Reformed Baptist Minister’s Conference
The 7th Reformed Baptist Minister’s Conference was held on November 14-17 in Pokhara, Nepal. The conference was attended by 200 pastors, most were from various regions of Nepal, but some came from neighboring countries such as India and Bhutan. Many came from long distances on bad roads and buses; one pastor had indicated that he had travelled by bus for almost twenty hours to be at this important conference. The pastors were provided lodging and food at the study center. The meetings were held in the newly constructed Glory Grace Chapel (subsidized by FirstLove Missions).
FirstLove Missions sponsored the conference, and sent Drs. Paul Nelson, Edward Dalcour and John Waldrip to be the main speakers. The subjects taught at the conference were of great value because they were theologically substantive addressing such topics as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the incarnation, proper evangelism, and the dangers of idolatry. Paul Nelson did a most needed series on holiness and sanctification.
Three theological books were translated, published, and distributed to all attendees at the conference: Holiness (J.C. Ryle), Body of Divinity (Thomas Watson) and Biblical Apologetics (Paul Nelson). 1000 copies were printed of each book for further distribution throughout Nepal.
There is a great lack of theological resources in most Third World countries, and Nepal is no exception. Being poorly equipped to adequately affirm and defend the Christian faith, many are subjected to heretical doctrines. It was especially encouraging to see virtually all in attendance taking copious notes of the content of each speaker. The chief purpose and goal of this conference was to equip the pastors with sound theological teaching, so that they will take it back to their churches to educate their people. Preaching the gospel, as well as equipping and training indigenous pastors and church leaders has always characterized FirstLove’s missionary work.
It was also a great joy to visit the recently constructed Grace Library and Theological Research Center. This library is furnished with all the classic theological works, puritan collections, and biblical reference resources. The library was completed in partnership with FirstLove. The director of the study center, Dr. Samuel Rai, is wholly committed to the training of God-called men for the ministry. For over 25 years, he has trained over 1000 Baptist pastors. Currently, there is a class of 25 men that have finished a full ministerial curriculum and are preparing for ordination, so that they can go out and plant new churches.
Grace Bible University has partnered with the study center to provide coursework and study guides for many of the courses. Dr. W. R. Downing’s Biblical Catechism (systematic theology) has been a foundational work for the study center. Samuel Rai has divided it into seven parts, each being translated and printed separately for more efficient study. On the last day of the conference, 28 new students were installed into the study center under the auspices of Grace Bible University.
Another critical component of the study center is the printing press operation (also subsidized by FirstLove). The printing operation consists of two rooms: one room utilizing two printing presses along with binding capabilities, the other room housing 6 high-end photocopying machines. All three conference books were printed here. Many doctrinally sound theological books are being translated, printed and distributed all over Nepal.
The board members of the United Baptist Council of Churches invited us to meet with them regarding our future relationship. The United Baptist Council of Churches is an association of about 350 local and autonomous Baptist churches throughout Nepal. Essentially all adhere to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Samuel Rai is the chairman. They wanted us to continue sponsoring and supplying speakers each year for their Reformed Baptist Minister’s Conference.
It would be remiss if we did not mention the philanthropic work of Samuel’s ministry. From donations all over the world, he has constructed a K-12 grade, English only school for the underprivileged and lower caste children. It currently is attended by 350 students. An orphanage for 40 children is under construction. Further, he founded the Deborah Society to educate young ladies, teach them a trade such as sewing, and give them valuable medical and heath experience. We were privileged to participate in this year’s graduation ceremony.
May God be praised for this wonderful ministry in Nepal. In a non-conversion country (illegal to evangelize), thousands of people are hearing the gospel and under its influence. Hundreds of biblically sound churches have been and are being planted. It is truly a work of revival. Give God all the glory for raising up this man to do His work.