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Monday, December 18, 2006
The land gets its freedom and Global Recordings Network pushes into even more remote regions of this mountainous country.
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Ministries
SANTA ANA, CA (ANS) -- Nepal's decade-long civil war came to an official end as the government and Maoist rebels signed a Comprehensive Peace Accord on November 21. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist Chairman Prachanda, who goes by one name only, signed the accord in Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu. They declared Nov. 22 a public holiday to celebrate. The Peace Accord brings an official end to the Hindu monarchy that has ruled this country in the Himalayan Mountains for much of its existence. The country's temporary constitution contains provisions to recognize all religions. However, many are expressing doubt that the promised secular government will bring any real change to Nepal, which is still 85 percent Hindu.
Now Barny Shrestha, a Nepalese Christian leader who heads up the work of Global Recordings in Nepal has expressed joy that freedom has finally come to his country.
In an interview for my Front Page Radio program on KWVE 107.9 FM in Southern California, he said, "The troubles began about eleven years ago when a Maoist movement rose up against the government and some 13,000 people were killed on both sides. There was fighting every day and so many people were being killed and the people lived in fear.
"Many people left the country because of the violence and this is really good news for us to hear that they have signed the peace accord. We have been praying for this and God has answered our prayers."
He went on to say, "Nepal was known as a Hindu kingdom -- the only Hindu kingdom in the world. They have now taken the word 'Hindu' off our constitution and now Nepal is a secular country and because of this there should be much more freedom for all the people."
Shrestha revealed that when he first became a Christian it was illegal.
"In those days, if someone became a Christian, he or she would be put into jail for one year and then after one year that person had to be Hindu or a Buddhist," he said. "Also for preaching the Gospel or baptizing one person, you could put us into the jail for six years. But thank God, it has all changed."
He said that there are still people in Nepal who have not heard about Jesus Christ.
"Many of them live up in the mountains, but there are still people who live in cities, who if they have heard about Jesus, they have heard that there's a Jesus and Christianity is a foreign religion. They haven't heard the truth."
He explained that the work of Global Recordings entails recording Gospel messages in tribal languages and then playing them back to the people, many of whom cannot read or write.
"We begin by doing research," he said. "We go up in the mountains or wherever this language group exists and try to find out what language they speak, what their ethnic background is and what kind of belief system and world view that they have what.
"We try to find out their geographical situation and their educational level things. Then we try to find someone who can speak Nepali and also speak fluently in their own language called the 'Mother Tongue.' Then we have to choose a script writer who proceeds to tell a story from the Bible which is more applicable to them and then we work with this man either a story-telling format. We used to do sentence by sentence recording that means we give one sentence at a time to them and they translate that into their language and we record them. Later on we would edit them and put them together and also add some sound effects and some appropriate songs.
"But these days we are going more and more into story telling format. We tell the story from the Bible many different way make sure they understand and we ask them to tell us back the story in Nepali and if they are telling us the story correctly then we ask them to tell the same story in their way whatever appropriate way and they have to tell the story in their way to their people so that people can understand it."
I asked how he first became involved with work of Global Recordings Network.
"Well when I first came to know the Lord Jesus Christ I was from a very strong Hindu background," he said. "So after I found the Lord, I naturally wanted to share this truth with everyone. So wherever I went I would share it about Jesus.
"Then one day somebody told me that about Global Recordings, or Gospel Recordings as the mission was formerly called. Being a technically minded person, I was very much interested in it and so I joined them at the end of 1985 as a volunteer but then, the following year, I joined as fulltime.
"I have done lots of recording by myself and I have traveled to many places up on the Himalayan Mountains east to west, north to south, and now I am involved in training others to do the recordings."
He said that there have times when his life has been in danger while recording. "On one occasion, I was traveling up on the mountain to try and find this nomadic tribe who practice witchcraft. They put poison in my found and I almost died.
"Another time, we were doing a distribution among the Thami people and when we were going door to door. We took a whole bunch of young people from a church even though it was illegal at that time and those people who were on fire for the Lord wanted to share the Gospel to people. We were playing a hand wind cassette player with the Gospel message on it when a young man came to us who looked very angry and he said to us, 'What are you doing here?' We told him that we were here to bring 'Good News.' He replied that he believed that were there to attack their culture.
"So I asked him to listen to our message and I cranked up the hand-wound recorder and he heard the Gospel clearly in his own language. He stepped forward and I thought he was even angrier, then, as we were having lunch, he returned with another seven or eight young people. We all prayed for the Lord to help us. When the group arrived, the man who had been so angry indicated that he wanted us to start playing the tape again and smiles began to appear on their faces.
"So I gave him the recorder and he started to play it and other people started talking and he told them to be quiet and listen. He played the whole tape which lasted nearly an hour and incredibly, there are now four churches among Thami people."
He said that on another occasion, the Global Recordings team went to a really remote area and when they returned to play the recording, more than 60 people from that tribe were converted and immediately baptized.
Joining Barny Shrestha in studio was Colin Stott, the US director of Global Recordings.
I asked British-born Stott what was ahead for the Global Recordings Network.
"We want to pick up the pace in recording new languages so we are launching a new initiative that we're calling the '10K Challenge.' The objective of this is to have the Gospel available in 10,000 heart languages," he said. "So this will be a major undertaking and a major initiative. It will require lots more recording teams coming on board, having many more workers at our home office, more volunteers, more intercessors, and more financial partners.
"The goal is to really see at least one new language recorded every day. And what a difference a day will make for those who receive the Good News. Yesterday they were in darkness and today they will have the light of the Gospel. So there's a great urgency to spread the Word not just to get people saved but because our Lord needs to receive the worship that is due him.
"The second thing that we want to see is to have more people download our recordings from the Internet and we are in the process at the moment of uploading all of our recordings onto our website so that anyone with an Internet connection any place on earth can really hear the messages.
"We recently heard of an American on a mission in Mexico. He met some Totonac Indians and found what dialect they spoke and, knowing about our ministry, he was able to go to a nearby internet cafe download the languages they spoke and burn some CDs and give them to the people so that they could take them home with them. They did have CD players. So even though he couldn't speak their language he could also still witness to them."
He added, "We need people to serve in the office in Temecula [California] and we also need book keepers, administrators and representatives. We need people who will stand with the work in prayer intercession in supporting the work financially. The more people who join hands together with us in fulfilling this vision the sooner our LORD will receive worship and praise from the lips of people who currently are unreached."