How many Christians are there in Bhutan?
Open Doors estimates that there are 30,000 Christians out of a population of 826,000.
Why are Christians persecuted in Bhutan?
All Bhutanese citizens are expected to be Buddhists, and there is no room for ‘foreign’ elements like Christianity. When people from a Buddhist background do decide to follow Jesus, their families and communities usually join with local religious leaders to put pressure on them to give up their new faith.
“My church got dismantled, but the members have been practising faith in their homes and now the church is growing.” James, Bhutan
What’s life like for Christians in Bhutan?
No churches have official recognition by the state, which means that Christians are technically worshipping illegally. Local authorities often refuse to issue Christians with the documents needed for job and loan applications, registering property and the renewal of ID cards. Some Christian students have been forced to participate in morning and evening Buddhist rituals, even including cleaning Buddhist shrines.
Several churches have been seized and closed down, or threatened by the authorities. As James, a young Christian in Bhutan, says: “In my area, there is no killing or beating, but we face persecution through the local government coming in and pressuring and threatening us. Yet, the faith of the Christians is still strong. In our village, my church got dismantled, but the members have been practising faith in their homes and now the church is growing. By God’s grace, they haven’t stopped us totally.”
How can I help Christians in Bhutan
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Bhutan. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Through its local partners, Open Doors provides immediate aid to Bhutanese believers when their faith in Christ leads to imprisonment, excludes them from families and communities or deprives them of livelihood and employment. Open Doors partners also provide Christian literature, discipleship and literacy training, advocacy and persecution survival programmes.
*Name changed for security reasons
Dear God, we praise and thank You that persecution has been decreasing in Bhutan, and that there have been no reports of violence this year. We pray that You would continue to protect and encourage Your Bhutanese children, and ask for opportunities for them to share their faith with families and neighbours.