Veterinarian Convert Heals More than Just Animals
NEPAL -- In the country of Nepal, nine out of 10 people have never heard the name of Jesus.
The country is 81 percent Hindu. The official size of Christianity is just 1.4 percent although some believe it's double that.
But one thing is certain: Christianity is growing and at a rate believed to be more than 10 percent a year.
Much of this growth is at the grassroots level, like Kris, a Nepal veterinarian who spreads the word in remote mountain villages while treating goats and buffalos.
Kris grew up Hindu. Like the vast majority of his friends he believed that the reigning king was the reincarnation of a Hindu god. But as a man he felt something was missing.
"I always wondered," Kris said. "God always takes from me. Isn't there a god who will give to me?"
His answer came when his wife became very sick.
"I was told that if I would take her to a church, the people there would pray for her and she would be healed," he said. "It actually happened and I decided to follow Jesus."
Like other new followers of Jesus, Kris began to share his faith as he traveled from village to village to treat sick goats and buffalo which are so important to the villagers.
"God inspired me to go to this remote community. These people need to know Jesus," he said. "There are so many people who don't know God. God has inspired me that they should know him."
But it wasn't easy. Persecution of converts in Nepal is not severe, but according to International Christian Concern, there is "general discrimination" against non-Hindus. The villagers were suspicious.
"The villagers asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'" Kris said. "I told them, I'm a veterinarian. I said, I'm also a Christian.?I want to know what you think about that, and to tell you more about the Christian faith."
"When they heard that they told me, 'Leave our village and never come back.' I turned back and decided to go back home," he said.
As Kris turned to leave, God worked another of his never-ending miracles. The villager who had told him to go home, came running after him.
"He said, 'My water buffalo is struggling to give birth. Please, come and see what is wrong,'" Kris recalled. "He said, 'I made a mistake, I know I hurt you.? I'm sorry.' He said, 'Come stay in our village. We know you are a good man and are helping our community.'"
Kris returned and cared for the animals. He also helped the villagers improve their diet.
"Just eating rice and salt isn't healthy," Kris told them. "Many of their animals were sick. I helped them with clean water, veterinarian services, and by teaching them to plant vegetables. Doing this is a way I can show them God."
The crops impressed the villagers, but the spiritual response was slower.
"It took six years for me to start seeing results," Kris noted. "People received Christ.?The churches started growing.?This year has been very good."
Now the village has its own pastor and congregation.
"When the people accept Jesus, their lifestyle changes. They stop getting drunk; they stop smoking; they stop fighting," he said.
"They also stop going to the temples. They are starting to give a new identity to our community," he said.
Even with the success in this village, Kris knows his work is not yet done. He says there are more mountain villages that need a good veterinarian and need to learn the name of Jesus.
Kris added that recent Nepal earthquakes destroyed the village church and six houses. Many villagers are living in tents while Kris looks for help to rebuild their homes.
But he said the church continues to grow.