Mission Update: Nepal trip postponed

Largely ignored by the English media, the situation in Nepal has deteriorated markedly over the last month to the extent that Tom Curtis in consultation with Neil Anderson of The Sowers Ministry and team members Andrew Rackstraw and Hazel Vinson (Ealing Christian Fellowship) have decided to postpone their October trip. The background to this decision includes a blockade of Kathmandu by the Maoists requiring military and air cover to facilitate the transport of essential supplies into the capital which was lifted after about 6 days with the threat that it would be re-imposed in October. There has been spontaneous rioting in Kathmandu following the assassination of 12 Nepali’s in Iraq which the Government responded with a 2pm curfew, which has also now been lifted. The Maoists have forced the closure of a number of major factories and even the world famous Tree Tops resort in Chitwan National Park which is visited by many Royal and celebrity guests has been forced to close.


Closer to home, our own friends are suffering travel restrictions. TSM’s church in Danghadi in SW Nepal has been forced to close with its Pastor unable to leave the Mission Training Centre (MTC) in Kathmandu. Children of the TSM Kathmandu staff have sometimes been unable to go to School because they were unable to pay the ‘taxes’ levied by Maoists, and more besides!


In early August the Nepali Times reported “the number of Nepalis killed by fellow-Nepalis since the Maoist war began eight years ago crossed the 10,000 mark. The human rights organisation, INSEC, is the only independent organisation counting. But it lists only verified deaths, and there are thousands more undocumented cases. On 28 July, the count reached 9,996. A week later, it was 10,112. Of those killed, 268 are children under 17.


Whilst the team were not primarily concerned for their own safety, they were aware of the attention that they would inevitably bring to the MTC and the risks that would have been incurred by staff and field workers travelling to meet with them. The primary purpose in going was to lead a conference in Pokhara which would have attracted much attention, both welcome and unwelcome. On a personal note, the team are sad they will be missing Solomon and Sangita’s wedding on 10th October. Having known Solomon since 1998 and standing with him in prayer first for his church and then for a wife, Tom & Andrew particularly wanted to be there.


Please pray for the wedding, for TSM and for all our brothers and sisters in that beautiful but troubled land.


Tom Curtis, 13/09/2004

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