By Gwendolyn Herrick, Chip and Kim Geiser
“Three years ago, I would have never thought that I would have the opportunity to do domestic missionary refugee work with the Bhutanese,” said Molly Morgan a youth worker with the Bhutanese ministry. Like many of those now faithfully involved with the refugee ministry, Molly had no prior knowledge of these people, their tumultuous history, and deep spiritual need until she began God’s work among them.
Five years ago, Bhutanese refugees were sent to Columbus, Ohio from UN run camps in Nepal. At that time, God led workers to the Bhutanese through a program designed to simply meet the physical needs of refugees. Yet these material goods served as the aroma of Christ and many of the Hindu background Bhutanese became interested in Jesus.
It didn’t take long for deep relationships to form between God’s American workers and the Bhutanese refugees. Many American workers have fallen in love with their Bhutanese friends and have experienced the amazing fruit of ministering to them. The list of victories for the kingdom of God in this ministry in the past five years are numerous: salvations, baptisms, a Nepali translated Central Teaching and Ravi Biswa being raised up to help teach it, home bible studies, Bhutanese youth becoming involved in Oasis to high school groups, countless families in the name of Christ being given household items to begin their lives in Columbus, and so much more.
In the group’s mission to equip Bhutanese believers as disciples of Christ, to share their faith within the growing refugee community and to do the Christian work, the path has not always been easy. They have encountered value clashes, language barriers, commitment issues, learning difficulties, and other stumbling blocks along the way. Despite these challenges, for all who are involved, there is a sense of privilege to be a part of what God is doing among the Bhutanese. As Molly so aptly puts, “We feel that there are monuments of God’s faithfulness to this group that we are able to lean on when things look unsure. You need to keep your eyes and heart open for small steps of faith. And you can take praise and glory to God when you see someone taking notes or praying aloud for the first time. We always know He is moving, even if it’s slow.”
Five years ago there were approximately 30 Bhutanese refugees here in Columbus. Now there are thousands. As the ministry continues to move forward, the workers ask that people pray with them that God’s church becomes strong with indigenous workers, equipped in knowing and applying God’s grace to their daily lives, and being used in their community to spread the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.