Date: April 5, 2017
Nepal (MNN) — Global Disciples recently hit an exciting milestone with 1,000 programs now in 45 countries! Their programs provide biblically-based training for small businesses, leadership development, and discipleship missions.
Josh Keefer, Executive Vice President of Global Development with Global Disciples, says their programs often gain interest through word-of-mouth. “Most of this spreads from one church group to another church group…and now at this point, [there are] 1,000 church groups talking with other groups of just the power of this model and the raising up of nationals. We are seeing huge application increases in the amount of persons and groups interested in becoming involved.”
Training taking place on a Nepali mountaintop with Global Disciples. (Photo courtesy of Global Disciples)
One country Global Disciples has a ministry presence in is Nepal. With an overwhelmingly Hindu population, only 1.4 percent of Nepalis are Christian according to the CIA World Factbook. But the Church in Nepal is growing in unity and witness.
“One of the things that is somewhat counterintuitively driving that is the instability from the government standpoint and, in many places, persecution. So it’s really forcing the Church in Nepal to stay united, to keep their barriers low between them, and just step in and say, ‘You know what? In order to accomplish this goal of people all across our nation hearing the Gospel, we really need to stay closely knit together, come persecution or otherwise.’”
Global Disciples could not have the kind of Kingdom impact they see with these programs if not for the local Christians serving as leaders and trainers in the process.
Keefer shares the powerful transformation story of David, one of their program trainers and a former violent gang leader.
“His parents both died, mother and father, when he was very young and he was raised by his grandmother. But his uncles were jealous of the inheritance he was going to receive, and so actually tried to poison him when he was a very young child. So his grandmother fled the village and tried to raise him on her own, but it was just very difficult for her.
“[David] really felt like nobody cared about him, turned to other kids who were local, and ended up starting a gang and becoming the leader of this gang locally. In many ways, he was a ‘Saul’ persecuting people for bringing in foreign gods. One day, this gentleman comes into town and he’s handing out tracts, and he sees [David] and hands him a tract. David tears up the tract and starts to beat him severely. Even the police in this town were afraid of this gang.
“While [David] is beating him, the gentleman who handed him the tract tells him, ‘Even if you kill me, it doesn’t mean that what I gave you isn’t the truth.’ There was something that changed inside of David, he said, when he heard that. So the police came and he said that he stopped beating on the man…. He took those pieces of the tract home with him that night and he said he put them back together. There were two Scriptures that really stood out to him in the tract — one was from Psalm 139, and it was this idea that God knew me before I was born, and the other one was that God was always with me and would not forsake me.”
Nepali Christians worshipping together. (Photo courtesy of Global Disciples)
After that day, David gave his heart to Christ and his life looks very different today. “David now runs training programs in Nepal. Today, he has trained over 565 people in Nepal to be Gospel-carriers to their people and church planters.”
Keefer says, “For us, it’s just what we call one of those Acts moments where you just sit back and say, ‘Wow! God is going to build His Church despite all things of this world.’”
As we celebrate how God is moving around the world and in Nepal through Global Disciples, you can help in a few ways.
“One of the best things for the Church there is to continue to pray for a spirit of unity for the Church in Nepal, that as they walk through even really challenging, difficult times — you know, the earthquake is still a very recent event for them that they’re trying to rebuild from — and yet, it is providing so many opportunities we’re hearing for people to share this Gospel and this God of hope with many people who are struggling.”
(Photo courtesy of Global Disciples)
You can also support the eternal impact these business, leadership, and discipleship programs have with Global Disciples, even as new start-ups continue to spread.
“Persons who would love to come alongside and partner to help jump-start those self-sustained programs is another way to get involved as well, where you just get to see your dollars multiplied by the local Church there in Nepal.”