Just within the last year alone, more than 200,000 people have come to Christ as a result of the labours of the Christian community there.
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 above sea level.
The Tibetan people are an ethnic group native to Tibet. Their current population in the Tibet autonomous region is estimated to be around 6 million. In addition to living in Tibet, significant numbers of Tibetans live in other parts of China, as well as India, Nepal, Bhutan and in the Western world.
Tibetans are mostly Buddhist, the main religion in Tibet has been Buddhism since its outspread in the 8th century AD. But there are also few Muslims and Christians, according to sources.
According to estimates from the International Religious Freedom Report of 2012, most of Tibetans (who comprise 91% of the population of the Tibet Autonomous Region) are bound by Tibetan Buddhism, while a minority of 400,000 people (12.5% of the total population of the TAR) are bound to the native Bon or folk religions which share the image of Confucius (Tibetan: Kongtse Trulgyi Gyalpo) with Chinese religion, though in a different light.
“For Tibetans, everything is about religion,” said a Tibetan woman in Xining who requested anonymity because of political sensitivities. “They think that Buddhism is perfect for them – that it’s flawless. And if somebody points out that there’s something wrong with their religion, that’s a huge offence.”
Last year, one Tibetan Buddhist priest embraced Jesus Christ and became a Christian pastor and 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.
According to Asian Access, 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 prove the test of time, sacrificed their own lives to serve and been the hands and feet of Jesus.
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.
Remember to pray for these new believers and for their country as so many are coming to Jesus Christ.
Adaptation of Christianity from the local Tibetan Buddhist custom:
Khata Culture: One of the very unique features you will see in Tibetan Church in Yangjin is the offering of Khata (Tibetan White scarf) 0n the statue of Marry. They also use it for the well-wishing and greeting amount them. Khata has the same utility and significant in the Tibetan Christian life as that of the Tibetan Buddhist life.
Altar in Home: When you visit the home of Tibetan Christian family, you will find Altar in the home as it is in all the Buddhism family. But in their alter you will find Jesus and Mary instead Buddhist deity.
Tibetan New year: Tibetan Christian in Yangjin village also celebrate Tibetan Lunar New year along with the local Buddhist. They would gather in their church and read the passage from the Bible instead of Buddhist scripture.
Tibetan Bible: Tibetan Christians use Bible in Tibetan language and also Bible in the Chinese language.
Christian Thangka: Thangka is traditionally a means to preach about a religion to the common man as a visual aid. Now many Tibetan Christian are using thangka to preach life story of creation and fall of man, Story of Jesus, and the Story of God and Man before Jesus.