Picking Up the Jagged Pieces
IN Nepal Executive Director Esther Thapa works diligently and creatively to empower at-risk children, women, and communities.
Born into an observant, high-caste Hindu home, Esther Thapa went away to university at the age of 18. One day, she and two classmates ventured into the local town to do some
The path was littered with shards of glass. Esther’s two companions stopped, knelt down, and began picking up the jagged pieces.
Perplexed, Esther asked the girls why they were engaged in such an undignified task. “You have shoes and we have shoes,” the young women replied. “But in this town, many people do not. If they cut their feet, they have no money to go to the hospital.”
The young women, aged 17 and 19, were Christians, and their testimony weighed heavily on Esther.
“These girls were angels for me,” says Esther, looking back. “They were lower caste, poorer than me, and not very educated, and yet they taught me so much. After that, I kept asking myself why I was not more like them.”
The women invited Esther to attend church. At first, Esther found the biblical teachings foreign and hard to understand.
“Slowly, God started speaking to me,” says Esther. “I was able to go do training at a Christian institute and there I learned many things about God. Later, I became a Christian, got baptized, and changed my name from Laxmi to Esther, after Queen Esther in the Bible.”
But when Esther returned home, her strict Hindu family was outraged at her conversion. They banned her from entering the family kitchen and eating with them.
A few months later, Esther was returning home from school when the brake on her jeep failed. The jeep crashed into a wall, and Esther was hospitalized with a serious head injury. A Christian fellowship group in Kathmandu began praying for Esther’s recovery. By extension, they also began praying for Esther’s family. Bathed in prayer, each member of Esther’s family gradually came to accept Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, beginning with Esther’s younger brother, followed by her father,
and finally by her staunchly Hindu mother.
Mercifully, Esther made a full recovery from her injuries. She went on to complete her university studies in Sikkim and returned to Kathmandu where she became involved in a small church. There she met her husband Tirtha Thapa, and the two became involved in full-time Christian ministry.
Those were lean and difficult years. The young couple often went months without paychecks and sometimes had no food on their table. Because Esther is from a slightly lower caste than that of her husband, the couple was ostracized by members of Tirtha’s family who were well connected with the police and the Nepalese Army.
Yet the couple remained true to their faith in Christ and, over the years, the Lord has seen fit to richly bless them. Today Esther and Tirtha have two thriving adult daughters, Shreya and Sradda, and Tirtha has built a successful career overseeing hospitals and other nonprofits as the executive director of Human Development Community Service.
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