Pastor Robert Karthak, an eminent figure in the tapestry of Nepali Christianity: A short Biography

 Pastor Robert Karthak, an eminent figure in the tapestry of Nepali Christianity, peacefully departed this earthly realm in the early hours of the morning, marking the end of a remarkable journey that spanned an impressive 95 years. Born into a devout Christian family on January 10, 1926, in Darjeeling, India, Pastor Robert's life became a testament to unwavering faith, resilience, and a deep commitment to the growth of Christianity in the unique cultural landscape of Nepal.

The transformative chapter of Pastor Robert's life unfolded in 1946 when, at the age of 21, he experienced a profound spiritual conversion that set the course for his life's purpose. Responding to what he believed was a divine call, he dedicated himself to the service of Christ, embarking on a journey that would significantly impact the Christian community in Nepal.

In 1956, a pivotal moment in the history of Nepali Christianity occurred as Pastor Robert, along with a group of 11 individuals, undertook a challenging mission to Kathmandu. At that time, Nepal was closed to the propagation of Christianity, and the mission faced numerous obstacles. However, undeterred by the difficulties, Pastor Robert played a central role in the establishment of Gyaneshwor Church in 1957. This marked a turning point in the growth of the Protestant community in Nepal, laying the foundation for subsequent decades of outreach and ministry.

The socio-political landscape of Nepal during the mid-20th century presented additional challenges for the nascent Christian community. Monarchy and political instability influenced the ability to openly practice and propagate Christianity. Despite these adversities, Pastor Robert's leadership guided the church through these turbulent times. By the 1970s, the church, under his guidance, experienced significant growth, with events such as Christmas celebrations and Easter gatherings held in public spaces becoming vital avenues for outreach, even in the face of legal restrictions.

In 1960, Pastor Robert Karthak pursued theological education in London, enriching his understanding of the Scriptures and theology. This period marked the beginning of his advocacy for indigenous leadership and contextualized ministry, shaping the culture of Gyaneshwor Church. The years that followed saw a resilient commitment to these principles, even as criticism and challenges emerged. Nevertheless, Pastor Robert's influence endured, making him a respected and influential figure in the landscape of Nepali Christianity.

The year 1960 also brought significant personal development as Pastor Robert married Merry Lepcha. Their partnership became integral to the growth of Gyaneshwor Church, with Merry earning acclaim for her leadership and discipline. Together, they shepherded the church through various phases, expanding its size and influence through numerous initiatives and programs that contributed to its impact on the local community.

The ensuing decades saw Pastor Robert Karthak navigating the ever-evolving socio-political landscape of Nepal. His commitment to indigenous leadership and contextualized ministry became even more critical as the country faced new challenges. The 1990s witnessed the introduction of the Toronto Blessing to Nepal under his leadership, a manifestation of the dynamic interplay between global evangelicalism and local practices.

Pastor Robert's tireless dedication extended beyond the borders of Kathmandu as he traveled extensively, assisting in the establishment of new churches and representing the Nepalese Christian community at international forums. Under his visionary leadership, the membership of Gyaneshwor Church surpassed 1,000, and he played a pivotal role in supporting Bethany Ashram, a multifunctional center adjacent to the church.

As Pastor Robert Karthak bids farewell to this world at the venerable age of 95, his legacy remains indelibly imprinted on the canvas of Nepali Christianity. His life, which unfolded from the mid-20th century into the 2020s, serves as a testament not only to personal resilience and unwavering faith but also to the broader narrative of Christianity's journey in the Himalayan nation. As the echoes of his impact reverberate through generations, his departure leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire and shape the future of the Nepali Christian community.