Agape Europe is the Western European branch of Campus Crusade for Christ International, which has workers in more than 190 countries around the world. One of those countries is the
Himalayan nation of Nepal.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is a landlocked country located in the Himalayan mountain region of South Asia. With an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq. mi) and a population of approximately 27 million, Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and ranks 41st in population. It is bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Nepal is separated from Bangladesh by the narrow Indian Siliguri Corridor. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest city.
The mountainous northern region contains eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha (सगरमाथा) in the Nepali language. More than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft. (6,096 m) above sea level are located in Nepal. The southern Terai region is fertile and humid.
Hinduism is practiced by about 81.3% of Nepalis, the highest percentage of any country. Buddhism is linked historically with Nepal and is practiced by 9% of its people, followed by Islam at 4.4%, Kiratism 3.1%, Christianity 1.4%, and animism 0.4%. A large portion of the population, especially in the hill region, may identify themselves as both Hindu and Buddhist, which can be attributed to the syncretic nature of both faiths in Nepal.
A monarchy ruled Nepal throughout most of its history. In 2008, following a decade-long civil war involving the national communist party as well as weeks of mass protests by all parties demanding political reform, a plan was adopted to establish a federal, multi-party, representative democratic republic. Nepal is currently in the process of writing a new constitution.
Nepal is a developing country with a low-income economy, ranking 145th of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2014. It continues to struggle with high levels of hunger and poverty. Despite these challenges, the country has been making steady progress, with the government making a commitment to graduate the nation from 'least-developed country' status by 2022.
Nepal Campus Crusade for Christ was established in 1976 to help share the Good News of Jesus in that country. Over the years, workers in Nepal have played a leading role in the growth of the Church through their efforts of personal outreach, follow-up support and training in the basics of faith focusing on the values of faith, growth and fruitfulness. Today, after many years of pioneering the movement, Nepal CCC has 18 integrated city teams with staff members serving in more than 50 cities and towns
throughout the country.
In Nepal, building movements among university students is a priority. Staff members eagerly share the Gospel message of hope, forgiveness and meaning for life with young people on campus. Conferences, vacation camps, and story-telling are just some of the ways the staff in Nepal connect with students. In one city, the team began offering English language and web design classes as a way of engaging students and sharing new ideas about the Christian faith while also meeting students’ felt needs.
Large numbers of people continue to be reached through showings of the Jesus Film, with regular screenings taking place around the country. Being able to watch a film in their local language is very attractive for people, many of whom have never had this experience before. A thriving radio outreach program called “Atmik Aviyan” (Spiritual Mission) makes Biblical stories and teaching available to thousands every day.
In many cities, Nepal CCC meets with local business and political leaders to give them a vision for becoming role models of faith in the workplace.
Another important aspect of activities in Nepal is training and sending individual missionary church planters to every part of the country to share the Good News of faith. This often means traveling into remote areas, accessible only on footpaths.
A Courageous Woman for God
The city of Muktinath is a well-known pilgrimage site for Hindus and a challenging place to share the message of Jesus Christ. Recently, a member of a newly planted church led by Mrs. T died unexpectedly. In the Nepalese culture, women are not permitted to attend funerals. However, in this case, Mrs. T was convinced that she should attend the funeral of a fellow follower of Jesus, and she started on her way. Local villagers refused to let her participate and threatened to disturb the entire event. The other new Christians began to pray, seeking wisdom and strength to face a frightening situation. With their support, Mrs. T began speaking to the crowd, sharing a message of hope and salvation from the Bible. At first, listeners protested, but many were interested in what she had to say. In the end, local officials allowed the Christian funeral to take place, and Mrs. T was encouraged to continue boldly proclaiming the message of Jesus.
Currently, a team of approximately 200 itinerant missionaries works tirelessly to reach more people in more villages. Between July 2013-June 2014, they planted nearly 50 new churches, where young Christians receive support and encouragement to grow in faith.
Join us in praying for local staff people like Nawaraj, a leader in student ministry; Mamata, a young woman who loves to talk about Jesus with others; Tara, a member of the national leadership team; Suresh, a faithful intercessor whose family was restored through prayer; and also for the people being touched by the work of our faithful staff and volunteers in Nepal.
Get an inside look at what it's like for Agape FamilyLife Director, Hansjörg Forster, as he lives with his wife and two daughters in Switzerland.
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