Babiya, Nepal – Believers from the Behelwa Brethren in Christ (BIC) Church were eagerly waiting for the day to worship the Lord in a newly constructed concrete church building. Hundreds, including leaders from neighbouring churches and the BIC Executive Board, gathered 30 November, 2012 for a dedication service.
Cynthia Peacock of India, chair of the Mennonite World Conference Deacons Commission, was the chief guest. After a reading from Psalm 100:1-5 and a dedication prayer, she unveiled the stone plate fixed on a wall outside of the church and then opened the door for everyone to enter into the building.
Ramesh Soren, the pastor, welcomed all the participants and gave a special welcome to Cynthia Peacock and her sister Georgiana. He also expressed his gratitude to God and to the Deacons Commission for prayer and financial assistance to construct the church building through the Global Church Sharing Fund.
The dedication service began by singing, praising and worshipping the Lord, led by the youth group of Salakhpur BIC Church. Cynthia Peacock conveyed greetings from César García, MWC General Secretary and the Deacons Commission. She then shared the Word of God from scripture portions such as 1Peter 2:4-5; Ephesians 2:19-22 and Ephesians 2:1-5. She encouraged the congregation to continue to bring glory to God through worship, witness, fellowship and service. As a church community and living stone built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, she emphasized, we need to build up the kingdom of God by sharing and caring for each other’s spiritual, emotional and physical needs and also becoming a relationship building community inside and outside of the church.
The Babiya BIC Church is one of the village churches among the Santal community close to the city of Biratnagar in eastern Nepal. The church was started in a house of Mongal Soren two decades ago during the monarchy when preaching the Gospel and conversion was illegal. Mongal Soren was a well-known witchdoctor in the area before he became a believer in Jesus Christ.
After a few months, 15 people from his village accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and were baptized. In spite of persecution and restriction from the government, the number of believers continued to increase. Now there are over hundred participants, including children, in the church worship service. Later, after two years of theological training later, Mongal’s nephew, Ramesh Soren, became the pastor of the church.
Initially, the congregation met in the open in the yard of the pastor’s house. Later they built a mud house but it collapsed in a strong storm. They repaired the church and again after one year it collapsed. It was very difficult for them to meet especially during rainy season. So they decided to purchase the land and construct a concrete church building.
They collected some of the money and also received some funds from the BIC Church Nepal Conference. Even then it was not enough to purchase the land and construct the church building. When they received funds from the MWC Global Church Sharing Fund through the BIC Nepal Conference, they were excited to begin the work. They purchased the land beside the village and started the construction work.
Unfortunately before the work was completed, Mongal Soren and two other elderly people of the church who were so zealous to have the concrete building went to be with the Lord in everlasting home. Howewver, under the leadership of Ramesh and other local church committee members, the construction work was successfully completed. Please continue to uphold the congregation to carry out God’s mission through various activities of the church.
From a report by Shemlal Hembrom, chair of the Nepal Brethren in Christ Church and a member of the Mennonite World Conference Deacons Commission