Nepal is another Agenda1 country. The leader team is made up of some of our experienced Agenda1 leaders from Thailand and Norway and church leaders in Nepal. Agenda1 only works through relationships and we are in Nepal via existing relationships between an Agenda1 church in Norway and church leaders in Nepal.
There were 64 youth leaders from 7 provinces around Nepal. One of the leaders who is part of Agenda1 travels for three days by bus to get to Katmandu for the two-day gathering and then has a three-day bus journey home again. The response we are hearing is that Agenda1 is making a difference to how they think about mission and discipleship among the youth and church congregations.
The fact that many of the youth leaders who come to the gatherings are girls and women is a very healthy sign in a man-dominated society. Raising up and empowering young leaders to take the Gospel to their generation is important for both genders and can give them role models as we have both men and women leading the gatherings and the teaching.
I have just got back from my first trip to an Asian country that it is not safe to name. It was very exciting. What a country of contrasts. I have been met with everything from the huge traffic jams and the very unique driving style to the quiet of the public gardens in the city center and yet another contrast with the hustle and bustle of the old town with its coulourful markets and tiny streets. The local food is very tasty, although I did avoid some of the strongest dishes.
I was not there as a tourist, however. My colleague Svein and I were there to help start Agenda1. Over the last two years we have been working closely with a team of local leaders training them to lead Agenda1. They have travelled for training to other Asian countries where we already have established Agenda1. We have gotten to know each other very well by spending several weeks together and for me, that in itself is a real joy. Hearing their powerful testimonies has been such an inspiration to me too.
The team really is amazing, they have taken time and unpaid leave because they see what Agenda1 can mean for bringing the Gospel to their people. There are all sorts of difficulties for new believers here. The price of following Jesus here is very high. Converts can lose their friends and family, their job and even their home, yet the churches are growing, and people are prepared to pay the price for what Jesus in his parable calls the “pearl of great price.” I am very excited to see how God will use us and Agenda1 here in the coming years.
Wow! That’s all I can think to describe what I have been part of. I just got back from the Agenda1 Asian Summit in Bangkok and what a mind-blowing experience it was. 122 people from ten countries and the aim of the summit was family, spending time together, and hearing one another’s stories of what God is doing in their countries through Agenda1. These stories were truly deep and powerful. We heard of more than 15 000 people choosing to follow Jesus in Cambodia in 2018 and of them being helped into churches where they can grow as disciples of Jesus. We heard about the way Agenda1 is spreading through Thailand and being used by Thai pastors to help them reach their people with the Good News of the Gospel and how the church there is growing.
Each country represented was listened to, encouraged and prayed for. We played together and prayed together and it was such fun. When we worshipped, it felt really powerful, not least because we are not strangers to one another, we are family. One of the huge strengths of Agenda1 is the relationships that are built between people of different nations, denominations and backgrounds. The atmosphere of being in the presence of God during the whole summit was very special. To see for example church leaders from Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia eating lunch together and deepening their relationships was very powerful. For me it was a tiny foretaste of Revelation 7:9 with a great multitude from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages worshipping before the throne.
10 years ago, this month we started a network of churches which wanted to focus on mission and discipleship. And so Agenda1 was born. Where are we ten years on? Agenda1 has grown into an international movement; a family of families spread across ten countries and four continents. Hundreds of churches are part of the family and it just keeps growing!
God has blessed us and used us in the past decade in ways we never could have dreamt of. It is as though he has taken our five small loaves and two fish and used them to feed thousands. We bring what we have to God and he does the rest. It is incredibly exciting and at times challenging too. People come to faith, are discipled and then disciple others. Churches have grown and planted new churches. Leaders are given new hope. We are a growing network, a family that breaks down language and cultural barriers.
Agenda1: Empowering churches to change the world.