For the national bird of Bhutan, the black raven that claws loudly as it soars towards the mountains, there is no border between India and Bhutan. For Bhutanese Christians, crossing to India offers freedom to worship as they please, or on their home side, imprisonment and fines.
Born in Sikim, (now part of India) Pastor John says, “God took me to Bhutan in 1968 and put His vision in my heart. At that time, there were only one or two believers in all of Bhutan. I did not have any theological degrees, but I felt deep in my heart there was something that needed to be done for the Lord’s ministry.”
The pastor’s work in Bhutan started with a short prayer of healing for a very sick girl. “I prayed a very small prayer, ‘Lord, please heal this child.’ I went to work and 24 hours later I got a call, ‘Our daughter is healed…now we want to follow Christ.’” That “small prayer” was the spark that led many to understand the Gospel message.
Bhutanese law prohibits the gathering of Christians outside of their homes. Public preaching results in immediate fines and imprisonment. Pastor John, who currently lives in India within eyesight of Bhutan’s mountains, goes in and out of Bhutan regularly to encourage believers as he meets with them in their homes. It is not easy being a minority Christian in Bhutan. “Our church members in Bhutan have been arrested for showing the Jesus film and preaching,” he says.
Pastor John also has a church in India, a short walk from the border of Bhutan, visited by many Bhutanese believers who cross the border to attend. According to him, these times together in India are used to teach, encourage and strengthen the Christians before they return to their house churches in the mountains of Bhutan. “We will teach them till they grow in maturity,” he adds. “I get to meet with a lot of people and hear about their problems. When we pray, God does miracles and in that way, we as the church (in Bhutan) are growing.”
Pastor John reemphasizes the importance of house churches, “We started with one house church and now the number is uncountable.”
Courageous leaders like Pastor John are spreading the Gospel message in the face of adversity. CICM has a team of dedicated evangelists who regularly start new ministries in unevangelized countries. With God’s help, these CICM leaders have planted over 1,000 churches in India and its neighboring countries.
Please consider supporting these leaders who carry out God’s will. Your gift will help share Jesus’ love and light with the unreached people of the world. Thank you for your thoughts, generosity and encouragement of the ministry of CICM.
Matthew 9:37- Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”