Introduction / History No longer will your name be Jacob, the man told him, but Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have prevailed. Gen. 32:28, NET. The book of Genesis tells us that Jacob become Israel, the father of God’s people, in this way. He struggled with God himself and was tested, but he left the conflict strengthened and ready to fulfill his destiny. Israel, therefore, means "he who strives with God." Thousands of years later, another people would be known as wrestlers – Mal people in Nepal. Mal is a shortened form of a Sanskrit phrase that can mean wrestler or soldier.
What are their lives like? Maithili is the primary language of Mal people in Nepal. Most are agricultural laborers with no land of their own, although they are also known for being watchmen or gatekeepers.
What are their beliefs? Every Mal is a Hindu and this people group celebrates its own festivals. Their form of Hinduism has become tied to the Mal identity. Hinduism is the ancient religion of India. Hinduism is a catch-all phrase for the local religions of India and Nepal, so it is very diverse. At the popular level Hindus worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians or Jews.
What are their needs? An ample supply of Christian resources has been available to them, but the Mal have a low literacy level, so the gospel must be presented orally. Audio and film presentations are available. Piercing intercessory prayer is needed to break through the spiritual barriers that keep the Mal people from the blessings of Jesus Christ.
Prayer Points There are no known believers among the Mal people in Nepal. Pray for growth in both numbers and spiritual maturity. Pray that the Mal, the "wrestlers," will soon have an opportunity to be confronted by the true and living God. Pray that they, like Jacob, will persevere in faith and find their true purpose as children of God. Pray that God will give the Mal dreams and visions leading them to Jesus Christ. Pray that the community leaders among them will come to Jesus Christ and lead the others to salvation. Pray for Mal believers to disciple others who will in turn disciple others.