospel. He didn’t tell me what the punishments were, and I didn’t actually ask, but I picked up that it was quite serious. However, Nepali Christians take the Great Commission very seriously. They don’t allow a law to slow them down or stop them from doing what is commanded of them. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples” and so they do it. It’s that simple. And because they cannot evangelize in public, they have set up a network of home visitations where Christians invite non-believers to their homes or vice versa. Believers take time to build relationships with nonbelievers and once trust is built, the Gospel is presented and many get saved. Pastor Saul told me that many Christians were being punished because people would accuse them of “forcing” others to hear the Gospel and convert. But if the nonbelievers are the ones inviting Christians to their homes, and they are open to hearing the Gospel, there is no danger. Thus our team was invited to take part in and experience for ourselves how even in the midst of heavy government scrutiny, Nepal has one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the world.

Originally, our team was aiming to leave by 9am, but I got a phone call from Pastor Saul the night before asking if our team could be ready to go by 7:30am. So, instead of having our usual morning team devotional, we met at 7:15am ready to go. Sister Mona took a group of 4 first to visit a natural science professor that Pastor Saul had been reaching out to for over a year. The other two groups were waiting on one of the Nepali youth to arrive, but because she was running late, we all just decided to move together. So the entire team went to a home of a new believer who had invited 5 friends to her home: a father and his son, a mother and her son, and a business woman. All had come because they had a problem that needed to be fixed: the man’s son had a mental illness, the woman’s son had severe fear and anxiety, and the business woman was experiencing a lot of domestic violence in her home. Most of them had visited different witch doctors and worshipped various idols to seek breakthrough, but their gods hadn’t answered.

After hearing their stories, Pastor Saul turned to me and asked, “Who will share the Gospel with them?” I asked our team worship leader, Pastor David Ha to present the Gospel. Before coming on this trip, our team had prepared to lead someone to Christ using the Bible verses that make up the Romans Road. But we realized that the Romans Road wouldn’t quite work in this context. There were too many details that could get lost in translation. So Pastor David contextualized the Gospel to those who needed to hear it and spoke about a God who heals. He simply invited them to allow our God to heal them, but emphasized that in order to follow God, they first needed to forsake their idols and confess with their mouths that Jesus is the only way. Pastor Saul asked these people if they wanted to know Jesus and all 5 said yes! Pastor David led them through a simple prayer, making it very clear that they needed to forsake all idol worship. Our team then prayed for them before leaving. We thought it was over, but before leaving, the newly saved business woman asked us to come to her home after to share the Gospel with her family. We all walked down the street to her home, where she invited her daughter-in-law and a teenage boy to talk with us. We heard their stories of how a freak accident left the boy permanently physically disabled and how the woman’s brother and his wife were struggling because of a dysfunctional marriage. Again, Pastor Saul looked over to me and asked, “Who will share the Gospel?” So I decided to share about the God of love- a God who doesn’t care about works and good deeds, but a God who loves us for who we are. I shared that idols are powerless, and they aren’t the ones who grant us permission to live lives of blessing. Instead, I declared that the God that we serve is the one and only true God who is more powerful than all others. I asked these people if they wanted to let this God of love come into their hearts and they all said yes. That day, 7 lives were saved; 7 sons and daughters were found, and just like it was in the book of Acts, it was so easy.

This was my first time sharing the Gospel with someone I’d never met before. It was my first time leading anyone to Christ and I am convinced that I need to do it more often. It was one of those blurry “what just happened” moments, but it’s a feeling I never want to forget. Evangelizing takes a lot of faith, a lot of patience, and a lot of love. It’s scary, but a fear we all need to overcome. I realized that sharing the Gospel is not about a method. Salvation is not a formula. It’s simply Jesus. What did Jesus do for me? Who is He to me? What did Jesus do for you? Who is He to you? Because all that, He can do and be for anyone else and sometimes, that’s all they need to hear.

After the home visitations, our team gathered together at the guest home for our team devotional. We invited Pastor Saul and Mona to join us. We were set to do a Jericho prayer walk around the town of Bhakatpur that afternoon, so we decided to cover it in prayer beforehand. In an interview we had with Pastor Saul earlier on the trip, we asked “What makes Bhaktapur so unique?” and he told us that Bhaktapur is one of the smallest cities in Nepal, but it has the most idols. In fact, there are more idols than people within its walls. Bhaktapur is an ancient city, full of culture, but also idolatry. Its name literally translates into “place of devotees” because of peoples devotion to idol worship, and we saw the manifestation of this name every day. There were idols in the temples, on the walls, on the floors, on the door handles, in trees—they were everywhere! As our team sat in a circle for our morning devotional in our guest home in the center of Bhaktapur, Pastor David Ha led us to sing “What A Beautiful Name” by Hillsong. As we sang, it didn’t feel like we were just singing a song. We were declaring the supremacy of Christ in that place. As the Holy Spirit’s presence began to fill the room, there was not a dry eye in the circle. We boldly cried out, believing that there truly is no higher name than the name of Jesus. That time of worship was a moment that I’ll never forget. Our team, though surrounded by idols, was declaring in unity, “You have no rival / You have no equal / Now and forever God You reign / Yours is the kingdom / Yours is the glory / Yours is the name above all names.” I mean, this song was always anointed, but it has a completely different meaning now. The name of Jesus is really the name above all names.

I’ve been on many missions trips with New Philly, but this one was special. It was special because I felt like I went back in time and was doing ministry with Jesus, visiting homes to pray for the sick and preach the Good News. It was special because it felt like our team was living out the stories of Jesus in the Gospels. It was special cause we caught a glimpse of the Great Commission in action.

In Nepal, people’s identities are tied to their possessions. When they were hit with the earthquake in 2015, all that was left was hopelessness and apathy because all they had was gone. If you search “Nepal earthquake 2015” in Google, many of the images you see are of Bhaktapur—red bricks upon red bricks, fallen. Everywhere we walked, we saw destruction. We saw loss. We saw brokenness. But we believe that there is a way out. We believe that there is hope and it’s in the name of Jesus. People are desperate for the name of Jesus. It’s what they are searching for. Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” This is the simple Gospel and people need you to share it, too! Amen.