Bhutan

20 11 2012

The Kingdom of BhutanDruk Yul (is the land of the Dragon).

Population:  708, 484  Capital: Thimpu

It is a landlocked nation in Asia, and is situated in the eastern Himalaya Mountains, with China to the north, India to the south, and India also to the south west – with Bangladesh and Nepal, not far away. The country is governed by an autocratic and benign Buddhist monarchy, with a kind-of docile parliament, increasingly open to democratic principles.

A little fact: ‘Around 23% live in poverty, but Bhutan is rated one of the world’s happiest countries’

However,

‘the state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism — Lamaistic Buddhism influenced by Bon (pre-Buddhist animism). Other religions are barely tolerated foreign intrusions. Proselytism and incitement to convert are illegal. Church buildings are not allowed, and Christians are not privy to many of the state benefits available to Buddhists, such as free education.’ (Operation World, p. 151)

“Bhutan is one of the world’s least evangelised nations” (Operation World).

Most of the few hundred Christians among the Tibetan/Himalayan peoples are scattered and in small fellowships, and have faced ‘varying degrees of persecution and social ostracism’. Among the 5 largest peoples (Dzongkha, Tshangla, Lepcha, Kheng and Gurung), only the Lepcha have a significant number of Christians among them.

Prayer in focus:

Dear Lord, we pray for the gospel to come to each of these ethnic groups in a vital and dynamic way. We also pray for the Nepali population—who have suffered what amounts to ethnic cleansing since 1990, by the Buddhist Bhutanese majority. We pray for mercy and a future, for the 150,000 who huddle in a UN refugee camp in south east-Nepal, having been expelled from Bhutan.  As the number of believers grow, may their circumstances improve for freedom and re-settlement. We pray that the Christians in Bhutan may make a wise, gracious,fruitful contribution to their nation, and that the Church may find acceptance among the nation, for good.  We pray for the sensitive contribution of ministries as they seek to bring a knowledge of the love and grace of God, in Christ jesus, to the people.  May the activity of the Indian believers in distributing literature and the Word continue to become a great blessing. We pray for the raising up of translators willing to work in the translation of the Bible into indigenous languages. We pray for the work of the gospel at ‘the borders’ to become a helpful way for people to hear the gospel. May the JESUS film continue to be a means of sharing the story of Jesus, the Saviour of the world.

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