Nepal – A Nation in Crisis

Dear Friends,

As the winter season is finally beginning to come to an end, I can feel a shift in the air. But it's not a change of natural seasons that is stirring these days; it is a stirring of the political climate here in Nepal. This month I want to fill you in on as much of the political turmoil we are facing here in Nepal as possible. I don't intend to be "alarmist" in any way, but do want to be honest about the state of this Nation. I feel that it is a crucial time for us all to get on our knees before the throne of God and to plead for Nepal.

Over the last 10 years Nepal has been a country in crisis.
There has been a civil war resulting in a huge loss of life brewing through the remote parts of the county for over a decade now – with a fight for governmental control as the focal point. 2 years ago the people overturned the standing Monarchy and kicked the King out of the palace, stripping him of his crown, and of all authority. From that point many thought they had found the solution to their problems. However, it seems to have only gotten worse.

Now the fight for control lies between the interim government that was put in place at the time the King lost his throne, and the Maoist (Communist) party. Right now an election is planned for April 10, however over the last several weeks we have seen one activist group after another threaten to dismantle the elections "at any cost". The country is red hot with violence and war seemingly only days or weeks away. Formerly the war was played out almost entirely in the villages and jungles of Nepal's mountainous regions and plains. Almost none of the fighting actually took place within the Kathmandu valley, and the capital city actually remained rather peaceful. However over the last 2 years the Maoist party has infiltrated itself into the city and now has just as much control here as do the government's military groups.

SO, you may be wondering… what does this all mean, and how does it affect all of us here? For one, because of the location of the city, which is completely surrounded by the Himalayan mountains (the highest mountain range on Earth) and with hardly any passable roads leading through them, it is very easy for people to choke off the city's supply lines from India. Almost all of Nepal's resources such as petroleum for vehicles, cooking gas, vegetables, food, etc. are brought in overland from India. As of today, however, the main road (and pretty much the only road that is used) coming from India has been blocked off indefinitely. The intention of groups fighting throughout the nation is to "choke off the supply line into the capital city" until the demands of the people are met. Already we are feeling the affects very severely. Our electricity is turned off 8 hours every day, with a plan to go up to 11 and maybe even 17 by March. There is little to no cooking gas available. In America that may sound strange, but almost every Nepali household uses gas or kerosene stoves with which to cook their food. I already know several families that haven't been able to find gas cylinders and thus haven't been cooking for weeks already. There are lines of cars, buses, motorcycles, etc. over 1,000 cars long at each of the petrol stations around the city waiting to receive even just a couple of liters of gas at a price that has double from 40rps per liter to over 80 since August! Drinking water is not available either. Several times a week I can hear huge crowds of people rushing the water trucks as they pass by outside my window to deliver tanks of water to homes of people who can afford it. It is mass chaos as people are literally pushing each other down just to fill up a couple of small buckets of water for all of their families needs… bathing, drinking, cooking, laundry, etc…

So, please pray for the nation of Nepal! I know that all throughout scripture God warned nations of his judgment and allowed for a time of mercy. Recently there have been a lot of words prophesied over this country that God is calling for the church of Nepal to WAKE UP! The pastors and leaders of this country need to have the eyes of their hearts opened so that they can be aware of the desperate state that they are in. There is a very small window of opportunity for the people to come together and come against the spirit of disunity and pride that seems to saturate the leaders of the Nepali church. It is time. I look all around me at the blatant worship of idols, the false gods and think daily of how jealous God is over Nepal. I know that God's mercy triumphs over judgment, but, if you miss the window of opportunity there comes a time when judgment is the only answer. Pray with me that this is not the case for the people here! For me personally: I feel a great sense of expectation. The feeling I have is that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. But God's word also tells us that we are to be the salt and the light of the earth! When nations crumble and crisis surrounds us – we are the answer the people will be looking for. It will only be found in Jesus. So please continue to pray for my strength and that God will continue to draw me into His glorious presence. I want to find my hiding place in Him and Him only!

Thank you once again for all of your love and support. I will keep you updated on the situation here in Nepal.

Brook Birch                                     

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