Nirmala had fallen in love with a man who drank, smoked, and did many other things she didn’t like. Optimistic, she thought she would be able to change him after they were married.
The two eloped against the wishes of her family, but Nirmala returned home when the marriage ended after only six months.
She still loved him despite his faults and destructive habits, and she felt no one understood her.
“I never used to share what I was going through with anyone,” Nirmala said. "But I expected that somebody should know, even if I didn’t say anything to them.”
One night, as she sat weeping in the rain outside her parents’ home, she remembered her sister talking about Jesus.
Her sister had been very ill, and none of the treatments she received had worked. A neighbor urged the family to take the girl to a nearby Christian church for healing prayer. The family felt out of options, so they agreed despite the fact they were not Christians.
After the church prayed for her, the girl fully and miraculously recovered and began attending church regularly. She soon gave her life to Jesus and talked about Him to her family.
Her parents were unhappy with her new spiritual path, which contradicted the religious views of the family and community. They were even more unhappy when she began bringing other family members to the church.
Nirmala was angry as well.
“I used to beat or kick them and [even] kicked them out of our home,” Nirmala said. “I burned their Bible, too.”
Now, broken and alone, Nirmala prayed to Jesus.
“Then I cried, ‘Jesus, if You really are my savior, if You really are my creator, please help me and show me the way,’” Nirmala said. “’Because people are saying You are the wrong way.’”
God reminded her of a story in which two men were clinging to a mountain, about to fall to their deaths. The first man called out to several gods and goddesses, but none answered, and he fell. The second called out to Jesus, and he was rescued. Nirmala sensed that through this story, Jesus was telling her He is her Savior.
“I feel like I got peace in my heart,” Nirmala said. “The love I was expecting from my husband I found in Jesus Christ.”
Filled with new joy and purpose, Nirmala carried evangelistic tracts and Bibles with her to work. If anyone opened up to her about their problems, she told them about Jesus and gave the items to those who were interested in learning more.
Four months later, her ex-husband showed up asking her to return to him.
“It’s OK that you came back, but now I am a Christian,” Nirmala said.
He replied that he could not be with her if she was a Christian, and he gave her an ultimatum — choose him or Jesus.
Nirmala told him that she wanted both of them, but her husband said it was not possible.
She realized since he had left her once he might leave her again, but she knew without a doubt that Jesus would never leave her. So, she told her husband, “I choose Jesus Christ.”
Her husband left again, but Nirmala held out hope that Jesus might change his heart and bring them back together.
While she waited, she focused her life on discerning God’s purpose for her and growing closer to Him. She prayed for direction and believed God gave her the verse Isaiah 49:6: “I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Her passion for serving God only deepened, so Nirmala took a year to train in missions with Operation Mobilization, a Christian missions agency. The group sent her out to other areas of Nepal where she visited villages and shared the gospel.
Around that time, her husband remarried. Although she was heartbroken, she found guidance in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, which urges all believers to praise God no matter their circumstances. So, she chose to move forward in her faith.
Nirmala studied theology at South India Biblical Seminary, which has a partnership with South Asia Nazarene Bible College and went on to teach theology.
Though she loved what she did, she sensed a calling to missions and often remembered Isaiah 49:6, the verse God had given her earlier.
When she returned to Nepal from India, she spoke about her call with Dilli, the Nepal district superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene. He told her that the church's Eurasia Region was planning a cross-cultural volunteer training in Kathmandu in May 2017 called M+Power.
This regional program identifies Nazarenes across the region who have sensed a calling to cross-cultural service, trains them for ministry, and deploys them to missions fields. Nirmala attended the training, and her call to missions was confirmed.
Today, she serves as a cross-cultural volunteer in the western part of Nepal where she has been leading a child development center established by Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. She also leads a literacy program that helps children, youth, and elderly people learn English and teaches an English class to housewives in the community.
After her second year, Nirmala hopes to serve in missions fields outside of Nepal.