Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that the year 2016 has already come and gone. Looking back at everything that has happened, we can definitely say it was a busy, fruitful, and challenging year.
We are blown away by all that the Lord has done in our lives and in the lives of those we minister to and with. All that we have been able to do over the past year would not have been possible, first and foremost, without the Lord guiding and directing our steps and second without your prayers, financial support, and the love you have shown to our family. Thank you for your continued partnership with us and our ministries, here in Nepal.
Here are just a few of the highlights from the past few months:
CCBC Student Outreach Trip
On November 6th, the 22 students and all of the staff and family members from CCBC Nepal headed to the Gorkha region – about a 6 hour drive outside of the Kathmandu valley – to hold a 2-day outreach trip.
The purpose of this trip was to help put into action all that the students had all learned at CCBC Nepal, over the past semester. The trip was completely student lead. They were responsible for contacting the different locations we would be going to and to put together a program to help draw a crowd so that the gospel could be preached.
During the trip, we visited four different villages. At each location, the students played music, sang, danced, and did a few skits. After the entertainment part of the program was done, there was a testimony shared and then the gospel message was preached.
We were so proud to watch each student step out of their comfort zone and reach out to the people who came to the events.
In addition to being proud of the students, we were so proud of how well Levi did on his very first mission trip to a village! He was a champ and did great with all of the travel and the different places we went. He was also a great “tool” to use to reach out to some village women in one of the locations we went to! They loved watching him play and holding him and we were able to sit and talk with them and share why we were visiting them.
We had our 2nd graduation ceremony at CCBC Nepal on November 18. There were 4 students that graduated with us this time – Gopal Gurung, Rajkumar Gurung, Rabi Shrestha, and Victoria Albrecht (our first American student).
Please keep these graduates in your prayers as they are back in their home towns and serving in their churches. Gopal and Rajkumar are actively involved in their home church back in their village. Their senior pastor is preparing for them to take over the church after he moves to a different location. Rabi has a desire to be a missionary to his neighbors and surrounding areas in Nepal. Victoria has been accepted to “Patmos: Reality Discipleship” which is a discipleship program in partnership with Calvary Chapel Bible College – Murrieta.
Pankaj’s heart for Calvary Chapel Kathmandu is for it to be a mission minded church. Not only by sending people out and planting churches, but also by reaching out to the community and neighbors all around us. He has a heart for the lost and prays that each neighbor will see how we live our lives and want to learn more about the one true and living God that we serve.
Hosting special events is a key way of reaching out to people in our neighborhood. We know that they may not come if invited to a church service, but if they hear that we have a BBQ after service or are having a special music/concert, they are more likely to come and see what we are all about.
This Christmas season, Pankaj and his leadership team at Calvary Chapel Kathmandu, put together a huge Christmas Outreach, at the beginning of the month. There were special songs preformed by different bands, gifts for visitors, and most importantly, a Christmas and gospel message presented by Pastor Bond. After the service, everyone enjoyed a time of fellowship and food during a special Christmas BBQ feast.
It was overwhelming too see so many people come through the gates that would not normally want to set foot inside of a church. In total, we had over 200 people in attendance and every single person that came that day heard the true reason we celebrate Christmas and had the opportunity to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
We are excited to share about 3 Calvary Chapel Kathmandu church plants!
The first church has been in fellowship for about a year now. It is being lead by a friend of Pankaj’s named Padam in a village in east Nepal named Katle. Padam attended our very first School of Ministry and a few classes when CCBC first started up. He did not graduate with us but felt the Lord calling him to move back to his home village and start a home fellowship that would, God willing, one day turn into a church. There is approximately 20 people who attend on a regular basis and Padam is currently going through the book of John with everyone. With the help of monthly support from others and tithes from our congregation, Calvary Chapel Kathmandu is able to send a small amount of funds to support Padam and his ministry on a monthly basis. Please pray that God will proved more funds for Padam to find a larger location to rent or build to have his weekend serves in.
The second church is being lead by one of our graduated CCBC students, Milan. God miraculously provided enough funds through a supporter, in America, to help purchase land in the village he is serving in. On this land, we will be constructing a church building as well as a small home for Milan to live in. Milan is currently meeting in a small rented room that can barely hold the 30+ people who attend every week so this new land and building will be a huge blessing to everyone there.
The third church is still in the praying process and has not yet been established. In March, Pankaj and a few of his ministry team leaders will travel to a village in the far west in the Mugu district (about a 3 day journey from Kathmandu). During their time there, they will meet with some leaders and talk about the possibility of planting a church there.
Please keep all of these churches and their pastors in your prayers. Also pray for wisdom on Pankaj’s part in training and equipping the leaders and pastors.
Trip to America!
The date is set! Pankaj, Levi, and I will be in America from March 31 to the end of May!
The main purpose of this trip is to work on immigration paperwork for Pankaj’s green card, Levi’s India visa, and to officially register our marriage with the Indian Embassy.
We would also love to meet with any of you – individuals and churches – to share about what the Lord is continuing to do, here in Nepal. If you or anyone you know would be interested to have us share, please let us know so we can put it on our calendar.
Thank you again for all of your prayers and love for our family and ministries. We are truly blessed to have each one of you in our lives.
Pankaj, Tonielle, and Levi Sarkar