Pray for Tharu

Published on Sep 2nd, 2010 by City North Baptist Church
Pray for Tharu

One of the challenges of the200walk which our own Andrew Carnell is currently taking part in was to adopt a people group who don’t have any translation work happening in their language and to pray for them throughout the course of the walk.

As a church we have adopted the Tharu people of Nepal.  The following are excerpts from the Joshua project website.

The Tharu people live in the Tarai, a narrow strip of land which extends across the southern border of Nepal, next to northeast India. The land is forested and fertile. They have lived quiet, simple lives for four centuries. They are a gentle people. They live in villages in houses plastered inside and out with mud and cow dung, so fine it feels like silky skin. They make almost everything they use themselves, with a touch of art in everything.

Tharu manTheir clothes are colourful and beautifully embroidered; they buy scraps of left-over fabric from the fabric merchant and each woman puts her own dress together in a unique and gorgeous fashion. They wear beautiful jewellery. They make their own clay pots cook stoves, woven baskets and fishing nets that look like butterfly wings. Rice is their staple crop; they also grow corn. The men plough, plant and weave the nets that the women use to fish. They also hunt in the forest that is the backdrop to their neat fields and villages. The women plaster their houses and make the pots and baskets.

There are about 618 000 Tharu and in terms of religion they traditionally worshipped their own animist gods and follow a Bharra (shaman). Besides the Bharra, who treats their diseases, the village headman, bhalamansa, and the Desi-Mahajan – an Indian moneylender, are important people within the village.  However, there has been an increased adherence to Hinduism and now about 97% are Hindus while only 0.42% are Christians.

Unfortunately some of the moneylenders have been able to get control of their land because of their illiteracy, and now many have to pay rent for land that they once owned.  There is increasing pressure to speak Nepali instead of Tharu, and many of the children and men are wearing more western dress. Their traditional houses have no doors, but the new westernised ones do. This is symbolic of the whole pressure to change coming to bear on these people. New schools are coming to the villages, but the classes are taught in Nepali rather than Tharu, and the parents are afraid their children will lose their language and culture.

As a church we can pray for the Tharu of Nepal!

  • For God to raise up missionaries who are called to this region
  • That an evangelical church will be established there
  • That the dominance of Hinduism will be countered with the gospel
  • That a Bible translation work will begin
  • That they will have access to appropriate medical treatment
  • That God will break down the control of the unjust moneylenders
  • That the good aspects of their culture, such as family and community will be preserved

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