The Bhutanese Ministry at the Church continues to grow and evolve. For those of you who are new to the Church, or are not as familiar with the thriving fellowship God has created among our Bhutanese brothers and sisters, a little history may be helpful.
The United Nations partnered with the United States Department of State in the resettlement of at least 60,000 of the more than 100,000 Bhutanese living in refugee camps in Nepal. Having been expelled from their home country of Bhutan because they are not the majority culture, they have lived in refugee camps for over 20 years. Not able to go home, and not able to gain citizenship in Nepal due to political issues, they were in need of a new start and a new life.
Outreach to Bhutanese refugees resettling in Madison began in April of 2009 when a lifeGroup committed to a 90-day sponsorship of the first Bhutanese family to arrive in Madison. To date, over 300 Bhutanese have resettled in Madison. God has led us to a ministry well beyond that initial 90 day commitment to a single family. Our congregation has been blessed to witness 40 Bhutanese come to faith in Jesus through baptism, attend weekly Saturday evening Bible study and fellowship, and serve in our congregation. Others have also come to faith and been baptized through other local ministries.
Our God-inspired love for these humble and gracious people compelled us to help meet their physical, social and spiritual needs. Although it is a challenge, the Bhutanese families are largely self-sufficient with their physical needs now. During the week, we spend two nights with the kids tutoring and reading, partnered with discipleship time helping three of the Bhutanese leaders prepare for Bible study. Saturday evenings bring the community Bible study and fellowship time with dedicated teaching for the kids.
We have been richly blessed by the opportunity for discipleship, and have seen amazing God-led progress. For more than a year, three of the Bhutanese ministry lay leaders were teaching the Bible study every other Saturday evening. In 2015, they will be teaching every Saturday. The older kids have completed their first communion training and continue to grow in their knowledge of the Bible. And the youngest kids are eager to read scripture and complete projects focused on their faith.
The most exciting news in the Bhutanese ministry is the addition of paid part-time ministry development. From the very beginning, a partnership was started with a Bhutanese ministry in Chicago. Over the years, combined Christmas celebrations and other events led to new friendships and trusted partners in ministry. Through designated mission dollars, the Church is taking the next steps forward by welcoming minister Amos Shakya to our faith community.
Amos’ journey with Jesus began with a Gospel tract handed to him by a stranger on a path leading to the cornfields near his village. He was captivated by the message in the tract that quoted John 3:16. Several months later, he moved to his sister’s home in Katmandu and decided to attend the church identified on the back of the tract. As the Lord spoke into his heart at this church, Amos sought baptism four months later. He dedicated himself to work, Bible study and outreach activity for three years before entering a six-month formal training program on faith discipleship conducted by Youth with a Mission [YWAM] – Nepal. He then accepted a staff position as Campus Minister with YWAM – Nepal with a focus on evangelism and faith discipleship. Additional certification programs with YWAM took him to Bangalore, India and Bangkok, Thailand.
In August 2008, he entered the U.S. as a student at the Bible School for the Nations conducted by YWAM – Wisconsin. On a trip to Chicago, he felt drawn to reach out to the growing Bhutanese community there and with his wife Roma and young daughter, has established what a strong and vibrant congregation is now. In 2015, Amos will be coming to Madison every other weekend. He arrives on Friday afternoons for ministry planning and meeting with leaders. Saturdays will be focused on evangelism, discipleship building and training workshops. On Saturday evenings, he joins in with the Bible study and fellowship time, returning to Chicago early on Sunday morning to join the faith community there. While in Madison, Amos stays in Bhutanese homes, strengthening the bonds of friendship and faith. During the weeks in Chicago, he uses technology to connect with and encourage the leaders here in Madison.
The goal of Amos’ position at the Church is to develop leaders from within the Bhutanese ministry and equip them to make disciples to God’s glory. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement that has led to such amazing fruit. Please pray for Amos and the Bhutanese ministry often and give praise to God for his amazing provision. We can’t wait to see what God does in the coming year!