Daniel Subba was born in Taplejung District in East Nepal. Arjun Sapkota, his astute high school teacher, formed Daniel in communist consciousness, and Daniel left school determined to pursue the communist agenda. Because the political philosophy of his country was inhospitable to communist ideas, in 1976, Daniel exported himself to India, a neighboring country where he planned to nurture his commitment to the communist philosophy and further his communist intent.
God had other plans for him.
While residing in India, he worked as a school teacher. During this time, Daniel Subba met an evangelist named Chandra Bahadur who gave him a booklet, "Light of Life," and shared the Gospel with him. Daniel was overwhelmed by a power greater than his own. His journey to growth in Christ was well and truly under way.
In time, Daniel Subba returned to Nepal, his homeland, ready to start a revolution—but not the one he originally had in mind. Rather than helping to shape his communist ideals, his journey into exile formed him for Christ and Christian witness.
Daniel started his first congregational project in Itaari in East Nepal. He understood his calling as that of a messenger of the Good News who was to motivate some of his members to commit themselves to serve as pastors and evangelists.
Daniel told me of the time when he went to a police station to visit his friend, evangelist Chandra Tsapa, who had been arrested and jailed. Wanting to know about the relationship Daniel had with the man in jail, the police inspector asked Daniel why he had come to visit Chandra. When Daniel introduced himself to the police inspector, giving his name and describing his ministry, the inspector was very happy to meet him. "So, you are the man. We have been searching for you. So you have come. Chandra told us you are the one who pays his salary. Well, you are now going into custody with him. You are under arrest." Happily, not many days later, Daniel's case was dismissed by the district court.
At the meeting of the Nepal Baptist Church Council in November 2008, Daniel Subba completed his term as president. He had held this position from 1992-1996, and also since 1998. "What will you be doing after these meetings end?" I asked him. This was Daniel's reply: "I will be visiting some of the members under my pastoral care in the Himalayas area. I will take public transport for a part of the journey. Then, I will travel on foot for two days and, arriving at my destination, I will spend three days preaching and teaching and serving the Lord's Supper."
Through the years, Daniel Subba, pastor of the Itaahari Baptist Church in East Nepal, has learned the difference it makes when God steps into a person's life and starts a spiritual revolution.
Neville Callam is general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. This column first appeared in BWA Connect, the BWA’s newsletter.