William Carey, the first missionary to study the language and translate The New Testament into Nepalese, cried out to God to raise up someone from the very north of India to take the Gospel beyond the saddle of the Himalayas. In the early 1900's, Sadhu Sundar Sing had the same vision and prayer. In 1995, Lok Mani Bhandari is the answer to those prayers.
A gold medalist in Taekwondo, son of a powerful political leader, Lok knows the physical restraint of prison cells, But there is no restraint for the gospel he proclaims. Threatened as a young man at gun point by his father to leave his home or denounce Christianity, Lok fled to the forest. The whole mountain was owned by his father. For 21 days, he sat under a tree praying and singing, "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back." Today, 10 years after that traumatic experience, he has a vision to plant 16,000 churches in those mountains, and the anointing of God to accomplish the task.
As a teenager, Lok pursued the life of a political gangster and master of martial arts. In 1983, Finnish missionaries invited him to dinner. He promptly forgot the invitation and retired early after an active day.
"At 9:30 p.m.," said Lok, "something inside of me said 'Wake up, wake up. You have to go to dinner.' I started to get on my bike but it was raining heavily, so I began to walk. No taxis were running because the road was flooded. A tall man with an umbrella appeared and asked to help me find my way. I knocked on the door and the missionary was there waiting for me. He opened the door and invited me in. I asked if my friend could join us and turned around and he was gone. I went inside. They talked about Jesus Christ and gave me a Bible. I became convicted and accepted Jesus as my personal Savior."
Persecution and expulsion from his father's home followed that decision. The missionary left and Lok was never discipled. He read the Bible through Leviticus and became very discouraged that he couldn't live the Christian life. He returned to his old ways of fighting and killing. Because of his father's influence, he had protection and on one occasion was released one day after being imprisoned. Once during this bad period, Lok was riding a motor bike and fell into a ditch unconscious. A taxi driver picked him up and carried him to the hotel room. In the middle of the night, he awoke to see Jesus Christ standing in his room. Lok feared the intense light and knelt to tell Jesus he was sorry.
Jesus said "Lok, do you know where you would go if you died tonight?"
Again Lok confessed saying, "You called me a long time ago. From now on I give my whole self to you. I will serve no other God."
The next day, Lok won the National Taekwondo Tournament and immediately afterward began to preach the gospel everywhere. His father became enraged on hearing the news, and threatened to kill Lok.
"Becoming a Christian in my country is a falling from your social status," says Lok. "You become lower than the lowest caste."
After fleeing his home and spending 21 days on the mountainside, Lok heard the Lord speaking to him directly. He was just 21 years old.
"He came to me face to face and baptized me with the Holy Spirit and power and told me He called me in this place to take the gospel beyond the saddle of the Himalayas to Tibet."
Lok fell down and began speaking in tongues. He had no teacher except the Holy Spirit to interpret the Bible to him, and yet God spoke to him to start a Bible college to train young people to plant churches all over the mountains (1984).
God then told Lok to go down from the mountain and start preaching the gospel. He went to his cousin's house and received food and drink. All day he preached and shared his testimony. The next day he heard about a man dying of cancer and vomiting blood. Someone mockingly challenged, "Look, maybe you can pray to your Jesus Christ."
Lok told the wife, "If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, He will heal you right now. But if you don't, I'm sorry I cannot help you. I am not a healer."
Within 10 minutes, the man woke up and Lok told him about Jesus. "Immediately, he started reading Scriptures," Lok continued, "even though he had never learned to read or write. He's part of the church now and one of my disciples running the church for low caste people."
Lok connected with Campus Crusade for Christ workers and borrowed the JESUS film and equipment and began showing it everywhere. One night 10,000 people gathered. The film was being shown night and day in Pokhara, West Nepal. The police arrested Lok and his father disowned him. After a few months, prison couldn't hold him. All 18 of Lok's fellow prisoners, and the policeman who wanted to kill him, were converted. The prison officials kicked him out of prison.
Following this, Lok met a young man from Campus Crusade who directed Lok to a Bible school in India, where he studied for four years.
During a summer break from school, Lok sneaked into Nepal to preach. While there, Lok's sister was attacked by a demon, the Hindu Snake God. Lok told her that if she would believe in Jesus, her swollen hand and arms would be healed. She did and was healed. She began speaking in tongues and was asked to leave home. For a few months, she stayed at Campus Crusade facilities but soon had no place to go. She became so discouraged that she wanted to commit suicide.
"I brought her to India," said Lok, "and we lived by faith at the Bible school. The person who promised to support me there sent money, but I never received it. I was suffering and one day I had no toothpaste. I began to fast. Through miracles of provision, I started the Katmandu Bible College. Fifty students are registered for the next quarter and the school will soon be accredited. The goal is for 1,000 students."
Lok's story doesn't end with the Bible college. Just as the Lord never gave up on him, he never gave up on his own father. After Lok fasted for 41 days, his father, who had once threatened him with death, asked for his own new life in Jesus Christ. Now, the father is a soul-winner too.
As for that mountain where Lok wrestled with God. His father gave it to Lok, who in turn has set it aside as a place of prayer for all the land beyond the saddle of the Himalayas.