Today’s Himalayan Region Vineyard churches are a product of providential and practical events. Providentially, God had his hand on the intersecting paths of people and events. In the mid 1990s, David Ruis (then pastor of Winnipeg Centre Vineyard) and Noel Isaacs (a fourth generation believer from the Darjeeling area of India) connected and immediately shared a vision for worship music, justice, and compassion becoming foundational values for the Kingdom mission. In early conferences in the region, passionate worship and ministry to the least attracted many who searched for a new paradigm of values in their evangelistic mission to the Nepali people.
In 1995, Noel and his wife Dona were invited to spend three months in Canada to strengthen ties with Winnipeg Centre Vineyard and their leadership. Following this time, the Isaacs were sent out from WCV to Kathmandu, where they spent time sharing food with the poorest of the poor, praying for them, building relationship, and leading them to Christ. The good news of Jesus and His Kingdom powerfully touched people, with many experiencing physical healing, being delivered of demonic oppression, and consequently stepping away from old ways to find new life in Christ.
With a rapidly growing number of believers, the Isaacs planted Kathmandu Vineyard in 1998. In the ensuing years, over 15 other Vineyard churches throughout the Himalayan region have been planted in connection with Kathmandu Vineyard, often as a result of the same model of reaching out to the poor (especially to those who are marginalized as being among the lower caste of society, culture, and religion), dramatic encounters with the Kingdom, and choosing to follow Christ. Most of the leaders of these Vineyards are first generation believers in Jesus.
Practically, the church planting experience of the Isaac family from past generations has envisioned and empowered Noel to pioneer and mentor leaders across the Himalayan region for the last 18 years. The bond with Winnipeg and other supporting partner churches has found resources to help construct church buildings throughout the region and provide ministry support for many of the 20 odd believer communities.
The synergies of Vineyard mission, values, and expression testify to the realities of the inviting and healing message of Christ’s love to the lost and faithful. God’s kingdom has truly advanced over the years and is poised for even greater impact in the Himalayan region. Both the expectation and manifestation of God’s power is an almost daily occurrence in the Himalayas and has become a model for all. The potential for harvest and the advancement of God’s Kingdom is limitless.
~ John Rademaker and Nathan Rieger