“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen …
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to
provide the poor wanderer with shelter?"
Dear Ministry Partner,
It is with incredible joy and thanksgiving that Patt and I send you this update on the great progress of the “Agape Metal Houses” in Nepal. As you know from my previous reports, we recently made the transition from relief to rebuilding. And while there are still untold thousands of people who remain homeless in Nepal, our focus has been on the “needy saints” who lost their homes during the two devastating earthquakes in April and May. This priority is because of Paul’s exhortation to “ … do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:10).
After the necessary temporary phase of tents & tarps, we had to quickly transition to these small “metal houses” due to the current heavy monsoon rains. Through our partner, Pastor Hanok Tamang, we have had two building teams traveling to the hardest hit and most remote areas to construct these small houses as quickly as possible.
Because of the steep mountains, building in Nepal is problematic under the best of circumstances. But doing so in the monsoon season is difficult beyond description! In the midst of heavy rains, swollen rivers, landslides and washed out roads, it has been extremely challenging and dangerous for our teams to get themselves and the metal sheeting to these remote destinations. But the love and compassion of Christ has compelled them to do so.
Frankly, I am both awed and amazed over the number of small metal houses God has allowed us to build through the generous financial partnership of people like you! We have seen the quickest and largest response in our history to any of our relief and development efforts. To God be the glory and to the needy saints in Nepal be the blessing!
To date, we have been able to build 175 of these small “Agape Metal Homes” at an average cost of $1,000 per house. Again, we give all the praise and honor to God because it has been His Holy Spirit who has touched and released the resources of His people to build all of these houses! As a result of the giving of our partners, Pastor Hanok’s building teams have been working 24/7 to identify the most needy and then build houses as quickly as possible to get these dear people out of the rain.
Additionally, Pastor Hanok and his two teams have built far more houses than any other church, organization, or NGO in all of Nepal – including the government. His many years as the senior pastor of the Aradhana Church (meaning ‘worship’), as well as his many years as President of the ‘National Church Fellowship of Nepal’ (NCFN), strategically prepared him for “ … such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Therefore, when the earthquakes happened, he already had the relationships, infrastructure and national “boots on the ground” throughout Nepal to spring into action! All he needed was resources to work with – and many of you provided that “financial fuel” through our ministry – which we passed on to him 100%.
The government in Nepal is still in division and disarray. As a result, several officials have come to Hanok to ask for his help in building houses! Can you believe it? Members from a predominantly Hindu government coming to a Christian pastor asking for help! What a positive witness for the church of Jesus Christ!
Agape Metal Homes building team.
However, Pastor Hanok just told me that he still has urgent written requests for 150 more homes for Christians who lost EVERYTHING in the earthquakes. They continue to live under tents and tarps in the hopes of getting a small metal house. As always, I have no idea where that much money could come from. But God does! So I just share it with you for your prayers and proactivity as the Lord leads you. Please give what you can. But also, help me network this need in your church, business and sphere of influence. Together we can get more needy Christians out of tents and into an “Agape Metal House.” Then one day in the future, they will use that same metal for the roof on a more permanent house.
Sadly, the frustration by the people over the slow and paltry response of the government has caused public unrest – which is easy to understand. As often is the case after every natural disaster, governments receive hundreds of millions of dollars from America and other countries for relief. But, the majority of the money NEVER gets to the point of need. It is skimmed and stolen by corrupt government officials who get rich off the tragedy of others!
So, there is a growing discontent in Nepal by the people who are still not being helped. In America, we have experienced the same discontent toward FEMA with the bureaucracy and slowness of their response after almost every hurricane or tornado. Hanok just sent me this brief update about this public unrest that has recently erupted into violence in areas of Nepal. It is an echo of what is happening in many cities in America (emphasis mine):
“News related to Nation: While I am writing this update to you, major news flash continues on the TV screen. There have been several major clashes in far west Nepal and in central part of Nepal. You know the Katase village and church, which you have dedicated years ago? That whole area now has been completely sealed off by the Nepal Army since yesterday. More than 20 police were killed, over 50 injured and a two-year-old baby was shot to death. Police were attacked by thousands of people. Curfew has been imposed for an uncertain periods of time. It's been a very sad day to see so many police and public killed in one spot.
