Bhaju Ram Shrestha
Miracle or Black Magic? Stories Stranger than Fiction
Riding on the rockaby bus on the dusty road of the mountain top I came to a village called Dapcha with my intern pastor friend Pukar Shrestha.. When we arrived in the village, I found it was a sleepy place. The shops were closed and some people seem to be walking lazily around. It was once a lively village but due to the new high way made by Japanese down below the mountain, this village lost the luster of life. However, there were still houses and cluster of villages. In fact Dapcha is just 6 kilometer behind the world famous Buddhist learning center, Namobuddha where I got to make two learned Buddhist nuns as my sisters-one from Malaysia and another from Bhutan.
Dapcha is situated about 30 km from my village Dhulikhel or 55 km from Kathmandu. But the two hours hard ride from my village tells it must be 300 kilometer. Were I a pregnant, I would have deliver a baby because of thumpty thump and rocky ride. But as I arrived in the village, at first I was mesmerized by the imposing majestic Himalaya Mountains. Though it was hundreds of miles away from me, I could stretch my invisible long hands toward it and hug it by saying “Thank you Lord for the beautiful 3 D art.”
I heard much about this village since I was a child but this time I went to this village not because of the village itself but because of what was in the village. My friend Pukar took me to a small Tamang Budhist village where there was a cluster of a dozen houses having a Buddhist flag sticking up in the middle of the village showing who is the center of the village. At the edge of the village, looking over the mountains were small attached houses. In one of those houses there dwelt a small family that I heard much about it. It was the mother Sita of this house that constrained me to come in this village.
Five years ago, Sita and her family were like any villagers in the village. They worshipped their traditional religion-Hindu and Buddhists gods and goddesses. Her husband drank, smoke as the culture and religion gave license to do it. Her two daughters and a son went to the village school just like any children. They had goats that were tended seven days a week. Life seemed to be as normal as any villager there was. Name of Jesus was shunned by this family as most other do. For out of 660 million gods and goddesses, why would they need Jesus who is treated as a foreign God anyway?
Then one day thing happened that made u-turn of their life.
Sita got little infection in her right finger. She tried to treat it locally as any person do. But the little infection showed its ugly face as she had to go to the Dhulikhel hospital to do a small surgery. Sita came home after the surgery, but something happened after a few days. She experienced poison being shooting out of that surgeried finger into her entire palm making it stiff and unmovable. The poison spread into her right arm making it paralyzed slowly. Terrorized by never be able to use her hand for daily chores of cooking, taking care of family and goats and spreading her loving arms toward the children, she went to the state of depression. The loving husband tried to do what he could to soothe her, the children tried to comfort her, the neighbors tried to cast pity on her. She spent days and months crying and crying and sleepless.
“Offer chickens to gods and goddesses” her neighbors suggested. So she did. “Go to the shamans, witch doctors.” So she followed their advice. Over 50 chickens were offered, lots of not-have money were spend on trying to appease the witch doctors, gods and goddesses. They took her surviving income away but not her disease. She went to one doctor after another, one hospital after another. “You have to cut your arm, if you want to live” was the 20th century doctors advice she received from the hospitals.
Heavily discouraged, she knew she came to the end of her rope of life. Her husband was (and still is) the truck driver for a village merchant with not much salary. On top of that the smoking and drinking had made his pocket with more holes. Sita knew she was dying as the pain terrorized her body.
Then one day.
Someone told her, “Why not go to the church?”
Church that she knew in the village was not a building with imposing sign of the cross but a small company led by a man who was healed from mental torture that he had for several years. This man too had gone through all kinds of treatment and not finding relief, he finally went to Banepa where the mission hospital was there. He worked as a porter in a village and went to the church on Sabbath. With much prayer and fellowship, he got healed and now he became a formidable believer in Jesus. But only one who eats an orange would know its taste, not many in the village had the taste of Jesus. So he had a small company in his home where they met every Sabbath.
Someone suggesting Sita to go to the church seemed to be her last hope of survival. She talked with her husband. He said, “Well, if going to church will do any good, you go, but when you go don’t stop going there. I and our children will not go to the church.” That was fine approval. Her schooled girls said the same thing, “Mom, you go to the church, we will not go.”
So doggedly, she went to the room where a small group of believers were having Sabbath service. She was welcomed whole heartedly. There was no image of gods and goddesses. Her mind was full of images of gods and goddesses and witch doctors and modern doctors. As she started to attend the fellowship, she knew all those things had to be emptied out of her heart and mind. She sat in the middle and the believers began to pray for her. Within a couple of Sabbath, she was able to sleep restfully for the first time in several months. As she started to go to church, her dead fingers of right palms started to be revived and she was able to move them. Then the arm began to move slowly. Within a few months, she experienced the healing touch of Jesus and she was able to move her arms. Miracle outstated the black magic and witch doctors! Her joy returned and told around her healing to her village friends and relatives. Flood of tears rolled down from their eyes they listened to her.
“Hey! What is in the church that made my wife healed?" The question ran like missiles in her husband’s mind. Then the man who abused his body through deadly habit, went to the fellowship with intention just to peep into it. That first peep was powerful enough to peep more till all his wrong habit being thrown out and joined his wife in believing Jesus. Then the holy temptation to see what is in the church gripped her eldest daughter, then to the second daughter, then to the small boy.
Yes, today, I found they were one of the most committed believers of Jesus I ever found. They are so strong in wanting to follow the teaching of the Bible that even the goats take rest on Sabbath. They stay in their manger and eat the foliage and grass that were brought by the end of Thursday. Sita’s daughters Sunita and Sarita are leading a small church now. Because of Sita’s testimony over a dozen accepted Jesus. Sunita,the high school graduate wants to go to Spicer to study theology. The young daughter, Sarita who is in tenth grade wants to do the same. “Because of my mother’s hands we came to love Jesus.” Sunita and Sarita have been proudly testifying to the churches and other occasions.
