Gospel for Asia has been forced to temporarily close its office in Kathmandu, Nepal, as the Himalayan kingdom has suffered some of its worst violence in decades.

King Gyanendra used increasing force trying to keep control of the nation when it turned against his autocratic rule.

Today, however, the king agreed to restore parliament and re-form a democratic government, so the seven parties allied against him have agreed to call off their violent strikes. The Maosit rebels, however, have rejected the agreement.

“No one is sure what will come next,” said GFA President K.P. Yohannan as he monitored the situation. “But this is definitely a time for all Christians to be in prayer for that nation—and for its believers and churches in particular.”,

Dr. Yohannan shared excerpts from an email he received Monday from GFA’s national leader in Nepal, Narayan Sharma. “Today is the 19th day of the general strike in Nepal, and the whole country is still bleeding,” wrote Narayan. “Most people thought some good would come from King Gyanendra’s royal speech Friday, but instead even common Nepalese have become more violent and are on the streets defying the all-day curfews.

“Last Saturday we had to close our church service in Kathmandu an hour early due to the sudden announcement of the curfew, but so far churches in the villages have not been affected.

“Our Bible college is functioning and our radio programs are still on the air, but our GFA office in Kathmandu has closed due to the situation. Unfortunately, our people are unable to move for ministry purposes due to a long general strike.

“It looks like the whole country is under fire. Hundreds of people have been injured and a few have already died of bullet wounds. Some are still in critical condition in hospitals. “Huge crowds of 200,000 are seen on the streets. People from all walks of life are on the streets shouting slogans against the King and demanding full democracy.

“Despite the bloodshed, we are hopeful something good is waiting. Yesterday on the street I heard someone say, ‘Nothing good comes without sacrifice, even in the spiritual world. In this political struggle there has been enough sacrifice—so let’s wait for the good news!’”

Today the people on the street were celebrating the “good news” that the king was agreeing to democracy. But the shadow of the Maoist rebellion still hangs over the nation. Dr. Yohannan noted that Gospel for Asia has more than 550 native missionaries and over 400 congregations in the mountainous country.

“Let us be in continuous prayer for Brother Narayan, the believers of Nepal, and for the peace of the entire nation,” he urged. “The Christians in Nepal have been caught in the conflict between the king and the Marxist rebels for some time, and God has given them the strength to be a beacon of light in this dark situation. Please pray that He will continue to guard them and strengthen them for whatever lies ahead.”