About the People
The Gorkha/Nepalese people live throughout southern Asia. The predominant religion among this people group is Hinduism, but many are also Buddhists. Some are Christians or Muslims. The Gorkha/Nepalese people are divided into more than 50 different sub-ethnic groups, such as the Newars, Thakalis, Rais, Limbus, Tamangs, Magars, and many more. Each group has their own language as well as culture and traditions. The common language spoken among all the groups is Nepali. Some live in the mountains, while others live in the plains.
Nepal is located in the Himalayas, sandwiched between China to the north and India to the south. It is a land of rich geography. The mountainous north has eight of the world’s 10 tallest mountains, including Mount Everest. It contains more than 240 peaks over 20,000 feet. The fertile, humid south is heavily urbanized. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and largest city.
For more than 300 years, Nepal was ruled by a monarchy of the Shah dynasty. However, a decade of civil war with Maoists and weeks of mass protests by all the major political parties led to the election of a constituent assembly in 2008 that voted to abolish the monarchy in favor of a democratic republic.
About the Project
With Nepali ethnic sub-groups spread all over Southern Asia, their needs are quite diverse. But they all share the common plight of being almost entirely without a Gospel witness to point them to Christ. In Nepal itself, the years of civil war made cross-cultural missionary work difficult or impossible. Only recently has Nepal begun to reopen to ministry.
The Gorkha Project has been suspended due to political pressures that finally resulted in denial of missionary visas. However, AFM missionaries left a small but thriving church in Darjeeling, and they continue to mentor its leadership and visit it as they are able.
- Population: 27 million
- Language: Nepali
- Religion: 81% Hindu, 9% Buddhist