GCI Mission Developer Rod Matthews provided this update on our ministry in the nation of Nepal.
Not long ago the Nepalese government had been targeting Christian pastors who run orphanages—accusing them of teaching Christianity to the children to convert them from Hinduism. Several pastors were arrested and the children in their orphanages removed. Our ministry partner there, Deben Sam, had requested our prayers about this persecution. Last month we were relieved to hear that the government of Nepal had changed and a new alliance between Maoists and the Nepali Congress Party had come to power. The new Prime Minister, Pushpa Karmal Dahal of the Maoist Party, has taken no further action to arrest pastors as before. However, we understand that there is a developing political and social environment against Christianity and all religious conversion. While the three main political parties espouse support for a secular state with religious freedom, each has notable leaders whose personal agenda is for the reinstatement of a Hindu kingdom.
Deben Sam continues to ask for our support through prayers for his ministry through the Himalayan Gospel Church and his work in supporting orphaned children and those whose remaining parent cannot support their children. Each summer, the Himalayan Gospel Church takes a Mobile Bible School (MBS) to the rural villages of this mountainous country (see pictures above). This event, lasting several days, is hosted by a local congregation or Christian group and is a highlight for those who can attend.
This year, with Deben having been unable to travel due to his illness, the MBS was conducted by his brother-in-law, Raju, and the Kathmandu congregation’s Pastor Joseph. So far, seven locations have been served by the MBS and Deben mentioned that if circumstances permit, they will try to fit in another four or five before winter. From these MBS locations, about 12 students will be chosen to attend the Himalayan Bible School in Kathmandu starting in February each year and lasting three months. During that time, intensive classes are held for six days each week, before the students return to their home areas to apply what they have learned in the service of the local church, and in evangelistic efforts in their local areas.