The choking smell and crackling sound of burning wood roused Dhan Lama from sleep late one night in 2020. As he jolted awake, he realized that his wood-and-stone house tucked into Nepal’s Himalayan foothills was on fire.
Dhan Lama had become a Christian five years earlier, at age 65, and his decision to follow Christ had caused deep divisions in both his Buddhist community and his family. His wife, who left him and took their children with her, continued to agitate the villagers against him; they occasionally cursed him, threw stones at him and threatened him. But Dhan Lama persisted in his faith and even led several other villagers to Christ. He eventually remarried and became the leader of a small house fellowship.
As persecution from villagers increased, Dhan Lama began a 40-day fast to pray for direction. He was about halfway through his fast when the villagers set his house ablaze.
When he realized what was happening that night in 2020, Dhan Lama rushed to get his family out of the house. Standing a safe distance away from the burning structure, he remembered that he had left something essential behind — his Bible. He impulsively dashed back into the house to search for it, but he was too late. His Bible was gone, and he had suffered burns on his left side trying to rescue it from the flames. He later learned that the Buddhists who set the fire intended to kill him as he slept.
The next morning, all that remained of Dhan Lama’s home was a pile of stone and ash (see above), and the crops he had stored to sustain his family through the winter were ruined. After hearing about his situation, VOM replaced his household items, including his Bible, and helped Dhan Lama rebuild his home. He rebuilt on the same spot and told Front-Line Workers that he has forgiven those who burned his house.
Excerpt from our May newsletter, available for download here.