The St. Louis Central Church has embraced the growing population of Nepalese refugees and last fall helped them organize into the Three Angels Nepalese Seventh-day Adventist Group. Elder Dean Coridan, Iowa-Missouri Conference president, has stated that he believes working with refugees is vital in order for the gospel message to reach the whole world. As refugees learn and understand biblical truths, they will then share them with their friends and family back in their home countries.

The groundwork for forming connections with the Nepali people in St. Louis began some time ago. This effort was expanded as the Iowa-Missouri Conference invited two Bible workers to St. Louis to continue the work through the summer of 2015 in order to foster more interest and further ongoing relations with the Nepalese community. A Nepali team from North Carolina, where a Nepalese church is already established, also came to present a two-week evangelistic series in St. Louis.

The interesting dynamic about the Nepali people is that, unlike Americans who are quite individualistic, they are an organized, group-oriented community, complete with elders and leaders who make decisions for the group, as is the case for various other cultures. Often, the group will submit to whatever decisions are made by the leaders, even if some disagree with the decision.

This elder-driven society sometimes presents real hurdles to overcome in order to proclaim God’s true message to these people. As one person said, “It’s important to reach the elders first in order to reach the rest of the people.” However, if the elders are not satisfied or convinced, they will in turn decide for the people of the entire group not to follow.

This was the reality during the evangelistic meetings that took place last August—starting with strong numbers, but drastically declining at the onset of the second week due to the above reason, with only one or two faithful persons who continued to come. For the team and others who came to give support, it was a disheartening turn of events and was met with much sincere and earnest prayer for God’s intervention.

And He answered! No, it was not a change of heart of the elders, though that prayer and hope remains. However, (Praise be to God!) as one door effectively closes, He will open other doors. Thus He brought forth a family of believers who, though only having attended the last few nights of the meetings, embraced the message with open arms. It was truly amazing to see how God worked in this way.

With these faithful few, the team and supporters met in their home for evening worship through the week. Beautiful and joyous songs of praise followed by prayer, devotion and fellowship were found there each night. Worship truly does begin in the home, even—and especially—for the beginning of a church.

When the weekend came, for the first time in St. Louis, a Nepalese fellowship officially met in the “Upper Room” for Sabbath service and worship at Central Church. We are happy to announce that this Nepalese church, now called Three Angels Nepalese Seventh-day Adventist Group, is meeting at the St. Louis Southside Adventist Church, as it is more centrally located for the membership base.

Please pray that as this new church develops and grows God will pour His Spirit out upon each of its members and also to the surrounding Nepalese community. May it be a beacon of light and hope to the Nepali people here in St. Louis.
Jaimasi! (Nepalese Christian greeting meaning “Christ has the victory!”)

Fred Schlichter is a member of the St. Louis Central Church.