Top of the world: 29,035-foot/8,848-meter Mount Everest, left, and 25,850-foot/7,879-meter Nuptse. (Photo by Jim Nowlin, Mission: Nepal 2008)
Nepal is home to some of the world's most breathtaking and awe-inspiring mountains. In fact, Nepal claims a staggering eight of the world’s 10 highest peaks. It’s no wonder why climbers from every corner of the planet come to make a bid for many of this nation’s Himalayan summits.
In addition to the majestic mountains that make up much of Nepal, the history and culture of this nation are also something very unique to behold.
Nepal was once the world’s only Hindu Kingdom, where Christianity was illegal. However, in 1951 a cabinet form of government was adopted into the monarchy. Further reforms in 1990 established a multi-party democratic system of government within the monarchy. This progress, however, seemed to be short lived, as six years later an insurgency led by Maoist extremists broke out. This gave way to a 10-year civil war between the Maoist insurgents and government militaries resulting in the dissolution of the cabinet and parliament.
In 2006 absolute power was once again assumed by the king. Several weeks of mass protests were followed by months of peace talks between the Maoists and government officials. Finally, in November 2006, a temporary constitution was established. Following an election in April 2008, Nepal declared itself a federal democratic republic. At this time, they are still awaiting a final constitution.
In spite of these recent positive political changes, geographical isolation, difficult terrain and poor infrastructure have been major contributing factors of Nepal’s status as an impoverished nation. It is actually considered one of the world’s poorest. In fact, the average income in Nepal is approximately 1 percent of the average income in the United States. Approximately one-third of the people of Nepal live below the poverty level, surviving on less than the equivalent of US$1 a day.
Nepal faces other challenges as well: Illiteracy is widespread because most children are deprived of schooling opportunities. This makes them vulnerable to a host of evil, including sex trafficking, drug abuse, and even joining radical political or religious groups. The caste system and emphasis on one’s ethnicity adds further challenges to many of Nepal’s citizens. Many different groups comprise the Nepali people. According to Operation World, there are 100 different ethnic groups, consisting of 300 peoples, sub-groups and castes.
In spite of the fact that Nepal is a “secular democracy,” Christians and those interested in converting to Christianity often face opposition and oppression. This comes not only from individual family members, neighbors, employers, and so on, but from the government itself. In fact, it is currently illegal for non-Hindu’s to proselytize. However, many Christians still boldly share the Gospel despite risk of fines, imprisonment or (for expatriates) expulsion.
Location: South Asia. Leader: President Ram Baran Yadav has been president since July 2008. Baburam Bhattarai has been Prime Minister since August 2011. Population: 29,890,686 (2012 CIA World Factbook). Primary Religions: Hindu at 75 percent. Buddhism is a distant second at sixteen percent. Currently, Christians only make up about 2 percent of Nepal’s population.
Where in the world?
Nepal (shaded, above) is located in South Asia bordering India and China. (World Factbook)
- For the many Nepali people who have still not even heard of Jesus Christ. Please pray that God would send more laborers into the field and that He would prepare the hearts of those who are still walking in darkness to hear and receive the Gospel.
- For those Nepalese believers who are presently doing the work for the growth of God's kingdom. May they be bold even in the face of persecution. Please pray that the Lord would give them strength to continue to shine His light, show His love and share His Good News with all the people of Nepal.
- For increased government tolerance and protection of minorities like Christians. Pray that the Lord would raise up leaders who would defend the Christian minority against all types of persecution.
- For the Lord's continued blessing on the work that Climbing For Christ is doing in Nepal with partner ministry SARA (Savior Alone Reaches Asians) Church on the Rock and other church leaders. Please lift up the construction of church buildings and the building of the church body. Also, please pray that God would guard and guide His precious little lambs currently living in the SARA orphanages.
“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”
— Psalm 9:10