On the Road to Peacemaking and Transformation: First ENLACE Nepal Church and Community Project is Inaugurated
Closed to the outside world until the 1950s, Nepal has since experienced decades of political upheaval. Although it sits on the edge of the gorgeous Himalayas and is home to an ancient culture, it is among the poorest countries of the world. A recent earthquake in April 2015 killed thousands and reduced remote villages and world heritage sites to rubble. Billions of dollars have been promised in aid, but due to political infighting, very little of it has been made available to those most in need.
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Midst the political crises and stalled recovery, religious tensions are also coming to the fore. Although the country is predominately Hindu and Buddhist with only a very small Christian population, Christians feel a measure of suspicion. At least one Christian nonprofit office recently has been the target of violence and vandalism.
So it's significant that in this political and religious climate, ENLACE Nepal held its first project inauguration, and the day was characterized by thankfulness and peacemaking. People came together to celebrate building a pedestrian bridge and in the process vast religious and social divides were bridged within the community. Two different political parties as well as other organizations attended the ceremony held within the local Christian church. Political and civic leaders spoke with great esteem toward church leaders and their effort to show love and respect to those in their community. ENLACE Nepal Director Sam Shahu said that everyone on staff was astounded by the results of this very first project. He feels that this is the right road ahead if Christians in Nepal want to demonstrate God's love in this country and see real transformation.
Below is the incredible report made by ENLACE Nepal Church and Community Program Coordinator, Tina Magar, describing the event.
"This was one of the most anticipated events for the Karuna Church and for ENLACE team. Many key leaders from various political parties and community associations in Belganar were asked to come and speak. The meeting began...and almost all the key personnel came on time. The attendants were from the Congress Party (one of the oldest and biggest political parties in Nepal), the National Democratic Party (its main agenda is to make Nepal Hindu nation), local community associations (VDCs), the Head of Tharu Community (one of the most marginalized tribes in Nepal), other local community leaders, the project management team, church leaders and the ENLACE team. Mr. Ghanshyam (one of the social service committee members of Karuna Church) facilitated the meeting. Almost eight of the leaders spoke about the project and the role of the Church in the community. It was impressive to hear everyone sharing their remarks."
“The church is the light of this community, without its contribution the change is impossible.” Resham Chaudhry, Tharu Mahalo (Head of Tharu Tribe).
"The Pastor is always available to talk about the problem and its possible solution in this community. The pastor is a light in this community.” Mr Topendra Neupane, Dang Chairperson of Nepali Congress Party
“The problem was there for many years but it was solved only when church and local community association worked hand in hand. Belganar is known as one of most violent community in Dang but as part of the church along with the community, I am ready to work hard enough to change Belganar’s identity.” Rev. Bikram Chaudhary, Pastor of Karuna Assemblies of God Church, Belganar
The ENLACE team was recognized and appreciated for all the help that we had provided.
Then we all enjoyed lunch together.
All together it was a blessed time."
-Tina Pun Magar
July 31, 2016