The Gurung

Our team has been working in a village for several years. This beautiful village is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains and is home to the Gurung people. Historically, these people have been known as fierce warriors. Thousands of their sons served in the British army or Indian army as famed “Gurkha” soldiers known around the world for their bravery and courage. Even the word “Gurung” is intimidating; it’s the Nepali word for the sound of thunder. Their worldview consists of a unique mix of animistic and Tibetan Buddhist culture and religion. Their language is completely oral; a Gurung alphabet or system of writing does not exist.

Our early work in the village community was aided by a lone believer who had persevered through tremendous community pressure. With his help and the invitation of the village elders, we began visiting the community regularly nearly a decade ago. Initially, we built relationships and trust within the community by serving their needs. Our team conducted medical clinics and constructed a solar-powered water pump system to bring clean drinking water to the main part of the village. From the start, we never hid the fact that we were followers of Christ, and we were very clear with the village elders that our desire was to share the story of Jesus with the Gurung people who lived in the valley.

Slowly, the people’s hearts opened to us, and we became increasingly bold in sharing Christ. We held open-air programs during Christmas and Easter, sharing the story of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection with the help of Gurung Christians from a local congregation in the nearest city (about a 3-hour drive away). Eventually, two young men in the community accepted Christ and were baptized in the river that runs through the valley. They were the first believers to be baptized in the village itself.

Slowly, the people’s hearts opened to us, and we became increasingly bold in sharing Christ.

Over the years, doors continued to open. Sensing this was God’s time for the village, our team started the process of compiling, translating, and recording Bible stories in the Gurung language, beginning with the creation story in Genesis 1 and working toward the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in the New Testament. Once seven or eight stories were translated and recorded in the local language, we invited villagers to the believers’ house for a time of sharing. These groups, which we call “story fellowships,” have been a regular part of our time in the village over the past couple years, interrupted only by the quarantines and lockdowns that started when the pandemic interrupted normal life. Once the pandemic situation in Nepal slowly improved, our team prepared to resume our ministry in the village with more stories in the Gurung language and more “story fellowships.”

We are excited that these beautiful people are gaining full access to the story of God’s love for them for the first time in their history and are believing for a multiplication of these story gatherings among the entire hill area. We believe the two young men who were baptized are merely the first fruits of a great harvest to come. We are grateful that God has allowed us to be a part of this great turning point in the redemptive history of the Gurung people.