Nepal (MNN) — For 240 years, Nepal was a Hindu kingdom. The rulers were regarded as incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
In 2001, the Nepalese Royal Massacre took place, in which the heir to the throne murdered nine members of the royal family, including himself. Prince Gyanendra survived and inherited the throne.
In 2006, a popular uprising for democracy ousted the king, and former Maoist rebels were brought into the political mainstream through a peace agreement. As part of that deal, Nepal was declared a secular republic in 2008.
Little else has progressed since then. Multiple efforts to establish a new constitution failed, and growing frustration with the whole process led the political parties of Nepal to agree to today’s Constituent Assembly elections.
A royalist party, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, is pushing for a return to constitutional monarchy. In effect, it’s an effort concentrating on making Nepal a Hindu state once again.
“The Church has been allowed to function. There has been some rioting, there have been some church bombings that have gone on. Most of these bombings are by a small pro-Hindu group that has periodically persecuted the Church.”
Many Nepali Christians look to India where Hindu nationalists have driven Christian persecution and fear that their future in Nepal looks similar. For the VBB team, there’s a significant risk of disruption to their work, says Flint. “So if this increased persecution comes as far as establishing a Hindu state, this could drastically affect the work that we’re doing there in Nepal as far as helping orphans and also establishing safe houses to get more women off the streets.”
The VBB team in Nepal is asking for prayer “that God would supernaturally intervene on behalf of the Church in Nepal [or] there could be great persecution.”
Secondly, Flint urges involvement. As long as believers are praying, they can “learn a little more about what we’re doing in Nepal. They can go to our Web site and…learn about what needs to be prayed for specifically” and how they can help.
According to official figures, there are an estimated 850,000 Christians in just under 9,800 congregations in Nepal. Pray that believers will practice their faith with courage. Pray, too, that despite the lack of freedom to share the hope of faith in Christ, the Lord will give Christians opportunities to evangelize.