We started going to Nepal in 2015 and found a welcoming network of Christians to work with as we attempted to chronicle the aftermath of the earthquakes that year. Our interests are primarily secular though we are interested in how various theologies impact the economic and ecological entanglements we focus on. This networking has given us access to people and situations we would never experience on our own. They also happen to be some of the world’s nicest people who get along famously with their Hindu and Buddhist brethren. But it’s getting tougher to be Christian in Nepal because of a new law that makes it illegal to convert others to the faith.
This isn’t new, but the law puts a fine point on the issue and makes Christian leaders, as well as members of other minority faiths, increasingly fearful of imprisonment. Having just returned from Nepal I saw firsthand how they are trying to thread the proverbial needle between just preaching and evangelizing. The law also subjects foreigners to deportation with organizations like Save the Children and World Vision reportedly impacted. For more go to https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/october/nepal-criminalizes-conversion-christianity-evangelism-hindu.html .
The dilemma for Christians? Under the new law Christians can’t follow Jesus’s instructions:
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Telling a Christian in Nepal that they can’t spread the Gospel and baptize new believers is like telling Bishop Michael Curry to tone things down a bit. The church is being forced underground…again. Even though the new constitution guarantees freedom of religion.
Why all the fuss about a tiny segment of Nepal’s population? It’s not new. In fact, Hindu nationalists bombed a Roman Catholic Cathedral in the Lalitpur section of Kathmandu in 2008, killing two and wounding a dozen (for more go to: https://wwrn.org/articles/32318/). Meanwhile Nepal’s Christian community continues to flourish.
It is difficult for those of us in the west to appreciate the situation these Christians are in. We have never known what it’s like to be in the minority as Christians, nor to know a government hostile to whatever religion we choose. The foundation of our system of government is based on freedom of religion so when we meet those without it, it leaves us disoriented. Especially when the threat to those we know and care for is so real. It reminds one of what the early Christians in ancient Rome might have experienced.
TheoEco’s roots are with the Christian community in Nepal and we have spent much time documenting their activities. We are however not involved in Church matters and are a secular organization that sees its purpose as researching, documenting, AND assisting. Along these lines we found the best way we can help is to spread the word via our documentary about them and provide financial assistance to those we meet along the way.
If you would like to learn more, we can arrange a screening of our documentary The Flourishing Kathmandu Church, so you can see for yourself (For a sample please view the segment Sunday School on Saturday on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/AYy8djOcsRE ). They are very grateful for prayers and support and are very happy to welcome visitors on Saturday services!
For more just contact us.
Steve Richards, Managing Director, firstname.lastname@example.org