The nation of Nepal and the Body of Christ as a whole recently experienced a dual loss due to the COVID pandemic. Pastor Robert Karthak, one of the heroic pioneers that brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Hindu kingdom, passed away at the age of ninety-five, followed just a few days later by his son Samuel who had taken his father’s place as senior pastor of the church upon his retirement a few years ago.
Robert Karthak grew up in a nominal Christian home in the city of Kalimpong in the hill country of northeast India. After a radial conversion experience, he became zealous to share his faith with others – including taking a few short visits in 1950 and the following years to Nepal where he took opportunity to do some personal evangelism in spite of the strict laws prohibiting the practice of any religion other than Hinduism and Buddhism. In 1957, he took the bold step of actually organizing a church when – as some of the Christian pioneers in the country remember – all the believers in the country “could be counted on the fingers of one hand.” The congregation gradually grew in number and influence until the nation experienced an unprecedented spiritual visitation in the latter part of the last century. With the great influx of believers, the building was expanded a number of times and more than a hundred daughter churches were organized.
Teach All Nations’ relationship with Pastor Robert began in 1992 on our first mission to Nepal when Pastor Robert welcomed Delron into the pulpit of Gyaneshwor (the main church) and opened doors for him and the team to minster in all their affiliated congregations – in spite of the fact that they had only recently become acquainted. That relationship grew and deepened over the years as Teach All Nations continued to bring teams to the country each year for the following quarter century.
When a second wave of COVID swept through the country this spring, Pastor Robert’s son was infected and had to be hospitalized with the support of a ventilator. During the time that Samuel’s hospitalization, Pastor Robert also contracted the disease – already vulnerable because of a precious heart condition and his age – quickly succumbed. While the congregation and nation were still grieving the loss of their pioneer leader, Samuel also perished from the virus – leaving a double void in the hearts of the people and the leadership of the faith in the nation.
We ask all the members of the Teach All Nations family to join us in prayer for the Nepali church as they go through this time of loss and transition.