SEND Network News
Posted on February 16, 2022 8:00 AM by Oliver Hawkins
In 2008, I was sitting in a church planting class at Southern Seminary and first heard the news that soon over a thousand Bhutanese refugees would be placed
in the Cincinnati area. Terry Sharp, an IMB strategist that works to reach the Diaspora with the gospel, also reported that soon our cities would have people moving in that had lived for many years in seven refugee camps in Nepal.
A year later the Association office received a call asking for help to plant a Bhutanese/Nepali Church. Association Missionary Dennis Holmes, working with Pastor David Smith at Creek Road Baptist, helped Pastor Raj Ghimire start meeting with a handful of people that became Grace Nepali Church.Grace Nepali grew to over 100 in attendance over its first few years of existence. It quickly became evident that the Bhutanese/Nepali population in Greater Cincinnati was growing rapidly with the help of a second migration as thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Nepali people were moving to Cincinnati.
They moved here from Texas, Georgia, Idaho, and New York looking for better opportunity or living conditions. The need to multiply churches to reach this growing population was a must.
In 2016 Grace Nepali sent our Rudra Mishra who became the Pastor of Ephphata Baptist Church our second Nepali Church Plant. Working together with three Associations there are now eight Nepali Churches with three new church plants in the works. Eleven Nepali Churches planted in the past 11 years sounds great, but the need for more churches to reach one of our fastest-growing demographics will take churches raising up leaders and sending them out.
If you live in Springdale, Forest Park, Colerain, Fairfield, Hamilton, or West Chester Areas you probably have neighbors from Nepal. Pray for them, engage with them by inviting them into your home for a meal and pray for an opportunity to share the gospel with them. If you would like to meet one of our Nepali Pastors to learn more about how you can talk to your Nepali neighbors, I can connect you. The Nepali people are loving, friendly people who you will enjoy getting to know.
Pray for the eleven pastors I mentioned as their churches attempt to reach this growing population with the Good News. Your church already has helped with these new church plants through gifts to the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. If you want to get more involved, churches are needed to be Sending or Sponsoring Churches to help these new church plants. Thank you for your partnership!
-- Oliver Hawkins serves as church planting catalyst, NAMB, in the Cincinnati Area.