Tenzin was sent to the monastery as a small boy and spent most of his life as a monk. It was all he knew until, as a young man, he met some believers on a bus. These Christians befriended him and shared the Gospel with him, and Tenzin was astounded at the story of Jesus dying for humanity. He began to open his heart, despite the warnings against Christianity from his Buddhist community.
Over time, Tenzin was baptized and publicly shared with others from his people group how he was choosing to follow Jesus. Friends and family were less than supportive, and he found himself unprepared for life outside of the monastery walls. On his own for the first time, Tenzin was welcomed into the home of Multiply’s global workers in this region. They helped him with budgeting and finances, fed him, taught him cooking basics, some English, and even how to play the guitar. Tenzin became like family to them. Three days a week they spent time with him praying and learning the Bible, rejoicing to see him gradually open up more and more to the ways and words of God.
One day they went through the Old Testament story of Jacob, reading about Jacob’s dream of angels ascending and descending on a ladder stretched between heaven and earth. Our workers quickly realized how many assumptions they had when it came to the Bible, as they fielded his questions.
“Why was Jacob afraid of the angels?” Tenzin asked at one point. “What did they look like?” He wondered if God’s angels looked like the fearsome deities painted on the walls of Buddhist temples.
“I don’t actually know,” our worker replied, startled. “I have always pictured angels dressed in white, with beautiful wings. But Jacob would not really be frightened by the kind of angels that I imagine!” Both men realized that they needed a more biblical understanding outside of their own cultural context. What do angels look like? They began to spend even more time together, and studying Scripture became an adventure. As they did so, powerful encounters and experiences of God’s presence left Tenzin transformed, filled with courage and faith.
Pray for new believers in East Asia, as they search the Scripture diligently, pondering ladders and angel wings and the cost of discipleship.