The way the Gospel moves through nations and people groups is often surprising, sometimes astonishing and always a powerful reminder of God’s great plan to reach the world.
Known for its high peaks, Hindu roots and rugged terrain, bordered by China to the north and India to the south, east and west, Nepal used to be one of the most unreached people groups in the world.
That’s no longer the case.
According to the World Christian Database, Nepal has become one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world.
A recent story from NPR covered the rise of Christianity in Nepal and compared the census data from the last 60-70 years and the numbers are astounding. In 1951 there were no Christians listed and in 1961 there were only 458, but by 2001 there were around 102,000–and a decade later that number jumped to more than 375,000. *A number that some think is actually much higher but “inaccurately reported.”
What changed in Nepal? Why the gradual surge in Christianity? It’s hard to say, but the rise in mountain climbing is certainly a factor–as well as recent earthquake relief.
Nepal was not open to foreigners until 1950 when the country made an exception to allow mountain climbers within its borders. The country also shifted from a Hindu nation to a communist republic in recent years. This shift gave way to more religious freedom. It’s still illegal to convert people to Christianity (or any religion other than Hinduism), but the enforcement of these laws have become more relaxed in recent years.
All that to say, God is working, and has been for a long time, to reach the people of Nepal, and we’re beginning to see a tipping point in Christian growth in this previously unreached country.