The most recent report from The Center for the Study of Global Christianity lists Nepal as the fastest growing country in the world for Christianity, at a 10.93% annual growth rate. This growth is remarkable considering that the act of proselytizing, or trying to convert someone to Christianity, is punishable by law.
There are records of missionaries bringing Christianity to Nepal as early as 1628. Then the Catholic Capuchin fathers came to Nepal from the Vatican in the 1700s and they were welcomed with open arms. This band of brothers preached the gospel all throughout the Kathmandu valley and many came to Christ. In the late 1700s Nepal was made up of many smaller ‘kingdoms’ which allowed for more freedoms. Then it became unified and the rulers, the Shah Dynasty, kicked all Christians out of the country. This started two centuries where Christianity was banned.
Christian missions began a slow return to Nepal in the 1950s but under the guise of social work, hospitals, and education. The act of preaching the gospel was prohibited, especially if the goal was to convert someone to Christianity, so these missionaries instead helped meet tangible needs which allowed for conversations about Christ.
In the 1990s Nepal officially became a Hindu state which further challenged the work that Christian missionaries were able to do. By 2008, Nepal became a secular state and Christians were overjoyed because they felt some freedom to not be Hindu, however, government surveys at that point were still inaccurate as to the true number of Christians.
Over the last 30 years the church in Nepal has continued to grow despite it being illegal to share the gospel. Pastors and missionaries from other countries continue to be arrested on a regular basis. Despite these challenges, Christianity continues to spread through Nepal faster than any other country in the world, and Christian leaders are determined to share the love of God. ServLife’s Nepal Director Bekharaj shares, “Many people are dying without Christ, so as a believer of Christ, as a follower of Christ, we have a responsibility that God has given us…because Jesus said you are salt and light.”