We had been to other underground churches before in China and in Laos, but this church was truly underground as the government does not recognize established churches and it is against the law to proselytize people, punishable by prison time. In fact the church doubled-up as a business and the pastor’s home. Even with that covering, we had to be driven in a van just 100 yards from our hotel to the church so that we would not be noticed. Bhutan is solely Buddhist and does not want any other religion to exist there although they do know that some of their citizens are Christians. Actually there are about 20,000 Christians (and growing PTL!) in Bhutan out of a population of 600,000. You can be a Christian, but just not convert anyone.
The church was delighted to have us as it was extremely rare to have any foreign believers come visit them. They welcomed our teachings and ignited to evangelize their countrymen despite the costs. They all stood to take the “2” steps of faith to further the Great Commission. We left some solar audio Bibles and SD Memory Cards for cell phones with them. They were so happy to be able to use these new tools for evangelism. They requested more and we plan to get them more via mail by way of India where they can cross the border to pick them up. We can’t mail anything to them as it all packages are examined and it could be jail time for them if the package was addressed to them. We were also given a wonderful tour of the city and saw a 100-foot Buddha overlooking the city, the national sport of archery on display, and the only traffic signal in all of Bhutan-a traffic cop inside a gazebo using hand signals. There are no commercial goods or stores, all native Bhutan goods. The nation prides itself on a pristine, clean environment. However they have a big problem with gangs of dogs that roam the streets and bark all night-quite a problem and nuisance for tourists. But the Buddhists priests don’t want to disrupt the “spirits” of the dogs, so nothing really is done about it. But overall, Bhutan is a very pretty country as it straddles the majestic Himalayan mountains.
Please pray for the boldness of the Bhutan believers as they reach out to their fellow citizens with the only true hope there is for them-faith in Jesus Christ!