Although there have been many significant events during my long years of ministry with MMS, I can only describe them as “one moment in time”. Humbly, I acknowledge the hand of God working to shape my ministry as I have been privileged to work together with groups of faithful men and women who have committed their lives to serving our Lord. These were indeed journeys of extraordinary, supernatural experiences and close encounters with God.
The ancient Greek word for such a defining moment is kairos, meaning the opportune or critical moment. In the New Testament, kairos is used to describe the appointed time or the God-ordained time.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6 (NIV)
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15 (NIV)
Indeed, there are God-given times such as when Jesus walked this earth. For many Christians, the moment when we confessed Jesus as our Saviour and Lord and received salvation will always be significant. We need to recognise these God-appointed times when his times intersect with ours.
Looking back at the years I served in MMS’ mission fields, I especially remember the initial years of establishing our Nepal ministry, and seeing it grow from strength to strength. These were 13 years of great personal experiences and defining moments.
Our Nepal ministry started when Rev Erick Tan and his wife Shanti heeded God’s call to be missionaries in Nepal after graduating from Trinity Theological College. By faith, they ventured into East Nepal and struggled for three years before starting their first ministry in Kathmandu. God provided two anointed servants (a pastor from India and a Nepali Campus Crusade for Christ-trained pastor from East Nepal) to work with MMS. After three barren years, the ministry of Nepal was birthed.
My first trip to Nepal in 2006 was very significant. Together with MMS leadership, Rev Dr Norman Wong and Andrew Tay, we visited East Nepal, Kathmandu, and Phulbari in Kavre District. Seeing the needs for our ministry, we purchased the land next to Mahimit Methodist Church where a temporary bamboo shed was used as a Bible school. Later on, a new building was built for Caleb Bible Institute (CBI). Over the years, CBI has trained and graduated over 150 pastors and local church leaders for the Methodist Church in Nepal (MCN) and other Nepali churches.
Whilst worshipping in a mud house church in Phulbari with a group of 15 believers, God released a word to my inner spirit that he would build his church at this exact site. Immediately after the service, Andrew announced that his church would sponsor the building of Phulbari church. Later, the church was rebuilt as the 2015 earthquake affected the building. The steadfast love of God never ceases as Phulbari Methodist Church has grown in maturity and strength. Today, it has over 80 regular worshippers. To God be the glory.
We then focused on training our pastors and church planters to grow multiplying and disciple-making churches. We prepared our national pastors and leaders through discipleship and equipping training, including Growing Healthy Church (GHC), Equipping The Saints (ETS), and T-NET. These training programmes provided a strong foundation, aligning Methodist teachings and disciplines with the Church Planting (CP) movement. Today, CP has matured with the increasing participation of youth and women. With the foundation established, our Nepal ministry was officially recognised as the Nepal Annual Meeting of the Mission in 2008.
I was fortunate to work with a very dedicated and committed team of missionaries in Nepal who contributed immensely to the growth and development of MCN. Together with them, we experienced faith, perseverance, and providence. Today, MCN has seven churches, five preaching points, and eight outreach points, including CBI and Sophia’s Home ministry.
But MCN’s ministry has had to go through periods of national crises. The devastating earthquake in 2015 resulted in the loss of more than 8,000 lives and massive destruction of homes and property. Together with MCN, MMS responded and provided funds to rebuild the homes of our members and the community, and to repair our churches and Sophia’s Home. Food and other essentials were also provided to affected families. In early 2020, disaster struck again with the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Again, we were able to respond promptly by providing relief packages to 372 families and sharing God’s love with the community. By God’s grace and providence, MCN will tide over this pandemic and any other crisis. Our Lord assures us:
“For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
I am glad to have had this special “one moment in time” experience in my ministry with MCN. It was a God-given privilege to work with the national pastors, leaders, and missionaries. It was a humbling and learning journey to witness God’s faithfulness to MCN and her leaders. I am confident that they too will experience their “one moment in time” personal encounters with God. I firmly believe that with a strong spiritual foundation, MCN leaders are not only people of hope but of victorious faith. I pray that as Methodists in Nepal, they will show perseverance, faithfulness, and tenacity in their journey towards redeeming Nepal for Christ.
This article was first published in Harvest Force 2022 Issue 1.
Col (Ret) Quek Koh Eng is the Field and Church Engagement Director of the Methodist Missions Society (MMS). He also served as the MMS Area Director of Nepal from 2008 to 2019. / Photos courtesy of MMS.