Help your family embrace God’s love for the world. Read this story together to learn about and pray for the Bhutanese (Boo-tah-NEEZ), an unreached people group in Bhutan.
Come with me to a mountainous kingdom tucked in the Himalayas, where strings of colorful Buddhist prayer flags flutter on high, craggy passes. In cities and villages below, Bhutanese boys and girls worship statues of Buddha. Because Bhutan was isolated from the outside world for many years, many families here have never heard about Jesus. See the boy standing near the tall, carved clock tower in the square? He’s your tour guide …
Hi. I’m Yeshey (YEH-shee). Welcome to Thimphu (tim-POO), our capital city. While your body adjusts to high altitude, breathe deeply and enjoy the beautiful views of snow-capped mountains. Our king lives in this city. He wishes to keep our cultural heritage strong. One way is through our architecture. By royal decree, all the buildings are constructed in the traditional style. Notice the white walls, dark carved wood trim, arched windows, and sloping roofs.
We also have a national dress code. This knee-length robe that I’m wearing is called a gho (go). Men are required to dress like this to work in public places. Boys my age often wear T-shirts and jeans underneath our robes. My mother and sisters must wear the kira (KEER-ah), a long, woven dress.
Our religion is part of Bhutanese culture, too. Thousands of years ago, a wise man from Tibet flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. A famous monastery called the Tiger’s Nest was built on the mountainside where this wise man meditated. Monasteries and temples dot the landscape. Most homes have prayer rooms with an altar where families worship, burn incense, and offer gifts to statues of Buddha.
Right now, we’re going to the National Institute, a school where you can see traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts like woodworking, painting, weaving, basketry, and pottery. I hope to study there to carry on my family’s weaving business.
Tomorrow we’ll visit my relative’s village. Most people there are farmers who raise wheat, mushrooms, apricots, and chiles. You’ll see chiles drying on the roofs. These go into ema datshi (AY-mah DAHT-see), a popular spicy stew that will set your tongue on fire! You can try your hand at archery, Bhutan’s national pastime.
- Pray that Bhutanese families will turn from worshipping idols of Buddha and worship the true and living God.
- Buddhism is the national religion of Bhutan. Small numbers of families who follow Jesus are persecuted. Pray that God will encourage these believers and send them out in boldness to share the good news of Jesus with their relatives and friends.
Coming up next: Watch for an activity that helps your family learn more about Bhutan’s national pastime.