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Despite Nepal’s violation of religious rights, believers have no plans to quit.

By May 26, 2005

Nepal (MNN)–Nepal’s emergency rule was lifted in April, but the king has pursued a political crackdown and gatherings remain banned.

As the Maoist rebels harry from every side trying to depose the king, it’s become an increasingly unstable environment for Christian cross-cultural work.

Interserve’s Executive Director, Doug Van Bronkhorst explains that, “There’s a crossfire. There are two groups competing for power; it’s a civil war and all sorts of people are caught in the middle.”

This corresponds with other reports of national church leaders who’ve been interrogated and beaten by both sides of the conflict.

VanBronkhorst agrees. “Anybody that has to travel to do their work, and I suppose that would apply, say, to a church planter/evangelist kind of person, would definitely have difficulty because travel is often one of the issues.”

While the Interserve team will continue to work, it’s with an increasing risk as trouble escalates. VanBronkhorst says of their staff, “We do pray for their safety. But of course, if that was our first concern, we wouldn’t let them be there at all.”

Without the presence of Christian workers, the 2% of the believers that do exist would be without support. Quitting isn’t an option. “So, we pray that they’ll be able to continue their ministry,” he says, adding they pray especially that their workers “…won’t be hindered by the war, in terms of what they’re doing, and that they’ll continue to have courage and peace, as they deal in the midst of the conflict and the uncertainty. We’re grateful nobody has been hurt yet, or even, as I say, directly threatened.”

Despite persecution and legal and social barriers the number of Nepali churches has grown in 50 years from zero to 3,000 with 500,000 members.

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