|Jesus’ Life on Earth|
One year ago I wrote a post about Tibetan thangkas and mentioned therein a Christian ministry that was selling Christian thangkas, though at the time I didn't know anything more about how they were being used. In today's post, I am excited to provide some more information about them.
Two years later the TSP discovered The Hope DVD, produced by Mars Hill Productions. Much of the dvd's content mirrored what the TSP had already decided to include in their own project, so they worked out an agreement with Mars Hill to use the Hope DVD material which would allow the addition of fresh footage shot on the Tibetan Plateau using Tibetan extras. These additional scenes portray a traveling Tibetan storyteller and his daughter, who use traditional Tibetan paintings called thangkas to illustrate stories from the Bible, as well as performances of Tibetan music and dance. The two-hour Tibetan Hope DVD was completed in 2007.
Some of the new scenes show the Tibetan storyteller, explaining biblical stories depicted on four traditional thangka paintings. The TSP writes that
I was provided with some accounts of the use of this series of thangkas among various ethnic groups in various parts of Asia. Here are those stories:
[A believer in SW China] shared the Thangkas with a group of Tibetans in a village for a couple of hours. One guy in the back was talking and smoking a lot and not paying too much attention, but later he started to listen to the stories more and became very interested. Eventually he believed and learned to tell the stories on the Thangkas himself.
|Creation and the Fall of Man|
"We are actually going to a village tonight where we have shared the Gospel now two times using these posters. They are very useful and the pastor who is sharing the story said that these can be used both to proclaim the Gospel and also to teach believers. We have done one poster /evening so we will most probably have two more times there and then we see what happens after that. I am using these posters with a young family where the father is a believer and the mother most probably believes in her heart but has not clearly professed faith in Jesus."
Rinchen shares from India:
"I have (used them to teach), and people are very responsive. They enjoy listening to the Bible passage story in conjunction with pointing to the Thangkas, and accept it readily as "This is Tibetan‚" together with a clear message that is Christian. This in and of itself is a key step forward. Suffice it to say that I have seen the effect be to link the sense "this is Tibetan‚" with "This is Christian‚" in a way that surprises them, but in a positive way."
Here is another story from a Christmas celebration in a really Tibetan area in which these thangkas were used. The writer is not a mother tongue English speaker– she is southeast Asian. She cannot be more explicit about places because of restrictions–
|God and Man Before Jesus Christ|
"I have experienced sharing using thanka, when I newly stayed in [a remote, high altitude, regional town]. It was on Christmas celebration.
[A] few weeks before the party, we [prayed] seriously, even fasting! Because we got limit[ed] permission to stay in [this town]. To our surprise, a local family open[ed] their house for the celebration. There were adults too (the owner of the house, and a [local] teacher).
When I started telling the story, showing the thangkas (Genesis to Revelation), the [local] teacher stood up helping translating into [the regional] dialect!!! We really felt FATHER's presence!
The thangkas were shown around. As they wanted to look at it again and again. We also shown a bit of [Jesus] movie, when [Jesus] was on the cross! Before we left, the owner of the house asked us whether we have extra thangkas. We were sorry we didn't have extras. Anyway, we gave them some copies of J movies."
In addition to the use of the Christian thangkas for evangelism, the ministry website offers other resources for Tibetans, such as Tibetan Christian music, testimonies, the Bible in Tibetan, and live chat and email follow up for believers or seekers who have further questions or need prayer.