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NEPALI CHURCHES SUFFER MANY LOSSES

By MK Henderson

ASSIST News Service

KATHMANDU, NEPAL (ANS) — Flying into Nepal , taking in all of the Himalayan mountain ranges perfect peace and tranquility resonated within me. However, when we landed I felt some anxiety due to the unpredictability of the political situation. Just a few weeks earlier travel to and from the airport had been banned.

Nepal , known as the last Hindu kingdom, a land of gentle, hospitable, simple people has been a nation in turmoil the past ten years. Nepal ’s government, a democratic constitutional monarchy, trying to hold onto democracy has suffered greatly in the past few years.

In June 2001, the royal family was murdered by Prince Depeendra, when he fired several rounds of ammunition into the palace. He then turned the weapon upon himself and died 36 hours later. After his death, his uncle Gyanendra, a businessman, became king by succession.

In 1996, the Maoist rebellion broke out and communism was proposed as the government of the future. During the past decade over 15,000 people have been murdered throughout the countryside, including the chief of police in the capitol city of Kathmandu .

Many Nepalese Christians have suffered greatly as a result of the Maoists uprising. Churches in the villages have little protection from Maoist soldiers who see them as a symbol of American Imperialism. Pastors have been taken into the Maoists prison camps and tortured and many churches have been forced to close.

Sabina proudly shows her beautiful baby girl who was born just days after her father was viciously murdered by Maoists.

A village pastor who had pioneered several churches was brutally murdered as he was returning to Godavari, when the bus he was riding was forced to stop by Maoists welding hand grenades and other explosives. This pastor was instantly killed, leaving his wife Sabina and children to struggle alone. Missionaries depended upon his quick wit and intelligence to translate gospel materials and entire books into the Nepalese language.

Nepal will be having municipal elections February 8th. The prime minister was ousted last year on corruption charges. Since then King Gyanendra has been the sole ruler as he also ousted the parliament. Gyanendra was forced to act quickly as the Maoist infiltration was reaching epidemic proportions. His Royal Nepalese Army came down hard on the Maoists and eventually King Gyanendra was able to bring about a truce with the Maoists for four months. The truce ended January 2, 2006 and now the Maoists are killing again. In mid January skirmishes began between Maoists and security forces in Southern Nepal. Twenty-five people were killed. The Maoists have declared they will target the royal regime and upcoming election.

The Nepali churches believe it was their prayers that brought about the four month truce saying, “The prayer of the righteous man is powerful and effective.”(James 5:16) The Global Day of Prayer for Nepal is April 8-9. An appeal is going out to all churches, individuals and the international Christian community to support Nepal in prayer.

Please join me in remembering our brothers and sisters in Nepal. When I met the widow, Sabina my heart was touched as she proudly showed me her beautiful baby girl who was born just days after her father was viciously murdered by Maoists. Sabina symbolizes the many Nepalese families who have suffered great losses since the 1996 Maoists insurgency began.