U. J. Gurung
I was born on 11th January 1965 (BS 2021 Paush 27) in Lamjung, Western Nepal. My father Bhim Bahadur Gurung was in British India military in 1940s and faught in 2nd World War for the Allies (U.S., Britain, France, USSR, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Yugoslavia), against the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria) in Burma Hills and the valleys. Even my four uncles were in British and Indian army. My mother Gabhi Gurung, a daughter of Kalu Ghale, was a house wife looking after the family and farm at home, Lamjung. We had plenty of rice fields and livestock. And my Grand Father Bhuvan Singh Gurung, was a Hindu devotee, who usually spend his mornings reading Hindu scriptures Ramayana, Mahabharat, Gita, Sostani etc. Though my family was a Buddhist family, they would follow the Hindu scriptures too. I got school educationin Lamjung and I finished my college and university degrees in Kathmandu.
In my childhood days I had some sentimental and grave questions, such as ‘why people die?’ ‘What is the way to be escaped from the death?’ Even in my youth days, I had questions, ‘what will happen after death?’ In February 1982 (BS 2038 Phagun), I bought a packet of gospel tracts while I was on the way to home from an educational tour in Kathmandu and different parts of Nepal. New things were learnt from the booklets about Life and Miracles of Jesus, his death and resurrection, which brought interests to my heart to learn more about Jesus. Before the event, I was thinking that Christianity is one of the religions in the World only. Then I began to study the gospel of Jesus through a correspondence Course. After I finished my school I came to Kathmandu for my higher studies in April 1983 (Chaitra 2039 BS). And I tried to meet the teachers of the correspondence school. But I didn’t find them. I was led to a Church in Jawalakhel, Lalitpur where I first heard the gospel in details. One Pastor was preaching the gospel very clearly. I realized that I was a sinner, worthy to perished. But Jesus gave his life for the sins of the World. I prayed to Jesus that he may forgive my sins and I decided to live for him. Then I continued for Church attendance and hearing the word of God. In every weekly Church meeting I prayed to Jesus that he might save my life if I was not saved yet. Later one preacher was preaching from 1 John 5:11-13 and I got assurance of salvation through the passage. After few months I was led to the fellowship at Jhamshikhel, where I met the members of the same group who were running the correspondence school through which I had taken lessons to learn more about Jesus. By the end of 1983 I joined at Min Bhawan fellowship for regular worship services, which was the same fellowship running at Jhamsikhel. In the same year the Church was organized as a Church at Min Bhavan, named ‘Kathmandu Baptist Church’. While the Church was voting for the name of the Church I was present there. I was a student at Amrit Science College, Thamel, Kathmandu then for my higher studies in Science. My heart desire was to be a doctor to serve the sick people. But I never thought and knew God’s plan that one day I will be looking after his flock. So I was continuing in my studies with my part time job of tutoring.
It was not an easy decision to be a Christian in 1980s. It was the hardest time for the Christians in the history of Christianity in Nepal. My family was not happy and my friends were not happy for decision I made to follow Jesus. I was like from different world. No more traditional way of life. All of my family members and relatives would stare me thinking that what’s going on in my life. My life and goal was completely diverted to other direction. No more festivals, no more old friends in my home town regions. When I went those areas I was dealt as a stranger. I didn’t know whether there was any Christian living in Lamjung in those days. One of my school best friends wrote me a letter saying that I was like a dog for being a Christian. I was upset when I read such a word from my best friend.
I was baptized in Sundarijal by the leaders of Kathmandu Baptist Church on 29th of February 1984 (BS 2040, Phagun 17) and joined to Kathmandu Baptist Church as a member. While I was being regular for the Church services along with my college education I was called for the ministry. I prayed and thought about it for a long time. But I heart was burdened for the gospel ministry. Then I shared one of my leaders about my heart burden. And he suggested me to wait and pray for the clear calling. So I waited for some months praying about the clear guidance for his calling. But my heart desire was to serve the Lord giving my whole life. And I again shared my heart burden to the same leader. He saw God’s calling in my life. Then all the leaders were agreed for my calling. So I joined in the ministry of Kathmandu Baptist Church on 25th of July 1984 (BS 2041 Saun 10). I was busy preaching the gospel, visiting the believers house to house and having the trips to the villages for evangelism. The Lord prospered the ministry of the Church and people were being added into the Church.
Until the age of 22 I never thought about the marriage. But some of my leaders were praying for me. I knew that the Lord will provide a wife for me in his own time. I never thought about the finance and savings. I knew that the Lord will provide all my needs as Philippians 4:19 says. I was serving the Lord by faith not by sight or salary. The Church had provided food and a place to stay. That was enough for me. I had great needs for me and for my parents but I never worry about it. Today when I look back my life in ministry I never regret for my decisions. And I am sure that if somebody is called for the ministry he will have to decide to live by faith instead of looking salaries and facilities. The Lord is my Shepard and he is proven faithful. I married Miss Meena Gurung, the first lady convert of Kathmandu Baptist Church on 11th June 1988 (BS 2045 Jestha 29) at our own Church. I didn’t save any money for my marriage. But the Lord provided for all my needs.
Right after my marriage an article was published in one weekly newspaper against Kathmandu Baptist Church in 1988 with a big headlines, “Ek Cup Chiyama Dharma Paribartan” meaning ‘Religious Conversion with a Cup of tea’. The Church used to have tea time after the Church services. Right after the publication of a news against the Church, the members of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) became active to arrest some of the leaders of the Church including me. New faces were seen in different areas about the Church location. It gave unusual environment for the Church meeting on that day. And the leaders of Kathmandu Baptist Church decided to stop the regular worship service for that day which was Saturday. The situation in Nepal in those days, were critical for the Christians. Christian leaders were being arrested in different parts of Nepal for the evangelism. Kathmandu Baptist Church went underground right after that and met at various areas of Kathmandu Valley. And for the Lord’s Supper program, they met at the top of Mt. Nagarjun, located in the North part of Kathmandu Valley. After few months of underground worship services, a famous Nepali Essay Writer Diamond Shamsher Rana built a Church hall for Kathmandu Baptist Church ‘Ebenezer’ in his house premises at Kupondole after our request. Since then, the Church began to get together in one place at the hall at Kupondole, Lalitpur. Diamond Shamsher testified that he was questioned by the royal palace authorities concerning the Church hall built for the Christians. And he had replied that all the religions are equal for him and to build a Church hall for rent is not a big deal. I was ordained as the Pastor of Kathmandu Baptist Church by the leaders of the Church, i.e. Missionaries from overseas, on 4th March 1989 (21 Phagun, 2045), at Kopundole, Lalitpur. Soon after my ordination all the Missionaries had to leave the country due to persecutions in 1989. So they left Nepal. Then I led the Church with the help of Nepalese leaderships. While Kathmandu Baptist Church was having Church fellowships at Kupondole, I had a vision of building our own Church building. The Church assisted me fully and the Church building was built at Koteshwor and moved there. Then God led us for the Church plantation ministries in different parts of Nepal along with the Church ministries. Churches were established in various parts of Nepal. Until today the Church had established more than 20 Churches in different parts of Nepal. God has done great things during the difficulties and hardships in Nepal.