Bhutan

World Watch ranking: 36
Map thumbnail
Leader
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

How many Christians?
19,500 (0.2%)

Main threat
  • Religious nationalism

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How many Christians are there in Bhutan?

There are about 19,500 Christians in Bhutan – that’s just two per cent of the country’s population of 796,00.

How are Christians persecuted in Bhutan?

In Bhutan, no churches are officially recognised by the government, which means that all Christian gatherings are illegal – and that’s despite statements from the Bhutanese government declaring that religious organisations do not need to register.

All citizens of Bhutan are expected to follow Buddhism, the state religion. Anyone who converts to Christianity will be watched with suspicion, and local Buddhist leaders and their family will likely try to ‘reconvert’ them. For women, this can take the form of emotional abuse or divorce, whilst for men, workplace discrimination, expulsion from home, or disinheritance.

Christians can gather informally – so long as they don’t attract too much attention, evangelise publicly or challenge the status quo.

Local leaders may refuse to issue Christians the needed paperwork to do basic things like apply for loans, register property, apply for jobs and renew ID cards. Christians are also forced to follow Buddhist rituals as part of paramilitary training.

Meet 'James Sherpa'

“I learned that we should glorify God with our lives and that we need to accept persecution because it is inevitable in our life. Thank you for equipping us!” James Sherpa, a young Christian from Bhutan

What’s life like for Christians in Bhutan?

A key facet of the persecution faced by our brothers and sisters in Bhutan is the discrimination encountered by Christian children at school. It’s why Open Doors local partners run programmes to help equip these young believers for the challenges they face in the classroom.

"I was energised through the training sessions,” says Pratik Bhujel*. “Now, I don’t want to live a worldly life and I want to repent from my old life. Thank you for opening my eyes and heart to see the Lord.”

“I learned that we need to be faithful, trustworthy and true, like Timothy,” says James Sherpa*. “I learned that we should glorify God with our lives and that we need to accept persecution because it is inevitable in our life. Thank you for equipping us!”

“I learned that going away from God doesn’t do any good to us, instead, it will make us more sorrowful,” shares Dipa Sunuwar*. “To have peace, we need to stick to God. Thank you once again for this counselling session.”

*Names changed for security reasons

How can I help Christians in Bhutan

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Bhutan. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.

Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen persecuted Christians in Bhutan through prayer support and other practical aid.

please pray

Heavenly Father, we pray for our brothers and sisters in Bhutan. We ask You to bless them, to give them courage and strength, and to be able to worship freely. We ask that You will soften the hearts of the authorities and society in Bhutan, that people who come to know You would be free to walk with You. We pray for churches and church leaders who are at risk because they cannot not register; we ask that You would give them peace and hope, and that You would be glorified in their worship. Amen.

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