To paraphrase one of my favorite John Maxwell quotes: If your vision doesn’t make people laugh, it simply isn’t big enough.
I call the work we do every day at World Help a series of “God-sized tasks”—because it if were up to our own strength, we’d fail every time. But we serve a God who accomplishes the impossible every day. He has no limits . . . and I always want to be right in the middle of what He’s doing in the world.
Nearly 17 years ago, God gave me a vision that plenty of people told me was too big. None of them actually laughed in my face, but I’m sure they were skeptical. I called it Vision 1000.
The goal was to build 1,000 churches in some of the most unreached areas of the world . . . among people who had never heard the name of Jesus spoken. It was an audacious goal. And I wasn’t sure how God would do it. All I knew is that I had to try; I had to work as if it all depended on me and trust as if it all depended on God . . . faith in action.
World Help was able to mobilize American believers to answer the need by helping train 1,000 church planters and establish more than 1,500 house churches in Nepal alone. Today, over 300 church buildings have been constructed to house new congregations of Christ followers—many right here in the Everest region.
On this trip, Senior Vice President Tom Thompson and I had the honor of speaking to a generation of Nepali believers who grew up in these churches throughout the Kathmandu valley. Hundreds of lives have been transformed by the hope of the Gospel, and they are effectively reaching their surrounding communities . . . changing an entire nation for Christ.
At one of the Vision 1000 churches, I met a man named Sanilal. He is a leper . . . plagued by a disease that modern medicine has been able to treat with simple antibiotics. It’s actually quite common in developing areas of the world, causing miserable sores that can lead to permanent disfigurement and perpetual agony.
Before the church was planted, Sanilal struggled every day to provide for his daughter, a bright young girl named Shova. Her future was uncertain . . . and Sanilal was desperate for help.
Establishing the Khare Aradhana Church signified a new beginning for Sanilal, Shova, and their entire village. Through the help of the church and in connection with a World Help Child Sponsorship Program nearby, Shova was fed, clothed, educated, and taught about the love of Jesus. It was an answer to prayer.
With pride in his voice, Sanilal told me that Shova will be graduating from nursing school in just a few weeks. Help and hope changed everything for this family . . . rescuing them from poverty and filling their hearts with thanks to God.
The services we attended were packed, and the worship was absolutely incredible. I looked around the crowded room and just took it all in. I couldn’t believe that the spiritual foundation that was laid nearly 15 years ago was now bringing record numbers of people to Christ. What a legacy!
Here’s a quick video clip of our worship time with these committed believers:
Many of these Vision 1000 churches are located directly in the shadow of Boudhanath Stupa, the largest Buddhist temple in Nepal. Thousands come to worship and pay homage to the deities they think will offer them meaning and hope. Some even follow the practice of worshipping monkeys—the “most loyal” of the gods. They are totally blind to the true hope of the Gospel . . . that Jesus suffered, died, and rose again to give them eternal life. But as the church-planting movement continues to grow, we believe that God can do the impossible here.
Later, we met with the National Church Fellowship of Nepal—a body made up of more than 4,000 churches—to discuss strategy. On average, one church is planted in an unreached area of Nepal every day . . . and there are believed to be over 1.5 million evangelical Christians. Sixty years ago, there were barely 25 in the entire country! Look what God is doing . . . it’s a historic time for us to be involved.
What a privilege to be a part of this unprecedented growth of the Gospel. Hearts are being changed and eyes are being opened to the truth of Jesus like never before. Please continue to pray that we take advantage of every opportunity to invest in the spiritual legacy of Nepal.
We’re on our way to India next, one of the most impoverished nations in the world. There is so much need there . . . it’s overwhelming. But World Help has many strategic programs in place to give help and hope to these desperate people. I look forward to seeing how God continues to bring His vision for the Gospel to life in India.