Christians Hope for Change in Nepal

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL - At the top of the world in the nation known for Mount Everest, the birth pangs of a new republic.

Protestors clash with police in the capital city of Kathmandu.

They demand that Nepal's royal family immediately vacate the palace.

The violence came after parliament abolished the monarchy that had ruled this asia nation for more than two centuries.

The people of Nepal are no strangers to violence. Maoist communist guerrillas fought a 10-year insurgency against the government until a peace agreement allowed them to join the political process two years ago.

Thousands died during the insurgency, including some members of Nepal's tiny Christian community who were often targeted for opposing atheism and refusing to join the Maoist movement.

We've covered the face of this pastor and we won't reveal his name in order to protect him from retribution.

A Maoist commander came to his church several years ago, demanded that it be closed and then asked,

"It's the scientific age, why are you believing in Jesus? It is not the age for the religious things. You have to go with us and have a gun and fight for the nation," the pastor explained.

His experience wasn't an isolated one. Some Christians residing in small villages report their homes and churches were destroyed by Maoists guerrillas. other believers were killed, including the husband of this woman. She was just 18 at the time.

The Maoists now hold about one-third of the seats in the new parliament.

As they embrace a non-Hindu society, will they and other government leaders allow christianity to spread? Many Christians are hopeful but distrustful because of the atrocities committed against them.

David Aikman, author of the new book "The Delusion of Disbelief" suggests the young republic must allow religious freedom if it expects to move forward.

"Faith is essential to political freedom. You cannot have a constitutional republic if people do not exercise self restraint, if they are not virtuous...

there is no way better to make people virtuous than religious convictions because they are conscious of constraints beyond those of government," he said.

And Christians believe their faith can help create a more prosperous and peaceful nation.

Christianity is spreading here in Nepal.

In central Kathmandu, this church reports it's adding about 15 new members per week. And the Christians aren't just staying within their churches. They're sharing their faith with others around the country.

And those being won to Christ are paying a high price, more so from radical Hindus these days than from Maoists communists.

We'll call this young Christian Joshua. We're also protecting his identity.

Joshua's father--a Hindu priest-- tried to kill him with a knife when he discovered Joshua had become a Christian.

Joshua fled unharmed and was forced to live elsewhere because his father disowned him.

"My father in this world left me but my father in heaven will never leave me, he'll always love me," he said.

And this pastor says Christians in one village grew bolder in their faith after militant Hindus destroyed their church building.

"They make slogan: Christians have to move from this village otherwise we will kill...it was really hard but praise God, God took every care...no one backslide, no one leave Christ, they became very strong believers and they are the ones who are working the village now," he said.

As for young Joshua, he's determined to return to his village to win family members and neighbors to Christ.

He has a message for other aspiring evangelists.

"If you can go into the world and preach the Gospel and what you've received from God, share it with other people who do not know Christ, who have not worshipped Christ," he said. "Whenever the persecution comes in their life, do not be discouraged, just go and ask for strength from God and God will save you, God will guide you in your every difficulties, in every difficult situation and keep very strong faith in God."

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Gary Lane

Gary Lane

CBN News

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