Right from the start, I am struck by the contrast between Bangladesh that I have just left and Nepal that I am now discovering. First of all, the landscape of the two countries: Bangladesh is quite flat, whereas Nepal is marked by the presence of the majestic chain of the Himalayas on its territory. Economically, life is very different: Nepal is much richer, probably because of the flow of tourists attracted by the possibilities offered by its great mountains. The capital, Kathmandu, for example, is often the starting point for trekking expeditions. In Bangladesh, tourism is practically unknown. Furthermore, daily life in Nepal seems to have more liberty than in Bangladesh.
In 2006, a group of young Nepalese came to Kolkata, in India to take part in the large meeting that Taizé organized there. When they got home, on two occasions, the young people let a beautiful prayer at the Assumption parish in Kathmandu. Even before the Kolkata meeting, one of the Taizé brothers living in Bangladesh had been to Nepal several times, to visit the various Christian communities there. Because I was following these previous visits, I very quickly grasped the joy that people showed when they heard that that I simply wanted to visit the Christians of Nepal. My stay there was once again an opportunity for visits and exchanges, starting with the young people who had taken part in the meeting in Kolkata.
What strikes me very much in Nepal is the vitality of the Christian communities there. In just a few years, the number of Christians has greatly increased. You can feel everywhere the great fervour of the faith and you discover a complementarily in the gifts of each of the churches present. The Catholic Church, for example, offers excellent schools that often have possibilities for boarders. Some of the Protestant Churches are especially involved in the filed of evangelization. Everywhere, you can see new small Christian communities springing up, where prayer and singing have an important place.
On 2 February, during my stay, around sixty people, mainly young, met for prayer at the Assumption Church, Kathmandu. There had been song practices for several days beforehand. It was a very simple prayer, borne by beautiful songs in Nepali. Many people expressed their gratitude and their joy for the fact that it was possible to have such a prayer in Kathmandu. It enabled them to meet together, as young Christians, to get to know each other better, and to discover new ways forward for their life of faith. For them it was important that in Nepal it is possible to visit one another, to go towards those who are different from us, and to share about what mark our daily life, with its moments of joy, and also sometimes its trials.