“I can leave my family, but never Jesus.” Said Sita as the tears rolled down on this scribe. “I want nothing but my family be remaining strong and true to Jesus.” She added. Uneducated, she does not know how to read and write. But she listens to AWR radio program voiced by Pr. Umesh Kumar Pokherel. She feels enriched in Jesus as she listens to it.
Sita is a proof that the faith lies not in the great learning but in the heart.
Presently, I took a firebrand retired Korean Church pastor who has been helping to build the church there. The land was bought by the personal money from the man who go healed in the church. The loving and committed Adventists from the
should of course, get credit for spreading its light to this and surrounding
villages. The hospital itself might be in the rocky position due to the
personals who have valued mixed up, but the light of God’s love it has been
transmitting will not be clouded out. Banepa
How much the dream of the Mother Sita to make her children and community continue to grow strong in knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ is yet to be seen by those who like to bear one another’s burden (Gal 6:1).
Sita displaying her healed hand as she shares her testimony
Sita her daughter Sarita,Sunita and cousin Anita who lead the church service
Ran Bahadur shows the land for the church
Imposing Himalayas over the sea of mountains viewed from Dapcha
It was time for this scribe to have a new day pack. So he went around shopping in the town. He prayed, “Lord, you know I need a new day pack.” “I know” God seemed to reply. Anyway he went for the window shopping. Of course, there were many inexpensive but soon to be worn out bags in the market. Then he got into a shop that sold strong bags and suitcases. He liked the one and asked the price. As soon as he heard the price, he nearly got electrocuted. The shop keeper said, “Rs. 8000 or $80”. Saying “Thanks” he walked out and deciding to decide not to buy a bag for time being.
Then one day his Spicer professor’s daughter with her husband, sister and friends came to visit
Nepal. He went
to Banepa church with them in their hotel van. He took them briskly to the much
talked about city of Bhaktapur after the church service in Banepa. It was
evening when the trip was over. As this scribe was saying good bye, his Spicer
friend Sally pulled out something from the car and handed over to him. It was
the day pack! He asked her, “How did you know, I needed a bag?” “The Holy
Spirit told me” was the quick reply. Not only that she gave him some warm socks
that made his Christmas present for him and his family.
“You walk with Me, I will walk with you” How can a person misses out this loving and tenderly words of Jesus?
“I am looking for someone who can write a series of life of teaching of Jesus Christ in my e-newspaper, will you be interested to write? You won’t get any money of course.” Said the human right activist and the Hindu editor and author to this scribe. “Wow!” this scribe thought. “People spend so much money to spread out the Good News about Jesus. And here I got to do it without any cost except my time.” “I will think about it.” He said to the editor. “Please consider it to write. I like your ideas” requested the editor.
This scribe has been virtually swimming in own solitude world. His mind is like the restless sea lamenting like Apostle Paul having no like minded (Philip 2:20) to share what goes on in his mind. Burdened to produce many materials to feed the sheep and lambs as Apostle Peter requested the church, he had hardly time to produce food for the goats. Yet, goats too are God’s creatures. So after much prayer and skeptically, he wrote to first article on Jesus and sent to him. He liked it and published it in his secular e-news (www.enepalikhabar.com). The feed back from the first article was from a Bhramin person “I like the article, please continue to write so that we can know more about the religion of Jesus.” The editor requested to write the articles in both in English and in Nepali so that both language group could read them. It has been several weeks since he started to write. A militant Hindu protested him, “Why are you giving space to Bhaju Ram in your newspaper?” The editor replied, “I am a journalist. I give space to every body including you.” Interestingly this man has been writing article against Christians in the same newspaper. This scribe wrote four issues on Birth of Christ. He wrote the article on why Nepali politicians are having problem. He wrote on Daniel two to address the issue. Every thing he writes the editor publishes. Unfortunately he is still the NSL (Nepali as a second language) and EFL (English as a fourth language) student. So he had to pray that the reader would wink at the dissonance English and Nepali in articles. Due to the deadline and several things, he had to write the article in hurry several times giving no chance to the second person to correct the languages.
He got the press ID card as a columnist so that he could go to people in all walks of life as a reporter. The latest article: Jesus gets lost:
Neither the freedom of conscious is constitutionalized nor the production of Sabbath School lesson is institutionalized, yet both Patronized by God, this scribe produced the first quarter SS lesson on discipleship for 2014 written by Dan Solis. He has bee producing this Bible study guide for the last 8 years purely on faith base. At the end of translation, he comes in tet-a-tet with the Lord saying, “Here I finished it. Now it is your headache. If I don’t get to publish it, I will just make a few photocopies and circulated to the church where I attend.” Since the Lord is the only One who loves complaining, He does seem to mind this scribe’s threat. So far He has been helping through the Adventists who are the most generous of all Christians (EGW),he hopes that that will continue as 2014 moves on and so does his age.
Discipleship Cover Page
Story 5 and final for now:
“Thank you for sending your publications. Because of your materials and the Bible study that I am giving two Nepalese Bhutanese refugees have accepted to be baptized into the
. Please send me more materials”
was the letter from invisible email friend from Missouri (US). 8 years ago when
this scribe’s wife passed away, he hung into the coffin wishing him dead, but
little did he know that what God has for him as Elder Dwight Nelson hugged him
in Andrews University Church, “God has a plan for you in Nepal.” Adventist Church
Final word for now:
Every work I do, every friend I make. I like to be able to say, “Won’t it be wonderful to go to heaven with these people who learned to come to close to Jesus through my passionate work for Him?”