Across the Himalayan mountain range in the nation of Bhutan, the snow fell with big flakes. We prepared to meet secretly with national pastors for a three day training event. From the moment of our arrival, we experienced a heavy spiritual attack. Half of our Global Advance training team became very sick, and the sudden snowfall blocked our travel for a day while they cleared the mountain pass. This was the first time Global Advance had gone to Bhutan, and convening this training event had required nearly two years of planning and preparation. As we traveled to our clandestine location, we prayed and prepared to meet key leaders who are advancing the kingdom of God in Bhutan.
Known as the land of the “Thunder Dragon”, this quiet and often forgotten Buddhist nation prides itself as a place of happiness and peace. However, we know that it is only Jesus that can bring joy and peace. This small nation, located between China on the north and India on the south, is a closed-access Buddhist nation where the secret churches that exist are unregistered and operate predominantly in homes. The process to mobilize pastors and leaders for a training in a nation like Bhutan is a logistical wonder.
We chose a quiet, secluded location near the Indi-Bhutan border where pastors would feel safe to gather. The Global Advance Frontline Pastors Conference carried a two-fold purpose. One was that we wanted to encourage and strengthen relationships between pastors, while at the same time providing much needed training for leading the church. We also wanted to build a national team of pastors who could work together with Global Advance building a strategy to reach the unreached and partner together in this important SAARC region.
The SAARC region of 8 nations represents nearly 2 billion unreached people. Global Advance is committed to investing much needed resources in this region to help indigenous leaders across the SAARC nations work together to complete the Great Commission. These indigenous leaders are perfectly positioned to preach the Gospel, plant churches, and send others to evangelize unengaged people groups. We are working to provide training and tools to aid these heros of the faith to complete the task, so that one day the Great Commission will become the Great Fulfillment!
Our time in Bhutan proved to be very fruitful. From the first day of training, the heaviness these pastors carried began to lift. By our third day, the pastors were filled with joy. Throughout the training event, we fostered a network of leaders ready to build a national strategy for reaching their nation. Over 91 pastors and leaders found the training to be practical for their context and have asked Global Advance to return with more training and relief aid through our Alpha Relief initiative for the persecuted church. As a direct result of this training, 16 leaders made a commitment to plant a new church, and 45 leaders committed to going to preach and share the gospel with others. Over the next several years, with your support, we will invest heavily in the SAARC region and will continue to support the growing church planting movement in Bhutan. Thank you for sending Global Advance to the nations.