Missionary set free in Nepal
Gospel for Asia native missionary Manja Tamang has been released from a Nepali prison after serving 9 years of a 20-year sentence. Manja was imprisoned in 2000 after being falsely accused of murder.
He was freed along with 13 others in his prison, and 120 others from jails around the country. His release was the cause of celebration among Christians in Nepal and was praised by Gospel for Asia (GFA) founder and president KP Yohannan.
‘We rejoice that our faithful brother has been released from prison,’ said Dr Yohannan. ‘But even in prison, our dear brother was preaching the gospel and bringing people to Christ. Whatever happened was used by the Lord to bring even more people to him’, he added.
Manja’s saga began when he saw a dead body in a river and contacted the police. An anti-Christian extremist group seized the opportunity to stop his work. They arranged for several false witnesses to testify against him, framing him for the murder. Manja was arrested, charged with the crime and nearly beaten to death.
Even though the widow of the deceased testified to Manja’s innocence, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His case was appealed all the way to the Nepali Supreme Court, where it was upheld.
At the time, Nepal was officially a Hindu kingdom and Christians were routinely and officially persecuted. Under today’s secular government, Christians have more legal freedom to worship openly, although Hindu extremists have attacked Christian pastors and have threatened Christian leaders.
During his term, Manja shared the gospel with the other prisoners. He led Bible studies and worship services and several men professed faith as a result.
‘Manja’s patience is a lesson for all of us’, said N. Sharma, GFA’s leader in Nepal. ‘Whenever I saw him in prison, he was always smiling. He reminded me often of the Apostle Paul’s own statement from prison “ rejoice in the Lord always”.’
Manja’s wife, Rati, was equally as strong, completing her studies at a GFA-affiliated Bible college and carrying on with her husband’s ministry. Manja was reunited with Rati and their two children.