Nepal, No. 32 on the World Watch List

The nation of Nepal remained at the No. 32 spot on the 2020 World Watch List from Open Doors USA, which each year ranks 50 countries around the world where Christian persecution is ranked from “high” to “extreme,” putting Nepal in the “very high” category.

The Tide® has worked in Nepal for the past 15 years, broadcasting Gospel programming in the Nepali language since 2004, then offering programs in the Tharu language in 2013, which has allowed the ministry to reach millions more listeners. Director Don Shenk said the ministry’s partners on the ground as well as radio listeners have reported hardships associated with trusting and worshipping Jesus.

“Officially, the people of Nepal have religious freedoms, but the at the same time, anti-conversion language has been written into the Constitution, preventing Christians from sharing their faith in Christ with others,” Shenk said. “This causes some Nepali Christians to live in fear and be very hesitant to talk about their changed outlook on life because of Jesus and the love and grace He offers to all.

We first entered Nepal by producing and airing the weekly program called “Prasasta Jivan,” which means “Abundant Life.” Then about six years ago, added programming in the Tharu language to help make disciples and plant churches among the Tharu people of Nepal. Most of this tribal people group practices an ethnic religion influenced by Hindusim, and less than 0.5% of Tharu people are Christian.

According to Open Doors, “most of the persecution of Christians in Nepal comes from Hindu radical groups whose goal is to return Nepal to a Hindu state. Seen as betraying their ancestors’ faith, Christian converts from Hinduism continue to live under intense pressure, including Nepal’s anti-conversion laws. … (T)he situation for Christians is worsening. And the spiritual climate is becoming increasingly tension-filled. The country’s anti-conversion laws are a significant source of persecution for Christians. Anyone, including Christians, can be falsely accused of converting someone.”