Nepal's Political Future Uncertain

July 29, 2008

Indigenous missions trust the sovereignty of God as they continue in their labors.

On May 28, 2008, the monarchy reigning in Nepal for 240 years was abolished. It is now officially declared to be a Federal Democratic Republic. His Majesty, King Gyanendra, now dethroned, was obliged to leave the former Royal Palace on June 11, 2008.

It is uncertain how this turn of events will specifically affect ministries in Nepal assisted by Christian Aid – or how it will affect the small, but growing population of Christians in general.

The new declaration states that Nepal has become an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular and inclusive democratic republic. The fact that Nepal has moved from being the only official Hindu state in the world to being a secular one might indicate that religious freedom is on the horizon. However, since it is the communist party of Nepal (the Maoists) that is responsible for these recent turn of events, it might also be predicted that no religion will be tolerated.

But it is too early to know as there have been no indicators, nor has the new government made any statements one way or another concerning religion.

One of the ministry leaders gave this optimistic outlook: ". . . but the geographical landscape of the country is such that a dictatorship should not last long." Nepal is a remote, landlocked nation, located between India and China, thus requiring interaction with both countries. While the beautiful Himalayan Mountains in the north have drawn tourists for decades, this resource has declined due to recent Maoist conflicts. Hydropower from the rivers running down these mountains is another area of investment potential presently not being utilized. He went on to point out that "the new government is bound to please or appease the international community. Nepal cannot survive without the democratic and western countries it depends upon."

While the political climate may not have a direct impact on the ministries in Nepal (especially in rural areas), there is another force more likely to disturb the relative calm Christians have enjoyed these past few years. Another ministry, located in the capital city of Kathmandu, gave us this view: "The Hindu extremist groups have challenged that they will pay any cost to keep Nepal as a Hindu state. Following the World Hindu Conference in India, the fanatic Hindu groups are working together with determination and resources in this effort. Please do pray for the will of God for this nation."

"All of our hope must be in God. We need your earnest prayers. And no matter what the outcome, our God prevails," is the prayer of one indigenous missionary working through a ministry assisted by Christian Aid.