By Shannon Baker
BALTIMORE–Pastor Manoj Shrestha of Nepal Baptist Church of Baltimore and his church members had an original way to reach fellow Nepalese who live and work in the Baltimore-Washington area. The church designed and distributed Nepali-focused calendars to them.
The calendars, intended to pay homage to the Nepali homeland, include beautiful scenes from Nepal as well as Nepal’s holidays and calendar dates, which are different from the Western calendar. (The Nepali new year starts on April 14).
But they also contain God’s Word, simple scriptures printed underneath each photo. A list of Nepalese-speaking churches in Baltimore and metro Washington, D.C., and their respective service times and locations is also included.
“The goal of this project is to hang the Word of God in each Nepali family house, and in case they want to visit a church, provide a nearby church,” explained Shrestha, noting they were careful to not include “a Christian symbol or any Cross” on the calendars because unchurched Nepalese likely wouldn’t use them.
But the message is still there, he said.
For instance, the month of March in the calendar features a photo of Nepal of Machapuchhare, a mountain in the Annapurna Himalayas of north central Nepal. Also known as “Fish Tail Mountain,” Machapuchhare is considered a sacred peak in the Hindu religion, associated with the god Shiva. As such, legend says that no man has ever climbed its peak.
But in the calendar, no attention is given to Shiva. Instead under the photo, which portrays the picturesque peak high above the clouds, is the scripture, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Shrestha believes Bible verses, like this one, will speak to the Nepali families who work and live in the area. So far, about 900 copies have been distributed, including to the office of a Nepal ambassador as well as to the employees of several restaurants. Many they’ve encountered attend Hindu temples.
Shrestha prays the recipients will see the information about the five churches and will become a part of them.
Since this calendar has Nepali dates, he also believes the calendars “will be a very special gift for them.” Just acknowledging the difference in dates will help them feel more at home, he said.