One couple’s bold witness among Tibetan refugees.
Aden was awakened by the sound of the large, barrel–shaped temple drum being beaten with a heavy mallet. This familiar sound signalled the call to prayer in this sleepy Tibetan refugee camp, nestled below the famous Fish Tail Peak in Nepal’s Annapurna mountains. Since becoming a Christian, it had taken some time for the percussive noise to no longer irritate him! In the early days, he stuck his head under the covers, remembering the days of his childhood when he left the house half asleep to sit in the cold temple and recite the words of the Buddha. He now woke to the drum with anticipation instead, eager to spend time with God and in His Word. When the first gong sounded, he got out of bed, made himself a strong bowl of butter tea and quietly made his way through to the little lounge. Here, he would read and meditate on the Scriptures before the sun came up.
It was easier to do this now that he and his family had their own home. His mother, a devout Buddhist, had made life incredibly difficult for him and his young wife Amrita when they had shared her home. She had been strongly opposed to their newfound faith in Christ. As he passed through the small entrance way, he glanced again at the picture high on the wall, of the exiled Dalai Lama holding the Bible which Aden’s Christian friends had had inscribed and presented to him. The picture never ceased to remind him that God uses us, even in our weakness and vulnerability. Each time one of his neighbours looked on the picture they would ask, “Does the Dalai Lama read your Bible?” What wonderful opportunities that picture gave him!
Aden and Amrita’s witness to this small community of refugees had been hard wrought. When family and friends first heard of their Christian beliefs, they shunned them. The couple were left with no standing in the community and were ostracised. In the years which followed, they had worked hard to get back to where they were now, becoming leaders of their community. They served on committees for education, the pharmacy and the health centre among others, with Aden also involved in decision making for refugee communities in other parts of Nepal. God had shown them favour and just like Daniel, when they were obedient to the laws of God, He began to move. The Lord had softened the hearts of the authorities towards them, opening eyes to see that this couple were honest, hardworking, wise, and discerning.
Aden’s witness began when he offered to wash the dead. This was a task of which most Tibetans were deeply afraid, fearing that any evil spirits lurking in the body of the deceased might take up residence within them. Aden assured them that he had no reason to fear because the Spirit residing in him was more powerful than any who lived within their dead. Now he was able to invite fellow refugees into his home to share food and friendship, showing them The Jesus Film and reading from God’s Word. So far, none had come to faith. However, a few were interested and increasingly willing to talk, especially outside the camp where they could not be overheard. From time to time, Aden would arrange for a small group of young men from the camp to go hiking. He had so much opportunity to share freely with each of them while they walked, and he felt sure that these times would soon bear fruit.
That said, Aden saw his main task as being to teach and encourage the small churches within the exiled Tibetan communities across both Nepal and India. Travel was often an issue for him because of the mountainous terrain, but now he had received a motorcycle and anticipated that much more would be achieved as a result. Meanwhile, the gospel messages which he and his wife recorded each week were being broadcast to thousands of Tibetans across several countries. God was good and was enlarging Aden’s tent, creating new opportunities for service all the time.
AsiaLink began supporting Aden and Amrita in 2022 and recently provided a motorbike to assist their ministry.