By: Kerry Olson, Bethany Partners
Sonam was born and raised in the Kingdom of Bhutan, a landlocked country in South Asia. Surrounded by the awe-inspiring Himalayas, Bhutan has 74 distinct people groups – 71 of which are 0% Evangelical Christian.
At the age of 12, Sonam began his journey toward becoming a Buddhist monk. For the next 7 years, like many in his culture, Sonam dedicated his life to studying the ways of Buddha.
Then God intervened.
YOU WILL SEEK ME AND FIND ME
Sonam was always seeking spiritual truth, and yet Sonam’s heart and mind felt a pull that there was something more. One day, after a six-month period of meditation, Sonam experienced a vision. In this vision, a man robed in white revealed:
“I am the answer to your questions.”
Sonam remained a Buddhist after this vision, but a seed had been planted. Later on, while serving in Nepal as a monk, a Christian shop owner gave him a gospel tract titled, “The Way to Salvation”. Another monk demanded he throw away the tract, and that he refused to read it. Sonam kept the tract. He studied it for several days. Not unlike his vision, John 14:6 spoke to Sonam’s spirit:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Relocated to a Buddhist monastery in India, on the border of Bhutan, Sonam met yet another Christian who invited him to learn more about Jesus by attending a church service. For the first time, Sonar attended a Christian church. Here, he was given a Bible. As Sonam read the Word of God, Jesus’ words penetrated his soul even further. In particular, Matthew 10:33:
“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
Within the confines of his modest monastery room, Sonam pored over the Bible almost non-stop. Then one day the inevitable happened. Sonam was caught and subsequently kicked out of the monastery.
I AM THE ANSWER
Shortly after his banishment, Sonam attended a Christian Youth Camp. He was baptized. He committed himself to a “home” church. He even enrolled in a five-year Bible school program.
A devout Buddhist monk hungered for the Truth. In the most unimaginable place, a Buddhist monastery, he found Jesus. He dedicated his life to Christ and in turn, realized Bhutan’s dire need for the Gospel. Upon graduation, Sonam returned to Bhutan where he met his future wife, Tham – a Christian and Bible school graduate. Today, they are missionaries.
Sonam and Tham have two young children. Together, they have a passion to “reach the unreached” people of their country. One year ago, after prayer and preparation, Sonam and Tham relocated to the northeastern region of Bhutan – a profoundly unreached region, only 0.59% Christian – where they are currently ministering and seeking to establish the region’s first church.
As we at Bethany International strive to take the gospel to the most “unlikely” places and support our partners like Sonam and Tham – please pray for their journey and consider how you might be able to help them and others like them to make a difference.
This article is from the Spring 2019 Issue of CoMission Magazine.