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Living Boldly for Christ

Hanna Tamang continues faithfully walking with Jesus after being raised by Christian parents in a Hindu-dominant culture
  • June 21, 2022

By Jamie Janosz

Growing up in Nepal, where Hinduism is the dominant religion, Hanna Tamang realized at a young age that her belief in Jesus was highly unusual—and deeply discouraged.

“What we believed was very different from those around us,” Hannah explained. “In Nepal, I remember always being told not to sing Christian songs or they’d kick me out of school. As a child, I didn’t understand persecution. I wasn’t aware of how much we were a minority. But even children were told to denounce our faith. We could come to school as a child but not as a Christian child. We were forced to live two different lives.”

Now a student at Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago, Hanna was raised in a Christian home in Nepal, a small mountainous country between India and China. She is the oldest of three children. Her father is the dean of students at a Bible school. Her mother is a homemaker and supports her dad’s work as well.

Photo caption: Hanna Tamang is now a student at Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago. Photo by Lawrence Bohlin

'I wanted to know Jesus for me'

Most people in Nepal are Hindu (approximately 81 percent), followed by Buddhist (9 percent), but Hanna’s family broke that mold as Christians (1.4 percent). While her parents wanted her and her siblings to follow Jesus, they encouraged them to choose God for themselves.

“I grew up in a culture where your parents dictate everything you do and you don’t want to contradict them,” Hanna said. “I wanted to know Jesus for me so that if others didn’t follow Jesus, I still would.” 

When Hanna was 18, she remembers making a firm decision not just to believe in Jesus but to dedicate her life to serving Him.

Serving on missionary ship

“Shortly afterward I was asked by a missionary with Operation Mobilization to go with them and to serve on their ships,” Hannah said. “I never thought I would leave the mountains, never thought it would be a possibility. Suddenly I was en route to 24 countries through Logos Hope, and now I’ve been to 41 countries in all.”

Operation Mobilization is an evangelistic ministry founded by Moody alum George Verwer that uses “gospel ships” to reach the world for Jesus. Operation Mobilization’s ships remain in each port for several weeks and open a “floating bookshop” filled with Christian literature to tens of thousands of visitors. Since 1970, the ships have averaged almost one million visitors per year. While in port, missionary workers like Hanna leave the ship to serve with local churches, sharing the hope and love of God.

“Everything I saw and experienced was a huge contrast to my life,” she said.

Hanna was overwhelmed by the new sights and sounds and cultures as the ship went from port to port. “I didn’t realize how much was outside of Nepal,” Hannah said. “But I also began to see how much people needed the gospel. I discovered that even in the most privileged countries many were deprived of faith in Jesus.”

'You have to go to Moody!'

It was while serving on the ship that Hanna first learned about Moody Bible Institute.

“Every time George Verwer would visit the ship, he would invite the Nepalese and Indian missionaries to gather because he had a burden to reach those countries for Christ,” Hanna said. Every time Hanna met Verwer, he would tell her, “You have to go to Moody!”

Hanna had never considered enrolling in college but slowly began to change her mind. After serving on the boat for two years and in ministry for an additional year, Hanna applied to Moody Bible Institute.

“I never thought I would get accepted,” she said. “I hadn’t gone to school for five years after high school. So to attend school in America?! I thought it was not possible. Then one day I got an email with my acceptance, and the next thing you knew I was packing my bags!”

Hanna enrolled at Moody as a TESOL major [Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages]. She loved her time at the Chicago campus.

“I loved the simple things, sunshine in the plaza, student chapels, friendships, and the endless opportunities to learn from gifted professors,” Hanna said.

Training to be foreign diplomat

After graduating from Moody in 2017 she returned to Nepal. For the next three years, she served with a ministry aimed at reaching and equipping vulnerable Nepalese women. But her ministry training was not yet complete.

“One day a pastor messaged me and told me about a faith-based program that trained foreign diplomats, ADF International,” Hanna said. “If accepted, I could learn how to represent Nepal in the legal world and how to advocate for Christians in my country.”

This August, Hanna will complete a four-month program culminating with an onsite workshop in Bangkok, Thailand. The program is raising up the next generation of international leaders who will speak on behalf of God’s people across the world. In addition, Hanna also returned to Moody Theological Seminary for graduate school, where she is preparing not only to serve as a foreign diplomat but also as a teacher and missionary to Nepal.

Hanna is grateful for the role Moody has played in training her to serve God. “It is important to always have the foundation in Christ and the Bible,” Hanna said. “At Moody, I have learned to unapologetically live out my faith and no matter where I go and what I do, I will be grounded in Christ.”

About the Author

Jamie Janosz is managing editor of Today in the Word and content strategy manager for Moody's Marketing Communications department.