Over 200,000 people have heard the gospel and decided to follow Jesus in Tibet, according to church leaders in that region. This profound move of Christ in the staunchly Buddhist area follows closely on the heels of the horrific earthquakes that hit the Tibet/Nepal region last year.
Joe Handley, the president of the Christian organization Asian Access, which works in this region, says “the church has been at the forefront of providing hope and healing in their communities. They haven’t seen Buddhists, Hindus or other religious groups helping in the midst of the rubble. Rather, week after week, it is the followers of Jesus who have proven the test of time, sacrificed their own lives to serve and been the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Handley also brings attention to a particular Tibetan Buddhist lama who gave his life to Christ, became a pastor and has inspired a reported 62 other Buddhist monks to follow Christ as well. This man’s conversion experience, as recounted by Mission Network News, is incredible.
For nearly 30 years this man’s duties involved preparing dead bodies for the next life (reincarnation). But he often wondered if the work he was doing was really helping anyone. After his wife became seriously ill and he tried curing her with traditional Buddhist magic, he began questioning the power of Buddhist traditions as nothing he did seemed to help. The man’s daughter began hanging out with some girls from the Children’s Christian home and perceived a difference in these girls compared with her other friends. After going to church herself, the daughter asked her father to bring her mother to see if they could help.
The man refused repeatedly, but finally became so desperate he went to the church and brought his wife. According to the article, by the time they returned home from the church service, his wife was miraculously recovered. The experience moved the man to accept Jesus and become a Christian.
Although the man will most likely be “under extreme threat” because of his past and his conversion, he is determined to spread the gospel and help start other churches. As he told Handley, his vision is to plant churches all throughout this region.
This story comes to us amidst other rumblings of powerful movements of Christ in this area of Asia, particularly in Nepal, which has become one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world, according to World Christian Database. Tibet, which is technically under the headship of the People’s Republic of China, shares a border with Nepal as well as its spiritual atmosphere, which has been described as dark by many missionaries who have spent any time there.
There are a couple pertinent lessons for the American church from this encouraging report of so many coming to Christ in this region and this former lama’s testimony.
We shouldn’t hesitate to offer aid.
Whether it’s refugees coming to the States or helping other nations recover from natural disasters, we should seek opportunity to come to the aid of those in need. Handley largely attributes this massive move to Christ to the efforts of Christians coming to the region and displaying the love of Christ as they help the people recover from the natural disasters of last year. This looks like practicing the first part of true religion to me, which is explained in James 1:27 as “visit[ing] the widows and orphans in their affliction.”
We shouldn’t hesitate to pray for the sick.
The lama’s wife was healed after attending the church, and while the report doesn’t say, perhaps someone prayed for her while she was there. Sometimes it’s difficult to pray for the sick, but we shouldn’t miss any opportunity to pray in faith, which the Bible tells us “will save the one who is sick” (James 5:15).
Let us not shrink back; let us not grow weary of doing good. Even if we don’t see the fruit right away, we know God is working in those who do not yet know him, and we don’t always know which encounter will convince someone to believe the gospel and receive salvation. Praise God for the mighty work he is doing in Tibet and around the world.