Something wonderful in the Christian sense is happening in Tibet, a region in China considered as the highest in the world and the home of Mount Everest, earth’s highest mountain rising more than 29 009 feet(8.84km) above sea level.
Tibetans are mostly Buddhist, but there are also some Muslims and Christians, according to sources.
Last year, one Tibetan Buddhist priest embraced Jesus Christ and became a Christian pastor after seeing the love of Christ shown by a group of Christian workers who helped out and provided relief goods to the people of the region when a major earthquake struck the area, according to Joe Handley, president of Asian Access, a Christian organisation seeking to spread God’s Word in South Asia.
Now, the seed of Christian love has grown. In an update, Handley reports that 62 other Buddhist monks have decided to follow the footsteps of the former Buddhist lama and are now following Christ as well.
And that’s not all. “Just within the last year alone, [church leaders] are estimating that more than 200 000 people have come to Christ as a result of the labours of the Christian community there,” Handley says.
What is causing this avalanche of Christian conversions?
Handley says this is all due to the work of Christian workers who provided hope and healing to the people of Tibet in the aftermath of last year’s devastating quake. “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 proved the test of time, sacrificed their own lives to serve and been the hands and feet of Jesus,” he says.
Asian Access is playing a key role in this spiritual movement by training church leaders with the aim of establishing long-term spiritual growth in the region.
“Asian Access just has the privilege of coming alongside key pastors like the ones that have invested in this Tibetan priest’s life,” Handley says. “We invest deeply, building their capacity so they can reach their communities.”
“God does amazing things when you invest in people and see them grow deeper in Him, grow stronger as leaders, learn how to reproduce other leaders, and then it spreads through church planting efforts in ways that are simply remarkable,” he adds.
Asian Access is now seeking the prayer and financial support of Christians worldwide so that the organisation could nurture the spiritual movement in South Asia.
Meanwhile the The Gospel Herald reports that a powerful Tibetan monk accepted Jesus Christ after witnessing Christians helping earthquake victims in Nepal and now works tirelessly to spread the gospel despite severe opposition.
Recently, the former Hindu kingdom adopted a new constitution that declared the country a secular state. Thus, attempting to change or convert someone from one religion to another is punishable by law. In addition, Christianity remains socially unacceptable, often inciting violence and oppression. Nevertheless, the country has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world, according to the World Christian Database, which tracks global trends in Christianity.
A Christian Aid Ministry director revealed how, thanks to their tireless efforts, the Christian community gained esteem in the eyes of a wary government and impressed people of other faiths.
He shared one particularly compelling story of how an influential Buddhist monk observed as Christians helped rebuild his community for a week after the first earthquake reduced the neighborhood to rubble.
“As a powerful Tibetan monk with 1 000 disciples, his word was law,” the director said. “He was watching us for seven days continually as Christians became salt and light to the community. After watching us for seven days, he said, ‘I’m going to give my life to Jesus.'”
Previously the Buddhist leader never allowed the indigenous missionaries to preach there and frequently voiced his opposition to Christianity.
“His monastery colleagues and others did not help him after the earthquake,” the director said. “He said, ‘Where are the 330 million gods of Hinduism? Where are the Buddhists?”
Put trust in Christ
The monk put his trust in Christ, as did his family and many others, and became the leader of a congregation, the director said. His two sons were recently baptised, and his daughter has become a bible teacher for the area’s children.
The monk’s conversion calls to mind the story found in Acts 16:25-40, in which the Philippian jailer is converted after witnessing the power of God and the ministry of his prisoners, Paul and Silas. After accepting Christ, the jailer brings the apostles to his house to share the Gospel and baptize his entire family.
For the monk, accepting Christ came at a cost: his Buddhist colleagues now oppose and dislike him and falsely accuse him of being paid to convert.
Undaunted, the former monk says he wants to go to remote areas on Nepal’s border with Tibet, where water is scarce and there are no roads, to proclaim Christ.
“He says, ‘I want to go where no churches are,'” the director said. “We have come across many other people thankful for our help. Even in hostile areas, many people were touched. When they saw our love and service, people were amazed — they saw the life of Christ.”