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Ministry Hopes Peace Process in Nepal Would Help Mission Teams

As fighting between Nepali government forces and Maoist rebels have ended in a tense-truce, a Christian ministry hopes that the lull in the fighting would mean respite for mission teams already in the
( [email protected] ) May 23, 2006 09:56 PM EDT

As fighting between Nepali government forces and Maoist rebels have ended in a tense-truce, a Christian ministry hopes that the lull in the fighting would mean respite for mission teams already in the predominantly Hindu and Buddhist nation.

"With this resolution that’s come those things are opened back up, so our people are able to do ministry in their locations," said John Kennedy, personnel director for Interserve USA, according to Mission Network News, that often reports about evangelistic activities worldwide.

Last month, rioting had forced the ruling-monarch to reinstate the parliament which was dissolved in 2002, opening the possibility the nation would be ruled by elected officials. Nepali officials afterwards extended an offer for ceasefire to Maoist rebels, which seem to have been largely heeded.

Nonetheless, Maoist rebels detonated another bomb at the house of a Nepali Congress worker, according to a report released by Times of India, breaking up what has been a month-long ceasefire.

A Nepali Maoist leader, asked the existing constitution to be thrown out and the parliament dissolved, and an interim government that would include rebel representatives, before elections can take place, in a Reuters report Tuesday.

Clashes between government troops and communist Maoist rebels over the years have disrupted missionary activity in Nepal.

In 2003, two Nepali missionaries working with Christian Aid were detained and interrogated by Maoist rebels near a mountain village. The men were later released without harm, though rebels warned them to ask permission in the future.

A missionary couple working with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism evacuated from the mission field after Maoist rebels demanded them to hand over money, in 2004.

In April, Gospel for Asia suspended its operations and closed its office in the Nepali capital of Katmandu after Maoist rebels blockaded the city.

Despite the adversity of the situation, Kennedy says that the Nepali church can survive on its own should foreign missionaries be forced out.

Nonetheless, Kennedy adds, foreign missionaries can still offer help while the peace process is happening.

"There's much that western Christian professionals can still provide working alongside of and with some of the new emerging Christian Nepali NGOs," he said in the MNN report, concluding that there is a need "for more workers" whom are "willing to go."