Our primary work is among the ethnic Tibetan Buddhists living throughout the Himalayan villages of Nepal. Tibetans often say, “To be a Tibetan is to be a Tibetan Buddhist.” Buddhist traditions are intertwined in festivals, cultural mores, family life, holidays, births, deaths, and people’s motivations. Becoming a Christian, then, often feels like a divorce from family and culture. Tibetan Christians may struggle with this severance and how they fit into their society.
There are an estimated 6.4 million Tibetans who make up ninety-five people groups, many of whom live in China, Nepal, Bhutan, and India. Nearly 97 percent of Tibetans are Buddhist, which means they need someone to bring them the good news of everlasting peace and the message that their sins are forgiven apart from any good works (see: Tibetan Buddhism from the IMB for more information).
We generally send teams of 2-3 people and the duration ranges from 7-14 days depending on the team composition and needs in the field. Due to the restrictive nature of the country, we send teams to work directly with a local contact who functions as a cultural "trekking" guide. Our national partners have identified an unreached, unengaged village area where our guide is originally from and he takes us to learn more about the culture and help with small projects. This strategy allows our guide to build relationships with the locals so that the Good News may be shared with them.
Teams fly into the capital city of Kathmandu and stay in the city for one night. The next day is generally spent traveling to a local "city" area which is about 6 hours by bus. Teams stay in a local guest house with fairly rustic bathroom and lodging accommodations. The next several days may be spent traveling on foot to the local village, working, and meeting with locals. You can expect to walk 2-4 hours per day on unpaved roadways and trails so hiking boots are recommended and participants should be in reasonably good physical condition.
Completion of Team Member Application
Active participation in all sessions of IMB Mission Team Training – Mission Team Training is a seven-part course designed to help church-based teams prepare for short-term mission trips (https://imb.pathwright.com/library/mission-team-training-rev/60792/about/).
Recruiting Prayer Partners
Adherence to all MZ mission trip policies as described in the Team Member Application
Participation in team fitness requirements and accountability