The world is the neighborhood of Bayless Baptist Church in St. Louis. In fact, that world is in the building with Nepali Gospel Church using the facilities on Saturday for their worship.
“This partnership was an unexpected answer to prayer,” Evan Skelton, lead pastor of Bayless, said. “This partnership is a great picture of the diversity in our neighborhood. Many of the congregation of the Nepali church are able to walk to attend the services.”
‘New spirit of love, unity and encouragement’
Bayless has undergone a replant in recent years. “We are still working on it,” Skelton continued, “but, we have a new spirit of love, unity and encouragement here.”
Joshua Prem, pastor of the Nepali Gospel Church, and Tara Rai, missions pastor, said that spirit attracted them to Bayless. “We met the pastor at Bayless,” Rai said, “and we had a good relationship. We worked it out, so that we could worship at Bayless.”
Prem described the Nepali church founding. “We started with 7 families, about 40 people in September 2017,” he said. “We prayed and started reaching out to families from Nepal, and we have grown to about 100. There are more than 3,000 from Nepal here in St. Louis.”
“Because of the culture,” he continued, “we can just show up to the door of our Hindu and Buddhist friends to invite them to events. We also share with them that we are available to help them adjust to the new culture and language. We offer communication aid. If they want help communicating with a school, hospital, or other office, we can help them translate.”
Rai pointed out that prior to COVID-19, they were offering classes to help neighbors learn to read and write. “Now, Pastor Joshua is teaching a class of music on Fridays,” he said.
According to Prem, the congregation plans events that will attract their “Hindu and Buddhist friends so that they can hear the gospel.”
The recent Christmas event attracted a crowd according to Skelton. “The church had students of junior and senior high perform a Christian creative performance,” he said. “They had food and the gospel presented in a Nepali video drama.”
“We always try to include testimonies,” Prem said, “and food. We took food to families that needed it at Christmas.”
The next big event will be in April. “Nepal has its own calendar,” Prem said, “and they celebrate the New Year in April. We will invite several of our Hindu and Buddhist friends for lunch and ask them to celebrate the New Year with us.”
‘Our goal is the same’
“When we first became aware of the Nepali Gospel Church,” Martin Winslow, pastor of missions at Canaan, said, “I looked at all of the beliefs to make sure they lined up with our gospel belief. I didn’t see any difference.”
“The Nepali church is a member of the Missouri Baptist Convention,” Winslow said, “and NAMB has named Joshua a church planter. We want to support them because many of their members are from overseas and must take whatever jobs they can get.”
“Our goal is the same,” he continued, “to share the gospel message to all.