Date: June 4, 2018
Nepal (MNN) – There have been significant changes in Nepal’s recent history which have introduced uncertainty for the nation’s future.
In 2015, the nation declared itself a secular state through a new constitution. It seemed that religious freedom was growing in Nepal. However, earlier this year Nepal also adopted a new law, criminalizing religious conversion. The law is about to go into effect in August.
And another big change just took place last month, as well. On May 17, Nepal’s two communist parties combined, creating the unified Nepal Communist Party (NCP). The (NCP) is reportedly the largest communist party in South Asia and now holds a two-thirds majority in parliament.
One of the chairmen of the new party is current Prime Minister, Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli. Oli served as prime minister previously in 2015-2016.
All of these changes have set Nepal on a new and unknown trajectory. Minority groups like Christians are prayerfully watching how these changes come into effect.
A partner with Asian Access says, “There is a little bit [of] fear in the Church. Right now [the] government is not interfering with the Church. There are other forces actually affecting the church and burning and bombing and actually bringing [fear] to the believers.”
So far, the government has not reacted to these attacks.
On the other hand, he says the government “always talks about the freedom of all religion, but at the same time they’re frightening very strongly.”
NGO’s in particular, both international and local, have felt threatened. The Asian Access partner says the government is watching certain foreign groups very closely.
“They have announced that all the [missionaries] will be watched carefully if they’re engaged in any conversion activity. And if they have found that [they are] illegally doing any of these type of things [they] will be deported and visa will not be renewed anymore.”
Local church leaders are seeking legal counsel to make sure they fully understand the current and upcoming laws on religion.
Asian Access is focused on leadership development within churches in Nepal. The Asian Access partner says that the Christians they work with have been strengthened by Asian Access’s training and the unity it’s brought the Church.
“Asian Access has been a great blessing…. We consider [it] like a gift from the Lord in a time like this. And God has blessed us so much.”
Even though we cannot know what’s ahead for Nepal, God does. And that’s why their partner says to bring these concerns before Him.
“We need your prayer in time like this, [that] we can stand firmly and be more bold and courageous and united.”
Pray also for the Church to stay focused on their mission, and that they would be able to strengthen the Church in remote areas as well. Pray for the encouragement and support and protection of Christians in Nepal. Pray that, no matter what, these believers would be able to serve God well.
And finally, pray for the Church to continue to work in uniform. After the recent church fires and bombings, the local leaders of the Asian Access network met together to try and figure out what had happened and to discuss the current concerns facing the Church.
“We’re working together and praying together and supporting and also comforting each other. That’s what we’re doing. I think this in this kind of situation, we [Christians] have to come together to work together rather than working independently.”