In Nepal, a country historically hostile to Christians, Mission ONE’s partner is ministering holistically to the “Cave People” indigenous community. Through the local church, this project is helping the once-homeless indigenous group pursue better lives by helping build homes, establish a local economy through a goat livelihood program, and equip the local church by training their pastors and walking the church through five discipleship trainings over the course of a year.
The Chepang people are an indigenous tribe of about 175 families that live in south-central Nepal. Better known as the “Cave People,” the Chepang community has been homeless for generations, getting their nickname from carving caves in the hillsides for shelter. The Cave People exist at the bottom of the caste system, which still dominates the social fabric in Nepal and is directly correlated to the ability to get good jobs and access social services. As a result, the Chepang people live in extreme poverty, no stranger to sickness, hunger, death, and hopelessness.
Mission ONE’s partner has been serving the Chepang people since 2008, planting a small church, meeting basic needs, and relocating the Cave People from their caves to livable huts in a small village within the Nepalese jungle. Mission ONE started partnering with them in 2020 during the pandemic when their village was unexpectedly wiped out by a flood and the Cave People were desperately trying to live off the land in the dangerous jungle without any shelter. We helped to establish a new village and focused on scaling a farming and goat livelihood program with the aim of allowing the Chepang people to provide for themselves long-term.
Mission ONE’s partner is working side by side with community leaders to launch a livelihood program for community members to breed and raise their own goats. Goats are in high demand in Nepal for their meat and milk and can be sold at the nearby market for a healthy sum. Each partnering family will receive two goats to breed and distribute to other families. In addition to that, our partner will walk the local church through a five-step discipleship process over the course of a year, covering modules on Effective Evangelism, Discipleship, Leadership, Women & Children, and Studying the Bible.
In addition, Mission ONE’s partner is helping start a large farm for the village to grow their own food so they don’t have to rely on outside sources in their remote location.
The impact of the Christian community has already been deeply felt throughout the Chepang community. People are coming to Christ as they see the Lord work and move through His people. Since Mission ONE’s involvement, a second church has been planted on the outskirts of the village, where the majority of the people who live there have not been reached by or connected to the local church. In addition, our partner intentionally and strategically invited the Nepalese government to witness the work we were doing with the Cave People. While the government is notoriously anti- Christian, God has moved the hearts of those government officials and they were inspired by the efforts to empower the Cave People to be more locally sustained. This ultimately led to the government officially recognizing the Cave People as a legal municipality within their region! They have since started making a road to the village, and even funded the construction of homes and a church building! The government is now also invested in the long-term development of the village.
The hope is that God would continue to bless this holistic ministry to the Cave People so that their village can be locally sustained through the farm, the local church would continue to grow, and that this ministry model can be eventually extended to other Nepalese communities in need.
Within six months, 125 families will have one to two goats. In one year those families should have enough goats to sell to the market to begin making a profit.
The two village pastors have already enrolled in a Pastoral training program and begun Bible college through our local partners in Nepal. By 2023, these pastors will graduate and our partners in Nepal will begin training pastors in other communities.