Building churches in Nepal was the furthest thing from the minds of the Harding family. They didn’t even know anyone who lived in Nepal or was from there.
But it’s been one of their favorite adventures yet.
In 2014, Sherry Harding worked as a PR director, and her husband, Joe, was a software engineer. The couple had been married for two decades, and they happily spent their free time farming, beekeeping, and taking quick trips to visit family.
But one morning, things changed.
“I woke up one morning in December with the people in the mountains of Nepal on my mind,” Sherry said. “I had no idea why as I had no connection with Nepal, nor did I know anyone from Nepal. I had to pull up a world map to see exactly where it was, but I couldn’t get them off my mind.”
For the next several weeks, the country of Nepal continued to lie heavy on Sherry’s heart. It was on her mind when she woke up and stayed on her mind until she went to sleep. Eventually, Sherry confided in Joe that she felt God was leading her to intercede for the people of Nepal. So together, the couple began to pray that the people of Nepal would come to know the Lord.
Several months later, Sherry told a co-worker about her new-found passion.
“I shared how God had placed the people of Nepal on our hearts, but I didn’t know why,” Sherry said. “She then told me about a local Christian organization through which she sponsored a child. She explained that World Help had a sponsorship program for children around the world, and she believed Nepal was one of the countries in which they worked.”
Sherry shared this information with Joe, and the couple immediately reached out to World Help. They were sent the biographies and pictures of four Nepali children and asked to choose a child to sponsor.
“Looking at those sweet faces, we knew we could not select just one, so we took a leap of faith and selected all four,” Sherry said. “We felt this must be the primary purpose to which God had connected us with the people of Nepal. However, God had bigger plans in store for us.”
A few days later, Sherry prepared her first four letters and care packets for the couple’s new sponsored children. “Having no children of our own, we were so excited to interact with these precious kids and to encourage them in their faith and life journeys,” she said.
Later that morning, the Hardings saw the news — a massive earthquake had devastated the country of Nepal, right in the area where their sponsored children lived.
“We prayed throughout that afternoon that God was protecting them and hoped they were safe,” Joe said. “By 7 p.m., we received an email from World Help that all were accounted for with no injuries. We shed tears of relief and joy for these children but felt heartbreak for the thousands of people who were affected by the loss and destruction. In that moment, we both felt the Lord speak to our hearts that He was calling us to a much larger role in Nepal.”
Their first instinct was to help rebuild homes. But as they prayed over what to do next, they felt that God was leading them to start building churches. When they reached out to World Help, they discovered that aside from humanitarian efforts, there was a massive need for building and planting churches. Trusting God’s lead, they took another step of faith and committed to serving their brothers and sisters in Christ from halfway around the world.
Over the past several years, the Hardings have raised money to build two churches in Nepal, and they are currently working on building a church in a neighboring country.
“Providing for people’s physical needs is very important, but our calling is to focus on spiritual needs,” Sherry said. “Hearing God’s Word and having a place to worship Him has both earthly and eternal impacts. We’re guilty of taking for granted that we have physical churches so close to our home, and that we can worship there in peace without fear. It’s not that way in other places around the world. It’s our prayer that He uses these projects to shine the hope of the Gospel in places where many have never heard the name of Jesus.”
In addition to helping build churches, the couple has continued to sponsor those original four children. In fact, they have even chosen to sponsor an additional child. Joe and Sherry believe that by sponsoring children, they are not only changing those kids’ lives, but also impacting their families and communities.
“These kids have the opportunity to learn and grow in safe environments because of World Help’s program — we’re blessed and humbled to be a part of it,” Joe said. “If you want to make a major difference while growing the size of your heart multiple times over, consider sponsoring a child. It’s a true joy.”
For the Hardings, the journey to sponsorship and toward church planting was not one they expected. But looking back, they can easily trace the hand of God in their lives — leading them toward these endeavors.
“One thing we’ve learned through this process is that when God changes direction, we trust Him and go with Him,” Sherry said. “He has provided every resource we needed since we started with these projects — He has taken care of every detail. We just had to step out in faith, obedience, and trust. His plans are much bigger and far reaching than ours. It’s exciting watching Him work and bringing everything together in the right places at just the right time.”
For just $35 a month, you can help transform a child’s life by becoming a sponsor. Because of your support, a child will have essentials like food, clothing, medical care, and educational support that he or she needs to grow and thrive.
Like the Hardings, you can partner with what the Lord is doing around the world and help rescue a child. Will you begin your sponsorship journey today?