A Good Word in Bad Times

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Written by India Gospel Outreach

Categories: Prayer & Praise Testimonies

Tags: phendey

Comments: 0

Evangelist Phendey immediately after his accident and hospitalization.

Praise God for His ability to turn tragedies into victories, to make a way where there is no way, and for His faithful answers to the prayers and sacrifices of IGO friends and supporters.

In October 2022, Prayer & Praise reported on Evangelist Phendey Gurung’s near-fatal motorcycle accident in a remote mountain area of northern Nepal. Evangelists Phendey and his wife, Rodha Lama, serve as a husband-wife team among the Dolpo Tibetan people of Dho Tarap, the world’s highest altitude permanent human settlement at more than 13,000 feet.

Rodha Lama, a native of Nepal, graduated from India Bible College and Seminary in 2008. The school has attracted growing numbers of Nepalese students in recent years. Nepal, officially a Hindu nation, has one of the world’s fastest growing Christian communities. IBC has remained flexible in training men and women of other countries where God is working in unusual ways.

The accident occurred in July 2022. Initially, the doctors gave Phendey only a 5% chance of survival. His injuries were so massive as to seem hopeless. Even his breathing was severely handicapped. It looked like his ministry in this rugged area was over just as it was beginning to bear fruit.

Evangelists Phendey and Rodha could have gone into depression at this traumatic turn of events, but they refused to call it quits or admit defeat. They believed God was bigger than the accident and had bigger things in store. Even their five-year-old daughter, Yeshe, boldly said, “God is going to heal my daddy!”

Phendey continues to receive daily physical therapy at home. By God’s grace, he continues his steady recovery.

The last 19 months have proved to be a long and arduous road for this family, but God is turning this tragedy into victory in ways nobody could have anticipated. In the midst of many painful trials, God has made a way where there was no way. God is healing Phendey even as their daughter said He would. Even more, instead of shrinking their ministry, God has expanded it in the midst of suffering.

This is in answer to the prayers of many people who have interceded for them—perhaps yours. Jesus said we would not escape this world’s tribulations, but to live in hope and assurance that He has already overcome them all (John 16:33). Such promises have sustained Phendey and Rodha and prepared them with expectancy for what happened next.

For six months, the whole family practically lived at the hospital (in Kathmandu, the capital) because Phendey was bedridden and Rodha needed to provide food (not supplied by the hospital) and encouragement. During that time, against all odds, Phendey began to show signs of recovery. Over the next six months of treatment and physical therapy, Phendey gradually regained his ability to breathe on his own as well as to sit up, stand, and navigate with the help of wheelchair and crutches.

Phendey and Rodha were the only Christians in this hospital. Their cheerful attitude through their dependence upon God and God’s faithfulness to them attracted medical personnel, along with other patients who suffered from severe physical handicaps of their own and great depression. It also caught the attention of Phendey’s brother and family who were not believers.

As soon as he could communicate, Phendey frankly told his doctors and other patients how he gave credit to God and to Jesus, the Great Physician. During this time, Phendey and Rodha consistently emphasized the healing power and love of Jesus Christ who strengthened them.

Over the next six months, 18 of these people put their trust in Jesus Christ—people Phendey and Rodha had never met before. This included a man and his wife, Raju and Chanda, along with others who wanted Phendey and Rodha to give them further training so they could go back to their own villages and tell their people about Jesus.

After six months, in 2023, Phendey was released from the hospital to live in a more normal home environment. He continued to receive daily physical therapy and steadily grow in strength and mobility. During this new phase, their home became a center for prayer meetings and discipleship classes for the new believers including Raju and Chanda and their children.

New believers gather in the yard where Phendey gives Bible lessons.

All of them have grown quickly in their new faith and proven to be strong followers of Jesus Christ, with leadership gifts, eager to tell others. To this day, they continue their discipleship studies with Phendey, and also through online classes, to help them grow in faith and familiarity with the Bible and its applications to life.

