Maoist insurgents kidnapped an entire native missionary team working in Nepal last week, and then released them on Monday, Sept. 27. The missionaries had preached the gospel in one remote mountain village and were on their way to another when they were intercepted by rebel fighters.
"All the time they were in captivity, the missionaries remained in prayer," said the local director of an indigenous mission supported by U.S.-based Christian Aid. "They can see God's hand in all of these events."
For years Maoists have fought to control rural villages of Nepal and worked to keep outsiders away -- particularly Christians. Lately insurgents have been picking up momentum, launching attacks on the capital city. Christian Aid reports that while missionary work has become more hazardous in recent months, native gospel workers continue to spread the gospel.
“Native gospel workers cannot ignore the cry of the lost and continue to evangelize despite danger,” the agency reported. “Pray that peace would come to Nepal so that no more lives would be lost to the Maoist insurgency. Pray that the truth of Christ would continue to spread in this hurting country.”
Since the conflict began in 1996, Insurgent Maoists have been fighting to make Nepal a communist state. More than 9,000 lives have been lost.
The land-locked nation of Nepal between China and India is the world's only officially Hindu nation, with eighty-six percent of the population being Hindu and only 0.6 percent Christian.
Civil unrest in 1990 led to liberalization of government controls, including freedom to profess and practice any religion, but not to proselytize. Proselytization is prohibited.
Members of minority religions occasionally report police harassment. But adherents of the country's many religions generally coexist peacefully and respect all places of worship. Those who convert to other religions may face isolated incidents of violence and sometimes are ostracized socially, but generally they do not fear to admit their affiliations in public.