A 7.5′ tall man in Simara, Nepal
There’s not a lot of reason to get excited about 1.5%. I don’t follow the 1.5% cash back deals though I might possibly change my 2% milk for 1.5%. However, I calculated that if I grew 1.5% in a day I would go from 6 feet tall to 7.5 feet tall. Now that would truly be shocking.
We visited the small Nepal city of Simara in January 2013. Total population 5,971 people. The church gathered in what would occupy the space of a one car garage or a large bedroom. In fact it’s a room off a house. Perfect for ten people, except that there’s more like 30 on the very cold January morning we arrive. We enter the tin roofed room to the sound of loud singing. Just find a place on the floor and squeeze in. The extra body warmth is nice because it still feels like it’s about 45 degrees to me.
Obviously we can see that the church is packed beyond capacity and desperately needs more room. After the gathering, they walk us to a modest foundation to the side of the existing house along with a stack of bricks for what they hope will be a new church for them.
As Touch Nepal shared the story and the hopes of the Simara church, people here generously answered the call to partner with them. They started the work right in the middle of monsoon season and finished just in time to host a women’s conference for over two hundred women. One of the host churches was the newly finished Simara church. Nepal has an estimated Christian population of around 1.5% to 2.5%. That’s not much. But Jesus is changing hearts and lives in Nepal and numbers are changing along with those lives. Certainly numbers alone are a poor way to measure real growth but when you’re at only 1.5% of the population, I suppose numbers are more interesting. So to hear that 200 Christian women have gathered in the small town of Simara is amazing. That means for a moment in time the Kingdom of God burst forth in this particular area of Nepal at a staggering double plus some expansion. It took the existing 1.5% in the church to reflect God’s love to their neighbors and friends and share their own stories of how Jesus’ love, forgiveness, grace and hope are changing them. Simara church is quite obviously doing that. It can seem that small percentages don’t matter much but I remind myself that Jesus himself said he’s willing to leave 99 to find even 1 lost. 1% matters to Jesus.
The women packed the new church to overflow capacity that day and certainly it will happen again here and in new places. The news of how Jesus is changing lives in Nepal has grown my faith another 1.5%. I’m still 6 feet tall, but I feel like 7.5′ feet inside today.