Tibet’s railway express offers insight for Christians.

By November 16, 2006

Tibet (MNN)–China’s sky train into Tibet is forcing the reclusive country to open to tourism. The huge influx of tourists has increased the region tourism revenue nearly 29-percent.

Officials attributed that surge to the newly-opened Qinghai-Tibet Railway for making the “Roof of the World” more accessible. Many Tibetans find that a mixed blessing.

Tibetans are reserved and generally do not welcome external pressure to change. Interserve’s David Housholder says that often effects how they view mission groups and their work.

While many Tibetans don’t mind missionaries, for their contributions to the country, they resent the evangelism part, because, “They see it as an attempt to undermine something of the culture. There’s already fear, because of the Chinese presence and the loss of culture, of language, of all that has bound them together in the past. They see this threat to religious identity as just one more layer of that.”

Housholder says the danger is when ‘drive-by evangelism’ takes place–additionally, it can hurt other believers. “Groups come in just for a very short time and distribute tracts, or preach on the street, or just be very bold and open, then they get back on their airplane and leave, leaving the consequences to the ones that live there full time. that would be disastrous.”

Interserve continues to point out that while direct outreach in-country can be difficult, there are other ways to get the Gospel into Tibet.

Housholder contributed to �Jesus in a New Age, Dalai Lama World: Defending and Sharing Christ with Buddhists,� a book which explains Tibetan Buddhist beliefs and can help Christians share the gospel with their Tibetan Buddhist friends in the U.S. and overseas.

It shows how a clear understanding of Tibetan Buddhist beliefs that can help Christians make Christ’s message plain to their Tibetan Buddhist friends.

Interserve also has several other resources available that can help the church understand how best to reach Tibetan Buddhists in a culturally sensitive way with the hope of the Gospel.

Click here if you want details on Interserve’s resources.

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