Our newsletter this month highlights some key stories, reports and prayer requests from Nepal + Tibet, followed by a focus piece on the persecuted church. Country update: “Nepal experienced a lot of bad things all at once. Floods, landslides and uprising corona cases made the whole situation in the country very dangerous” -Manav*
These past six months were very dark months for Nepal. Even though the vaccine was introduced here, only few people actually got vaccinated. As the rest of the world was recovering from corona virus, Nepal was getting more cases as each day passed. The expensive corona recovery rooms in hospitals made it harder for people to get better and recover.” -Binita*
The Nepal 2021 floods caused by heavy rains resulted in landslides and flash floods that cost some their lives and many their livelihoods. We can be very thankful for God’s hand over our leaders as many testify of God’s protection from the floods. But the effects and loss from these floods are still strongly felt throughout our communities. “Since we live in a hilly area, The flood didn’t stay for long and didn’t sweep away our homes but the lives of people were made difficult as the crops and food that were planted and ready to be harvested was all wasted and destroyed. Even though our houses were safe, our goats and chickens were taken by the flood and many things in the lifestyle have changed. We had to sleep in wet homes with leaking roofs and they’re hard to repair as the rain was continuous for almost a week. But we stayed hopeful in the Lord and prayed in His name. We didn’t give up worshiping the Lord and praying each day.” – Dhiraj*
In the midst of challenges God has made His grace abound so that there will be sufficiency for good works. The reports are full of incredible testimonies of miracles, healings, and answered prayers. Lahar*: “Many people were healed and got to experience the miracles of Jesus in their life.” Rohit* (34) could speak after losing his voice 5 years ago. Yasoda (24) was going through “insomnia, hysteria, anxiety, depression, and agitation all at the same time”. But through the support of prayer, and loving fellowship, she has found peace and love in Christ. When Miki (26) was diagnosed with blood cancer she put her faith in God for a miracle. “Then, when she went for her monthly check up, the doctor examined her and found no cancer cells in her blood. The doctors were amazed at this because they had run multiple tests to diagnose her which couldn’t have been a mistake. They still checked multiple times to make sure she was healed. And yes, she was.” -Jas*. Osika (37) had a cancerous tumour. When Gyan* shared a testimony of how God healed him, she also believed in healing. “The doctor examined her and there was no longer a tumour in her intestine. The cancer was gone too.” These are some of the many reports of how the Father has drawn His children back to Him through His loving kindness.
The Persecuted Church
Family & Social
Many new believers in our network face opposition and resistance from family members because of their faith and often take refuge in their church fellowship. Many of our pastors have reported being targeted by neighbors who couldn’t tolerate Christians or the presence of churches in their area. Ambika: "the [neighbors] repeatedly threatened us by throwing garbage inside the church compound, cutting the electricity wires, and also littering around the church. This is a common persecution faced by most Christians at the Tibet Border."
Political & Legal
In Myanmar, "Since the coup, our lives are totally changed. As a pastor family, our lives are in more danger than before because in our area, the military targets missionaries and pastors. One of the believers in my church has been detained because we had a prayer meeting at his house. By the grace of God, he was released after three days and he was beaten and tortured because of his faith." - Philip. "One of my friends was accused of a crime he didn’t even commit and his faith i.e. Christianity was taken as a supporting statement to base the accusation." - Daya, Nepal. Many pastors have also been arrested and released the next day more frequently.
In Nepal, Bangladesh and parts of India, radical groups have attacked and destroyed homes and churches. In Bangladesh, people have been beaten for their faith recently. Some of the people being beaten are teachers. One of our partners in Bangladesh and 2 of his coworkers spent three years in prison after being framed for a crime by religious extremists in their village. "A Pastor in Nepal was shot to death by Hindu radicals." - Shalva There is also an ongoing threat against religious minorities in Kashmir that has forced our leaders to be extra vigilant.
A Priority For Harvest Bridge
To remember the persecuted church is to honor the faith of our brothers and sisters; is to remember the narrow gate that is before us all; to carry the cross of our Lord and Savior that some of us share; to rise up in support of those that are persecuted, and heed to the words of Christ to pray for those who persecute. Harvest Bridge prioritizes in actively supporting our leaders and their networks in some of the high-risk environments they live and work in.
- Helping our leaders address the misconceptions of Christianity as a foreign or western religion amongst family members and neighbors.
- Supporting our partners as they provide spiritual, social, financial, and legal support for those who are being persecuted to rebuild their lives and homes.
- Pastor Darpan* proposes building safehouses for those who have to flee persecution in Bangladesh.
- Working with other agencies that can hold governments accountable against discrimination, illegal detainment, threats, and or violence.
- Praying against all works of the enemy in the form of religious extremism, violence, division, and hatred.
In times like these, we are thankful for the great cloud of witnesses we are surrounded by. We are also grateful for the honor of your ongoing support, partnership, and investment in the kingdom