Couple Ministering to Children in Nepal Imprisoned, Charged with Forced Conversion

Monday, May 2, 2005

Ministry Leader Calls Christians To Pray For Their Release

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

CARLILE, WYOMING (ANS) -- A married couple who run two children’s homes in Nepal were imprisoned on April 27, charged with forced conversion, according to a ministry report from EquipNepal.

"We don’t know how long the imprisonment will be (we have heard from 3 days to 3 years) but we know that their faith in Christ is strong and that they are in His hands," says Jan Viren, President and Executive Director of the Carlile, Wyoming-based EquipNepal.

The man is Indian and his wife is Nepali, Viren says in an e-mail report to ASSIST News Service (ANS).

"For ten years, they have taken in orphans and now take care of 77 in one children’s home in the southern Terai of Nepal and another in northern India with 9 children. They also run a Christian school," Viren said.

"For the past several months, they have been threatened with prison because they run a Christian school and because they teach the children at the children’s home about Jesus," she said.

Viren told ANS that a disgruntled teacher at the school was the initial impetus for the problem, but it eventually escalated into several newspaper articles asking for them to be imprisoned.

After several meetings with some of the Hindu authorities, they were to meet again at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday (April 27).

When Viren called the home on the morning of April 27 (it would be Wednesday evening there), the oldest boy was distraught and told her that Babu and Sabitri were put in prison. He doesn’t know how many days they will be held -- it could be days or even years, she said.

"Our ministry, EquipNepal, runs the child sponsorship program for these children and we also take care of all the funding that comes from outside of Nepal," she explained.

Viren said she wrote to ANS because she "knows the people who receive your news list have strong faith in Christ and that they would join in prayer for Babu and Sabitri to be released, and for the children to have peace and feel safe during this hard time."

Viren asks that we pray for the couple, and also for the 77 children who are very worried about their auntie and uncle -- especially their two boys and an infant who only knows them as her parents.

Pray also for the staff that is left behind to take care of all the duties associated with this situation, and their church family who miss them. Pray also that they will be given favor and released very soon.

EquipNepal links with ministries and missionaries in the kingdom of Nepal to encourage and support their efforts in evangelism, church planting, discipleship, and meeting physical needs.

The EquipNepal website says: "You can support native missions in Nepal by partnering with us to help the poor and orphaned, native churches and evangelists, those who need education, and other native ministries and outreaches. Sponsor a child or an elderly man or woman, providing a loving home, education, medical care, and daily needs, for $25 a month. Please write or call Janis Viren, Executive Director, for more information."

“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and orphaned,” -- Psalm 82:3.

EquipNepal is a ministry of Mission LINK International, Charlottesville, VA.