is the ministry activities of Pastor Reuben and 40 other Church leaders around Nepal.
Reuben Rai interview in UK Magazine
In many ways 37 year old Reuben Rai Tanklal is much like any other football fan around the world – he has started his own team and wants to see them playing at the highest level possible.
But, Reuben lives in Kathmandu, Nepal and his team are christians – part of a 0.5 per cent religious minority – and the target for his Church Boys United is a place in the Nepali Premier League.
It is a huge task for a team who have no ground of their own, very little equipment, kits or footballs, and no top quality coach. However Reuben is no stranger to hardship and opposition, as he explained.
“I was born into a devout Hindu family and worshiped over 3,000 gods – sometimes I think there are more gods than people in Nepal. We worshipped trees, rivers, stones, images of idols, and sacrificed animals, but the more we worshipped the more there seemed to be demanded of us.
“There was no peace. But one day someone shared the good news of Jesus with us. In Hinduism god came to destroy sinners but the news of Christianity was that Jesus came to save sinners. Our household decided to accept Jesus as our saviour but our relatives rejected us as untouchable and many would not even allow us into their home.
“I was 16 when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and personal Saviour and soon felt the call to ministry, joining Emmanuel Bible College in, Kota, India, but it was not easy. While preaching one day I was beaten half dead and finished up with an eardrum broken and bleeding.
“I worked as a short term missionary in Bhutan but while my love of my own country took me back to Nepal it was no easier to be a christian there and I was imprisoned in 1998.”
Through all this Reuben’s love of football ran alongside his desire to evangelise and it was no surprise to see the two passions eventually come together.
“I started playing football in front of my house in bare feet, often bruised and cut from the broken glass lying around, with a ball made of socks filled with plastic. We had no money for footballs or boots,” he continued.
Although he entered the ministry ten years ago as an assistant pastor, and began his own church two years later with just his wife Rita, daughter Rosanna (4), baby Reuel, and just FOUR members, Reuben now overseas 16 churches and is looking to open a Bible School this year.
Despite that he never failed to find time for his football first as a player then, three years ago, came Church Boys United. Church Boys is an all embracing Foundation that seeks to use sport to bring harmony amongst communities and to provide an all important channel for the gospel to be shared.
Reuben has established cup competitions in Kathmandu like The Christmas Peace Cup, in memory of those martyred in civil conflict, and The Gospel Challenge Cup and the immediate aim for his own club is to develop the Church Boys United team and see them become the first christian team in the Nepali B Division – and eventually claim a place in the top flight.
The FA are partnering with the Nepalese FA, former Spurs, Chelsea and Rangers defender Graham Roberts is their National Coach, and it has already been possible to get some equipment, kits and footballs out to Reuben from FA headquartters thanks to the assistance of Manchester restraunter Chandra Kumar, of The Great Kathmandu Restaurant, who offered to take it out to Kathmandu with his own goods when he visited Nepal in March.
However, there is still a lot to do and though he may be short of much needed assistance, financially and physically, faith and determination are present in abundance.
For further information check out the Church Boys United Foundation on the internet.
Andrew Halloway, Editor
GOOD NEWS Newspaper
PO Box 9831