A delegation of high-ranking Nepali politicians and officials, including their government minister charged with overseeing their peace and reconstruction process, are visiting Ireland. This group includes those who have made the most significant contribution to the peace process in Nepal. Their study visit is designed to help them make further progress through contacts with key groups north and south of the border, and it is being facilitated by Joe Campbell, an Irish Presbyterian who works with the United Mission to Nepal.
PCI hosted a dinner for this group and we affirmed that, as a church which has had a serious interest in the development of community life in Nepal, we wish to support these influential men in their important work. The conflict in Nepal has been brutal. Over 14,000 people have lost their lives in the violence, and the leaders of the major parties are struggling to form a government. The issues surrounding victims and those whose families have been destroyed by the violence is very important. The parallels with Northern Ireland are clear. But in our conversation together we realised that both Nepal and Northern Ireland have some way to go.
That’s why men like Joe Campbell are so important. Their skills in helping people work together are increasingly valuable in our world of conflict. Working from a Christian perspective, they allow the key notes of the Gospel to inform and inspire us as we try to live with people who are different from us.
Joe was telling me about how he had taught a group of Nepali pastors some key principles about forgiveness and reconciliation. After the conference, one of the pastors asked his colleague to go with him to visit his sister. They travelled on his motorcycle for three hours and when the pastor arrived at his sister’s house he knocked the door, not knowing what kind of reception he would receive. But, as his colleague looked on, he apologised to his sister, and she responded by hugging him. The pastor’s friend prayed for both of them as they stood together on the doorstep. For Joe, this is the kind of response which inspires and encourages him in his work.
We need to pray for all those who work at different levels in Nepal. The Christian church in Nepal is growing very quickly, but it needs support and help. We are so grateful to all from this part of the world who have contributed to the welfare of our Nepali friends.