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Pastoring in Hard Places: Bearing Burdens, Believing in the Call, and Other Lessons From Pastors in Contexts of Poverty, Conflict, and Isolation

On multiple challenges (From Pastor N, Nepal): In my context, witnessing faithfully for the gospel is difficult because it is forbidden by the law. Being a minority religion limits our access to facilities. Also, there is always a stigma that we are propagators of a foreign religion. We face many financial and practical limitations as the church represents a poor and less educated society. One example of this is that we find it hard to invite people into leadership because we cannot support them financially. Instead, they have to get other jobs so they can provide for their families. Although there are times when I want to quit ministry, I am always reminded by the Word of God that I am in the best service possible on earth and that he will provide what we need.

On faith (From Pastor N, Nepal): When my wife and I came back from India, completing my theological education as church planters in 2016, there were many uncertainties before us. My daughter was just one year old and we were both jobless. We arrived in Kathmandu and rented an apartment for ourselves. I started teaching part-time in a bible college to support ourselves. We soon gave time in meeting people, inviting them to our home, house visiting, fellowship, and prayer. By the end of 2016, we had 25 people meeting regularly. As the church grew, we felt the need to move to a bigger facility for the church, but then Covid hit and everything shut down. Still, we have seen many lives transformed during these five years. Many people have come sick and weak to the church, and they have gotten healed when prayed over. Many others have come enslaved to alcohol and have been transformed by the gospel. God is always at work.

On the people of God (From Pastor B, Oman): Shepherding the church through persecution has been one of the hardest parts of leading a church in the Middle East. It leads you to a whole new level of trusting the sovereign reign of God in the lives of your people. We went through a season recently when around half of the members of our church were being called into government offices for interrogation concerning the activity of our church. There was a lot of fear, anxiety, and discouragement. We began to doubt if it was even reasonable for us to continue to meet as a church. But we went back to the scriptures and reminded ourselves of who we are and who God is. I’ve learned to constantly remind our people who we are as a church. We are a pillar and buttress of the truth amidst a culture that is hostile to God and the gospel. When we have this mindset, we expect and prepare ourselves for opposition—and we remind ourselves of who our God is. 


Pastoring and church planting have never been easy. But with the increasing complexity of our world, we would do well to sit at the feet of those leading in hard places. For Bohuš and thousands of other pastors, bearing one another’s burdens and relying fully on the promises of God can often lead them to places of even greater hardship. But they do it because they have a deep desire to make Jesus known. This is our call as well. When the hard times come, I pray we too rise to become leaders who put on display the glory of Christ.