In time, Raju and Chanda returned to their village and became missionaries to their people. They come from Upper Jajarkot, another remote part of Nepal, which is more than 99% Hindu. Only about 0.2% consider themselves Christian. This area includes about 1,200 families that have access to online communication. Until now, this village never had any sustained exposure to the gospel. Phendey and Rodha are providing regular online Bible studies to these people.

One of those attracted to the gospel message was Raju’s own father, a witch doctor, and his uncle, also a witch doctor. In their culture, a witch doctor has great influence. A witch doctor who comes to Christ can influence many others in the community to also commit their lives to Christ.

One of two new fellowships started in Upper Jajarkot by Raju and Chanda, who met Phendey and Rodha in the hospital, came to Christ, and are now taking the gospel back to their own village. They continue to study the Bible online.

These Bible studies are bringing growing numbers of people to Christ and to the beginnings of home fellowships and Bible studies. At least two new fellowships have begun, involving a number of families, being directed by Raju and Chanda with assistance from Phendey and Rodha.

During all of this ministry activity that has resulted since the accident, Phendey and Rodha have never forgotten their original mission field in Dho Tarap. Over the past year, a number of young people from Dho Tarap have become computer literate.

They remember the different ways that Phendey and Rodha have helped them in difficult circumstances and have followed Phendey’s recovery with interest. Phendey and Rodha have regular online contact with them, and they expressed interest in receiving online Bible studies from Phendey and Rodha.

Rodha’s home church is also helping to extend the influence of Phendey and Rodha in other directions. While Dho Tarap and Upper Jajarkot are in northwest Nepal, Rodha’s home church is in east Nepal, in Itahari, a city of about 200,000, near the Indian border. They have provided much moral support for Phendey and Rodha during their trying time, and they share a similar Great Commission vision.

Rodha’s home church has a goal of starting 100 house churches over the next year. They have asked Phendey and Rodha to train them in mission principles, how to become more effective in ministry and accomplish their goal.

In addition to all of this, Rodha regularly opens their home to a number of women and children to whom she has become a friend and mentor as they seek for truth, come to Christ and gain guidance in their new faith.

Evangelists Rodha and Phendey, with daughter Yeshe, after Phendey gained enough strength and mobility to stand on his own.

This makes Phendey and Rodha’s present home in Kathmandu a kind of central headquarters for their ministry work at opposite ends of the country as well as a place for recovery, rehabilitation and family life. Every day is busy with therapy, teaching, prayer and family.

The journey over the last two years has been long and painful but also fruitful. Phendey has made great strides in his recovery. At this writing, he walks short distances on his own with one crutch and is no longer confined to a wheelchair. This is a great improvement over his former helplessness, and he continues to improve daily. But he still has a way to go before he can get back to the rugged life they lived in Dho Tarap.

How they long to get back in full to the ministry with the people of Dho Tarap! At the same time, they thank God for giving them an unexpected ministry above and beyond anything they could have asked or thought. It all began with prayer while Phendey lay helpless and bedridden after a near-fatal accident.

Phendey (with guitar) disciples new believers he met while in the hospital. Rodha mentors the women.

Again, we should mention that much of what has been accomplished in the lives and ministries of Phendey and Rodha is due to the faithful prayers and sacrifices of India Gospel Outreach friends and supporters. Each of you who has shared in their lives and ministries in any way share their reward.

In addition to all these things, Phendey and Rodha are praying that at some time after he has fully recovered, they can go into Tibet and tell their story to Phendey’s Tibetan relatives and friends who have not yet committed their lives and destinies to Jesus Christ.

Pray for Evangelists Phendey and Rodha and their daughter, Yeshe. Pray for Phendey’s full recovery from the accident that almost took his life.

Pray for their return to Dho Tarap and ministry to the unreached Tibetan minority in Nepal to which God has called them.

Pray that all the good things accomplished during their “down” time will continue to bear growing fruit in the days ahead.

Pray that each of our IGO evangelists and church planters will exhibit the Christ-centered resilience needed to bear multiplying fruit whenever they face their own hour of trial.

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