Meet Pema from Bhutan
“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”? Charles H. Spurgeon
Pema* lives in Bhutan, where Christians make up 2.8 percent of the population. The population of believers can pray, worship, and meet together for fellowship, but they must do so in secret.
Bhutanese who leave Buddhism for Christ can expect pressure from all fronts, which usually begins with the family. This is true for Pema, who is the only Christian in her home. “I often feel depressed,” said Pema. “My relatives and in-laws are all Buddhists. They blamed me and my faith for every bad thing that happened in our family.”
Soon after Pema was baptized, she suffered severe pain in her abdomen. She tried to sleep it off for a couple of weeks until the pain became unbearable. Pema was later diagnosed with appendicitis, and at the hospital, she waited for her family to come and see her, but no one showed up.
“Since becoming a Christian my family (parents and relatives) stayed away from me,” she shared. “My uncle scolded me for leaving Buddhism. My in-laws did not talk to me. My Buddhist husband, who worked in another country, said I deserved to be sick.”
But Pema was not alone. The comfort she did not receive from her family during her physical suffering, she received from fellow Christians who visited her to pray with her and helped pay the hospital bills. Pema was both surprised and thankful.
“I started to memorize and write Bible verses while at the hospital,” said Pema. “Before my operation, I was reciting Bible passages and that gave me peace. The other patients were fearful and in panic, but I was at ease.”
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4
Believers like Pema face persecution on a daily basis from those closest to them. Often times, the only comfort they find is in God’s word.
This is why we do what we do.
It is vital to provide our suffering brothers and sisters with God’s word because God’s word brings peace in the midst of suffering. God’s word brings comfort when nothing else does. God’s word can change the life of a persecuted believer.
Join us in setting aside a few minutes to pray for believers like Pema who cling to the word of God in the midst of suffering. Pray that God’s word would bring a peace that passes all understanding.
*Name changed for security purposes