Dechen from Bhutan

Twenty-two-year-old Dechen* heard the gospel from her friend when she was in Samtse, Bhutan, and she soon accepted Jesus as her saviour.

 Dechen is from a traditional Buddhist background, and her family is deeply rooted in Buddhism. The change in Dechen was visible to her family, and when they found out that she had accepted Christ, they were quick to disown her.

She was given the choice to leave the family or leave Jesus Christ. She told them she would leave neither. Her family was furious and told her not to come home until she disowned Christ. It has been more than a year since Dechen last visited her home. Her family refuses to talk to her or allow her to return. She has been staying with Christian friends and is searching for a job for her survival. She is grateful for the help and prayers extended to her through Open Doors partners.

Please pray for Dechen as she has the heart to be in full-time ministry. Pray for her family to know Jesus Christ and accept Him as their personal saviour, and that their hearts would be transformed to welcome her home.

Bhutan is at number 33 on the 2018 World Watch List. While Christianity is growing in Bhutan, and constitutionally other religions are allowed, the church still remains unregistered. Congregations meet in small house churches. They meet quietly for fear of neighbours who could complain about disturbance or noise. Authorities can disband the gatherings if neighbours are found to complain.

Christians are not allowed to display the cross or any other Christian symbol in a public manner. Christian civil society organisations are not permitted either. Courts sentence Christians severely, even when the accusations against them are based on little evidence.

This is because Buddhism has been the official religion, and is part of the country’s cultural heritage. Even after introducing a constitutional monarchy and installing democratic elections, Buddhism continues to play a dominant role in the country.

 *Name changed to protect her identity. Photo used for representative purposes.