Kanchi Tamang, lovingly referred to by all as “Grandma.”

Kanchi Tamang, lovingly referred to by all as “Grandma.”

The 101-Year-Old Prophet

When I asked how old she was, she answered 28. I looked at the translator and smiled, confused. This was the 101-year-old lady we’d seen dancing next to us at church. I knew for a fact she was not 28.

I’d mentioned to the pastor earlier in the week how surprised Jeff and I were to see an elderly woman dance and clap and sing to drums and an electric guitar for an hour-and-a-half with the entire congregation the previous Sunday.

“Yes!” the pastor had said, “She is 101. Her testimony is miraculous. Do you want to meet her? She lives at my house.”

So there we sat two weeks later with the pastor, our translator host dad, and our host mom doting over Kanchi Tamang, the woman everyone calls “Grandma” (who is clearly a tad bit older than 28).

“She is telling you when she was born in Christ,” the pastor explained, “She considers that to be her age. Twenty-eight years ago she accepted Christ when she was 72 years old. Today she is 101.”

We were sitting together in the room the pastor provides for Grandma. For the last two months she has been living there and praying for his congregation. This is what Grandma is known for. She prays day and night, waits for God to tell her where to go next, travels there, and sets up for weeks or months praying for the village, or the church, or anyone who comes to her for prayer, delivering whatever messages she hears from God.

“How does God speak to you?” I asked. Was it a vision? Scripture? Audible? Was it a feeling in her heart? I wondered how she knew for sure it was God, recalling spectacular dreams I’d had after bad Mexican food and anti-malarial medicine.

“Mostly I see the visions,” she answered. “Even yesterday I saw a vision while I was sleeping. I saw a glass shining so bright, like a star, and I could see a person raising his hand and blessing this land.”

She turned to the pastor. “As soon as possible I’d like to share this vision with the church,” she said, and he nodded.

This is her life’s work. For 28 years, she has gone into one district for about a month at a time—sometimes as many as 12 months—visiting different churches, wherever the Lord tells her to go, and prays for the people of the church. She declares things like, “God sent me to pray for the church and to pray for the people here. The Lord told me to go and tell the people of this church how much He loves them, how much He cares about the church and people of this nation.”

A modern day 101-year-old prophet, who considers herself to be 28. I’ll never meet a woman like this again, I thought.

“If the Lord said, tomorrow you go to that church or district and pray for the people there, I will immediately go.”

“But how are you sustained?” I asked.

The pastor was quick to answer, as his church is currently doing this, “Wherever she goes, God provides each and every need for her through the church. Whenever God speaks to her, she shares with the church and the church supports her. If she is already at one church and has a vision to go to another place, the church will send her.”

“Has she ever been scared or threatened?” Jeff asked.

“Never,” she answered, firmly.

“How did she come to know the Lord?” Jeff asked.

The Grandma smiled and her eyes sparkled. We watched about 10 minutes of animated facial expressions and gestures as the grandma rose to her knees speaking with excitement and conviction in Nepali. Then she was back down on the bed, her inflections matching her movements. We leaned in as she got very quiet and low, and then up on her knees again waving her hands in the air and saying, “Hallelujah!” before fluttering and circling like a bird.

We could not wait for the translation, and looked at the pastor like, Tell us! Tell us!

The grandma was very sick, he explained, and she didn’t even know what kind of sickness it was. She had burning headaches, couldn’t eat or drink, and pus was coming out from different parts of her body. It was like she was rotten, dying a little bit daily.

One day, a young man passed by her house. He just said, “Hey Grandma, hallelujah!” That’s all he said. Then he was gone.

As soon as she heard that word, the pastor explained, she felt something touch her heart. She felt so much peace. She began to see again and felt that her whole head was covered with a warm glow. She began to cry and rejoice that she was healed after the word hallelujah—but she had no idea what it meant or why it healed her.

The guy who had said “hallelujah” was not a Christian at the time, the pastor explained. His sister had been sick, and some Christian people from the church had been coming to pray for his sister weekly. He had heard one of the pastors say “hallelujah,” and so when he passed by the old sick grandma’s house, he shouted hallelujah, making fun of her.

On his way back home as he passed the grandma’s house again, and he thought he should probably visit her, though he was afraid she might pull his ear and scold him for making fun of her. But when he approached the Grandma, she said, “Your hallelujah is not a joke, it has healed me!”

The guy was so excited and said to the grandma that day, “Why don’t you and I both go and watch what they really do at that Christian fellowship each week. We’ll find out about this word hallelujah. I’ll help you go, and we’ll do it together.”

When she arrived at the house, everyone was sharing testimonies one by one, and she was nervous. “I am a new person here,” she said, “and I have no idea about this, but I know this healing is something God did in my life. I have no idea who the God is or what the name of the God is.”

The leaders of the fellowship said, “Don’t worry, Grandma, we’ll take care of it. After everyone shares the testimony we are going to tell you about the Christ—what he is, who he is and how much he loves you.”

When the fellowship was over, they told her all about Christ. They said, “See? Jesus has healed you even before you accepted him, but he will give you peace on the inside if you accept him as your savior. He wants to clean your heart with his pure blood, so for that you have to confess your sin, give your life to him, and invite God’s spirit to live inside you.”

She said, “Why not? I can give everything away to him. I don’t need my property or my house, but I do need this God who healed me.”

When she went home that night (the gestures suddenly made sense), she was jumping and dancing. She felt like a bird that was once in a cage but could now fly free with praising and rejoicing.

“From that day until today,” the grandma said, “I never had that illness again. God healed me once and forever.”

She described how that day she also felt like all the dark spirits had separated from her and she was brought to God’s hand. Now she goes every place she can to preach the gospel and share her testimony, praying for all she comes into contact with.

Including us.

And if the blessing of her story wasn’t enough, we accepted her blessing and prayer over our lives, and I burst into tears the moment she touched my shoulder, overcome by God’s presence right there between us.

I am one-third her age exactly, and she has redefined my expectations of what we’re capable of doing for the kingdom at any age.

The church service where we met Grandma for the first time. That’s her dancing on the left!