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When Jyoti Adhikari became a Christian, her husband, who came from a traditional Hindu family, could not stomach the thought. But Adhikari didn't flinch, even though her husband divorced her.

"I have no regrets. I am rejoicing in the Lord," said Adhikari, who looks after her teenage son now. Since her conversion, Adhikari has become a local evangelist, bringing 90 people to faith in this Hindu-majority nation of 27 million sandwiched between India and China along the Tibetan border.

In other cases, new Christians wait years before they are reaccepted into their families. In 1984, Jit Ghale, now a senior pastor, told his parents he wanted to become a Christian. His parents disowned him. He waited four long years before being welcomed back.

In 1999, Uttam Kumar Pariyar, a member of Nepal's now-abolished royal privy council, stunned national leaders when he made public his conversion to Christianity. "They started looking at me like an outcast," said Pariyar. Hostile council members launched a public campaign to oust him.

"I was determined not to give up my faith in the Lord," recalled 64-year-old Pariyar. "But King Birendra did not bother about my conversion and never asked me why I gave up Hindu faith." (The current king is Gyanendra—brother of Birendra, who was assassinated in 2001.)

Last April, Nepal faced a national crisis with growing protests for restoration of democracy. One day, Pariyar handed a personal note to the king, quoting from 1 Peter 5:7–11: "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." Eventually, the king gave up all political power. Maoist rebels and the so-called Seven Party Alliance stopped fighting. Political leaders declared Nepal a secular state—it had been a Hindu state—and ...

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February 2007

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