A church grows in the face of poverty and persecution.

ARTICLE BY BARBARA R. THOMPSONBarbara R. Thompson is a writer living in Decatur, Georgia.

For four-year-old Amit, lying in rags on the floor of a thatched-roof hut in Nepal, the future appeared short and bleak. His mother was dead of tuberculosis. His father wandered village streets, out of his mind. Severely malnourished and infected with glandular tuberculosis, Amit was too weak even to disturb the flies covering his face. Death seemed certain—and kind.

Today Amit is a bright, energetic ten-year-old, flying kites and playing caroms in the shadow of the Himalayas. His favorite subjects are science and art. Gifted with a near-photographic memory, he is the top student in his school. “I want to be a doctor,” says Amit. “I want to serve the sick people of my country.”

Amit is among hundreds of young Nepalese whose lives have been transformed by the work of Ram Sharan Nepal, a 33-year-old Nepalese pastor. With his wife, Meena, Ram provides a home and education to over 150 orphans. He is also a pastor, Bible-school teacher, the supervisor of 96 churches, and the director of a vocational training program for Nepal’s poorest citizens.

These tasks, difficult in any country, are complicated in Nepal by devastating poverty and the antagonism of the ruling class toward Christianity.

The playland for some of the world’s richest tourists, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. Per capita income is $80 a year. One in five children die in the first few weeks of life. Two of three Nepalese live in crippling poverty, their lives contracted by tuberculosis, malnutrition, contaminated water, and lack of medical services.

The poverty of Nepal, the world’s only Hindu kingdom, is reinforced ...

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