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Can a Jesus-Follower Serve at a Buddhist Temple?

02.06.19
by Crossworld
in East Asia, Evangelism, Story
That’s the dilemma Jacob faced.
EAST ASIA — Crossworld worker Jacob sat as his desk, catching up on email, when his friend Tarkhan walked into his office.
 
“Come with me on a road trip,” Tarkhan said.
 
Jacob studied his friend as questions swirled through his mind. Where are we going? What are we going to do? How long will we be gone? But he knew better than to ask. Details like these are unnecessary in Tarkhan’s culture.
 
Jacob didn’t want to turn down this rare invitation, so he agreed and quickly wrapped up his work for the day.
 
The two friends hit the road and picked up two more men as they headed out of town. Soon the city gave way to a barren landscape. Then the paved road turned to dirt, and the dirt faded into nothing but grass.
 
Eventually, Jacob saw a Buddhist monastery off in the distance. 
 
“Today we’re visiting the place where we worship and pray,” Tarkhan said. “The whole community is coming out to work on the temple and install the new prayer flags and prayer wheels we just received. Will you help us?”
 
What should I do, Lord? Jacob prayed in a panic. With no way to leave, he could either refuse to help and offend an entire community, or use the time to learn about the community’s culture and hopefully share about his beliefs as well.
 
“Yes, I will help you,” Jacob answered his friend.
 
These items only have power if you give them power, he thought. While they’re praying to their spiritual authority, I’ll pray to the Almighty God.
 
When they arrived at the temple site, Jacob could see the entire community — from elderly grandparents down to small children — already at work.
 
Some of the women prepared a meal of lamb stew and fresh bread for everyone to share at lunch. Sitting in the pasture with their milk tea cups resting on cow pies, they began to talk.
 
“How do you worship?” the people asked Jacob, who was the only foreigner in the group.
 
Jacob then had the chance to share about his God — the Creator of the world who doesn’t live in temples made by human hands.
 
“How do you pray?” they asked.
 
“I pray through Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself for us,” Jacob said. “You don’t have to appease many gods through rituals or sacrifices. Through Jesus, you can know that your prayers are being heard.”
 
That day at a Buddhist temple, these remote, unreached people heard about the one, true God. Not only that, Jacob also earned greater trust with some of the community leaders who had been skeptical of him before. He willingly stepped into their space, and now they willingly let him into their lives.

Your part in this story...

Crossworld worker Jacob asks you to pray for these requests.

  • My family and I want to bless the people here by bringing the good news of Jesus, but that doesn’t make sense to them yet. So we also want to bless them in a way that does make sense to them. Pray that we can do that.
     
  • Pray for health for my family.
     
  • This region of the world has several unreached people groups. Ask God to show us what part He wants us to play.
The people in this story are real, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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