This unfortunate situation indicates that our nation is heading to an uncertain direction. Instead of getting a new Constitution, the people of Nepal are getting unrest caused by political upheaval and polarization. Most of the main highways have remained closed for several days, which caused too much trouble to import gasoline and other necessary things from outside. Nepal is passing through a very painful situation. I covet you to pray for Nepal.”
With the political discontent, polarization, rioting in the streets, killing of policemen and innocent by-standers – it sounds like America, doesn’t it?! Hanok further shared about the political division over the new Constitution…
“Besides this unfortunate situation, there has been major debate on the matter of "secularism" or "Freedom of Religion" in the new Constitution. It is now almost sure that Nepal may not be the “Secular Nation” in terms of freedom of worship and religion. There have been major strikes and transportation shutdowns in the name of this sensitive issue which is yet unsolved.
Yesterday, when I was invited for a fellowship dinner by the president of NCFN (National Churches Fellowship of Nepal), I shared with them, that regardless of the Constitution, whether it is secular or freedom of religion, or any other prohibition that may come in it, the Spirit of the Lord has been continually working in Nepal. Even in the hard persecution days, we saw people being reached, pews of the churches being filled with the new souls – as a fragrant smell and offering to our God. No one or nothing can hinder or stop what God is doing – neither the new Constitution nor conflict over religious freedom! He will do it and we will see the continuation of the Book of Acts being written in our lifetime. The hidden invisible power inside the life of ordinary saints has the power to turn upside down the world! Nothing can snatch or take away the work of the Lord!”
One of Hanok’s associates, Dilli Basnet, who is also a dear friend, sent an email amplifying this “secular” vs “Hindu” tension now going on in Nepal around the new Constitution:
“As you know, Nepal declared itself a ‘secular state’ in 2008 after a centuries-old monarchy that promoted Hinduism. At that time, the kings were believed to be reincarnated versions of the Hindu god Vishnu. Now once again, the new Constitutions say that "Nepal is a Hindu state and will remain a Hindu state. Over 80% Nepalese are Hindus and we will continue to protest until the country is declared a Hindu state once again.” They are saying that the country was called a ‘secular state’ only because of foreign influence.
So, please pray for the nation to be declared according to God’s spirit in upcoming Constitution for the rights of Christianity so that Nepal can be a common home of different religious groups and not treat any religious ministry as second class citizen. So, kindly pray for whole process of peaceful upcoming Constitution. Dilli”
Just as we Christians in America are increasingly facing a hostile political swing to the left against our faith – from the White House to the Supreme Court – the Nepali Christians are experiencing the same thing from militant Hinduism. Obviously, the hand of the evil one is behind both. He can use secularism, atheism, and humanism, Hinduism or Islamism equally well against the church! But, Satan is ultimately impotent against the march of God in history to establish His Kingdom!
So, rejoice in these new “Agape Metal Homes” you have helped us build recently in Nepal. Each one is a microcosm of the Kingdom of God because Nepali saints live in them! While I have reported on some of these houses in past emails, all of these are ones built since those earlier reports (please click here to view earlier reports on Metal Houses). And while I could profile all 175 houses to date, I will only share a few representative ones to encourage you with what your prayers and partnership are making possible for our needy Nepali brothers and sisters in Christ.
TEMPORARY METAL CHURCH IN A TENTED CAMP
Just as untold numbers of Christian homes were destroyed, the same is true for churches all over Nepal. Some are rebuilding temporary “Metal Churches” like the one below. A later phase of rebuilding for JLPF will be to help in the restoration of rural churches. The cost of these churches will be $3,000 - $3,500, and we will share more about that in a future report.
SUMMARY FOR NOW…
Thanks for helping us put smiles on the faces of needy and homeless Christians in Nepal by putting a metal roof over their heads. And as we make our seasonal transition in America from summer to fall in our warm houses, know that you have helped saints in Nepal make a transition from being exposed to the rain and cold of the monsoon season into a dry “Metal Agape Home.”
In His practical love & compassion,
JL & Patt
PS: When you receive this email, I will again be back in Haiti for a week of ministry and “sweating for Jesus.” So I really covet your prayers for both spiritual wisdom and physical strength.