April 26, 2005
|A Web-only photo courtesy of Shirley Wu, Global Ministries
Karuna Bhujel, a United Methodist missionary in Nepal, died April 23 in a motorbike accident.
By Elliott Wright*
YORK (UMNS)—The Rev. Karuna Bhujel, a United Methodist missionary and
native of India, was killed in a motorbike accident on her way to church
in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 23. She was 48.
husband, the Rev. Devi Bahadur Bhujel, also a missionary, and the
couple’s 12-year-old son, Eben, had left for the church earlier. Mrs.
Bhujel was to follow but never arrived. The father and son found her
dead on the street as they returned home following activities at the
motorbike was struck by a truck, and she died immediately, according to
hospital police and autopsy reports provided to Dr. Mark Zimmerman, a
United Methodist missionary on staff at Patan Hospital. Mrs. Bhujel’s
body had been taken to Patan.
great tragedy has happened; Karuna is gone with the Lord," Bhujel said
in an e-mail message to the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries
the next day. "The children and I have lost a great share of our lives."
couple has three children: Eben, and two daughters, Keren, 18, and
Shema, 15. The girls rushed home from boarding school in India upon
receiving the news.
The funeral service was held April 26 in Kathmandu.
Bhujels have worked since 2003 in a new church development mission in
Nepal. Karuna Bhujel was a native of India; her husband is Nepali. They
both studied at Trinity Theological College in Singapore.
have lost a powerful voice for the gospel and for the church in Asia,"
said the Rev. R. Randy Day, top executive of the Board of Global
Ministries. "Karuna Bhujel has done so much excellent work in Nepal."
many decades, Christian ministry in Nepal, a predominantly Hindu
country, was limited to medical services, education and training,
agriculture and community development work. United Methodist
missionaries continue to play major roles through the United Mission to
opening of churches became possible in the early 1990s as a separate
and distinct endeavor from other work. The Bhujels were the first United
Methodist personnel to engage in congregational development. They have
organized 11 local churches. The missionary couple received support from
the United Methodist Pacific Northwest Annual Conference in the United
States. Mrs. Bhujel had planned to visit churches in that area later
Bhujel was a remarkable young Christian woman who was opening up new
avenues of ministry for women in Nepal," said the Rev. ST Kimbrough,
head of the Mission Evangelism Office of the Mission Board. He and the
Rev. David Wu worked with the Bhujels in congregational development in
Bhujel was born in Bhuruch, India. Her grandfather was a Methodist
pastor in Gujarat. In addition to the master of theology degree from
Trinity Theological College, Singapore, she held a bachelor degree in
commerce from Gujarat University and a bachelor degree from Union
Biblical Seminary in India.
and Kathy Griffith, missionaries in residence at the Board of Global
Ministries, expressed the condolences of active and retired missionaries
of the denomination.
was with great sadness that we received the news of Karuna’s death,"
they said in a joint statement. "Karuna and Devi shared a deep
commitment to Christ and a deep desire to make Him known to all. Along
with the active and retired missionary communities, we pray for God’s
comfort, hope and love to be known to Devi and the children in these
days and the days to come."
*Wright is the information officer of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.