More than two years after an earthquake flattened the Nepali village of Richet, most residents are still living in makeshift shelters. Only the church has been rebuilt — paid for by Christian missionaries whose influence in the mainly Hindu country is growing.
Despite strict laws that ban religious conversion, Christianity has spread rapidly over the last two decades in Nepal, where many see it as an escape from the deeply entrenched caste system.
The Himalayan nation was ruled by a Hindu monarchy for over two centuries until the overthrow of the monarchy in 2008 and also has a strong Buddhist tradition, particularly in the mountainous north.
But the remote Lapa Valley where Richet is located is now predominantly Christian.
Many residents are recent converts to the faith, among them Rika Tamang, who became a Christian after his mother fell ill and the family struggled to pay…
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