Previously the world's only Hindu kingdom, Nepal is home to many diverse cultural groups including Muslims, Buddhists, and animists. Renowned as home of the towering Himalayas, it has two other distinct regions: a foothills region marked by swiftly flowing rivers, and a flat, fertile area in the south. It is bordered by India on three sides and by China to the north.
Nepal is an ancient land of snow-covered peaks and amazing people. Twenty-eight distinct ranges of the Himalayan mountain chain traverse this tiny nation nestled between India and (Tibet) China. Nepal boasts eight of the world's ten highest summits, including Mt. Everest (8,850m).
Current SIM Ministry
SIM works in Nepal in partnership with a mission involved in medical and development work called International Nepal Fellowship (INF). Nepal is one of the poorest and least developed countries, opening the door to great physical and spiritual opportunity. Fewer than half of the adults are literate, and nearly half live below the poverty line. Child mortality is as high as 60% in some regions.
The translation of the Bible into Nepali was completed in 1915. Besides Nepali, the New Testament is now available in six languages, and the New Testament is available in 11 more. Christian literature can now be freely printed and distributed without censorship. Christian broadcasts are little known, but the JESUS film is being widely used.
History of Christianity
Churches indigenous to India worked in Nepal prior to any mission endeavours from Europe. Baptist missionary William Carey produced the Nepali New Testament in 1821. The Church of Scotland established a strong base among the Nepalis and Lepchas at Darjeeling in 1835. Over the next century, Darjeeling played a vital role in facilitating the birth and growth of the church in Nepal, Bhutan, and Assam. The first recorded Nepalis who began to follow Christ were some Kathmandu merchants in Lhasa, Tibet.
When Gurkhas, world-renowned Nepali soldiers, served in the British army in Malaysia, Singapore, and elsewhere, many became Christians, and on their return to Nepal, moved back to remote areas. The church owes much of its origin to a Nepalese army officer, Prem Pradhan, who converted to Christianity in India and returned to Nepal in 1959. His evangelistic activity led to conversions and eight baptisms. Because this was illegal, both he and the converts were imprisoned for nearly five years. More conversions took place through Pradhan while he was in prison, and he continued to share the love and forgiveness of Jesus after his release.
Nepal is part of the Roman Catholic diocese of Patna in India. There were no Catholic parish priests or sisters, but 15 American Jesuit priests came in 1951 at the government's invitation to open a school.
Prior to 1990, believers were routinely imprisoned for having converted others or for evangelising. Official persecution ended with the change in government, but pressure and restrictions continue in many areas, especially where the church is enjoying rapid growth. Churches are increasingly responding to our Lord's commission and taking the Gospel to unreached groups. It is still illegal to proselytise, and in some areas churches also face persecution from the Maoists.
Freedom has opened the doors to a variety of sects and denominations, and Christian literature can now be freely printed and distributed without censorship. Christian broadcasts are little known, but the JESUS film is being widely used.
Please pray for
- growth, spiritual maturity, and faithfulness of believers even if they face opposition.
- lasting peace, political stability, and a just application of religious freedom laws and democracy.
- the church to be protected against error, ethnic divisions, doctrinal disputes, and greed.
- effective witness to the seven million Nepalese people living outside Nepal.
- safety in travel and from armed conflicts.
- wisdom, vision, and clear guidance for the new Nepalese leaders of INF.