God’s love in action – a Hindu’s reluctant conversion
How a teenage spy was won over by power of prayer and service
Born into a high-caste Hindu family in Nepal, Grishma Parajuli was hostile to Christianity, believing it was a foreign religion and against his culture. So when some patients at his local leprosy hospital told him – mistakenly – that staff were neglecting patients if they didn’t convert to Christianity, he decided to take action.
Then just a teenager, Parajuli was helping illiterate patients at the Green Pastures Hospital in Pokhara, run by the International Nepal Fellowship, to write letters home and read the letters they received from their families.
“The government officer suggested me to … go as a spy and return and make an application.”
“Some of these people were … saying some of the staff there encouraged them to change their religion, to convert to Christianity. If they converted, they are happy and if they are not converted, they would just give them no treatment and ignore them,” Parajuli told a session of the Church Missionary Society Summer School (NSW and ACT) in Katoomba this week.
“Being a Hindu young man, I was very upset to hear that. I thought I should do something for them, so I went to a government officer and I complained about this.
“The government officer asked me, ‘Do you have an application – a name of these people who are involved?’ I said ‘No, sir’ because I was just there to complain verbally. And the government officer suggested me to go and find out the name of these people – go as a spy and return and make an application.”
So Parajuli made up his mind to join the fellowship group at the hospital – with the intention of investigating this religion and disproving it.
“I read it to find out why it’s against my religion and culture.”
“When they saw me in their fellowship, they gave me a warm welcome. Somebody gave me a New Testament Bible, but I said ‘No, thanks.’ Someone said, ‘No, please accept it – this is our gift; if you read it and believe it, you will be saved. But, still, if you don’t believe, you will get some knowledge out of it, so please read it.’”
“So I took it because I used to hear the rumour [that] this Christianity was something against our culture, something against our religion – and this is not good for us, because it’s foreign religion. So I took it and I read it to find out why it’s against my religion and culture.”
It was in this hostile frame of mind that Parajuli began to read the New Testament the next day.
His search to disprove Christianity confounded him when he came to the Sermon on the Mount. The teachings of Jesus touched his heart.
“If I am to be converted, then I will say clearly, ‘Your God is really God.'”
“Then one of the nurses from that Green Pastures Mission Hospital shared the gospel with me and she asked me, ‘How do you feel, brother?’ I said, ‘I don’t feel anything.’ She said, ‘One thing we can do for you, brother. We can pray for you. It’s up to God’s hand, so we’ll pray for you.’”
At this, Parajuli threw down a challenge, declaring that he would never be converted to this nurse’s faith.
“’If I am to be converted, then I will say clearly, ‘Your God is really God, but I know, I’m sure I will not be converted. I will say God is dead.’ I silenced her.”
“And they prayed. I was looking around. I tried to argue but they were closing their eyes, nodding their heads; I didn’t laugh because I didn’t want to hurt them.”
Yet, despite his defiance, Parajuli continued to attend the hospital fellowship and what he observed finally softened his heart.
“I observed that missionaries and the Christian Nepalese church as well, they are serving these neighbours with humble hearts, hugging them, touching them, washing their things.”
“That touched me – the Christian service, the service of the missionaries, leaving their family, their country, all of the facilities here in an advanced country, coming to the backward country like Nepal, our place, our people, they are serving them. Why?”
Parajuli couldn’t find a logical answer to his question. Finally, he could only put it down to the love of God.
“I became Christian. I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. That was a great day for my life.”
“God came down from heaven to earth to serve us, to die for us. The Bible is the word of God – when I heard that, that became fact – and by the power of God, the Bible, prayer of the saints … I know now there were many who were praying for me.
“The power of the prayer, and power of Christian service, service of the missionaries, all together changed my heart. I became Christian. I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. That was a great day for my life.
“That’s why I urge you, ‘Please do keep sending missionaries to Nepal and countries like Nepal where there are very few churches and very few Christians – we need missionaries.’”
When Parajuli accepted Jesus Christ, he was barely 18 years old, but his family rejected him and threw him out.
“I had to leave home – I began to stay with Christian friends and later I got a small job. At that time, I was a young boy. They compelled me to leave my home and family. I said ‘No, I didn’t want to leave my family, but I didn’t want to leave Jesus Christ.’
“They said ‘No, you cannot do both. You have to choose one – home/family or Jesus.’ Then I finally had to choose to follow Jesus.
“There are many in Nepal like me, suffering for Jesus – there are many people who are persecuted from family, persecuted from government, persecuted from other religious groups; many suffer because they accepted Jesus Christ.”
“There are many in Nepal like me, suffering for Jesus.”
Parajuli today has many years of Christian ministry behind him. He is the senior pastor of Nayagaun church in Pokhara, where he has been serving for more than 30 years with his wife Laxmi. The couple are visiting Australia to speak this month at CMS Summer School meetings in every state.
As well as giving his testimony, Parajuli also spoke about the rapid growth in the church in Nepal. This has continued despite the government introducing restrictions on open evangelism in 2018.
According to current statistics, 75 per cent of Nepalese are Hindu, 15 per cent are Buddhist, 4.5 per cent are Muslim and only 3 per cent of Nepalese are Christians. However, Parajuli said churches all over Nepal are expanding.
Since 1987, when he joined Nayagaun church, it has grown from about 15 people to 1000, including nearly 300 children and upgraded its building four times. It has also planted 11 other churches. He said there was a strong church planting movement in Nepal, leading to a continual growth in numbers.
“We have lots of children in our church and we have lots of young people, teenagers and youth, so that shows a bright future for the church,” he said
“Be ready to face persecution.”
Parajuli attributed this rapid growth to “faithful prayer”. He said persecution had brought the churches together to pray and work together, which also fed into church growth. This “harvest on high”, as he called it, contributed to the extending of the kingdom of God. In fact, the Nepalese church was sending its own missionaries to places where there were no churches and even to countries such as the UK.
“We focus on personal evangelism because now we cannot do the mass evangelism,” he said.
“People can share their faith. They can give their testimony to their friends, neighbours, their coworkers and they can invite people to the church. People come and hear the gospel, and they accept Jesus Christ.”
He said the equality and respect that flowed from God’s love in action had a great impact in Nepal, where there were divisions and discrimination based on caste and gender.
“When they come to the church, we are one in Jesus Christ. We eat from the same bread, we drink from the same cup, we sit together, we hug together; that gives a great impact,” he said.
“Continue to pray for Nepal, for our ministry there because still, there are many people without Christ.”
He concluded that Australian denominations could learn from the Nepalese church about the power of unity as opposition to the gospel increased here.
“Be ready to face persecution,” he urged.
“Be united in the name of Jesus. Work together, pray together. Make the focus on outreach and evangelism.”