Jane Holloway has been actively involved with the Tibetan Buddhist world for many years. Her primary focus has been Bhutan but she has also worked with many people and aspects of the Tibetan Buddhist world in general. Here she describes the beginning of a new network for Europeans with a heart for Tibetan Buddhists.
As with everyone, the pandemic has shifted much in my life and ministry. Until then, I travelled regularly to the Himalayas, staying several months at a time. I also networked some in North America, around Europe and in Thailand.
Since March 2020 this has all changed. Regular connections were replaced with Zoom calls, which have worked up to a point. Over time it has become obvious that regular face-to-face connections are still needed, but international travel continues to be a big question mark for me. Then the Lord started opening other doors for the Tibetan Buddhist (TB) world, this time here in Europe.
A key door is the formation of the Euro-TB Network, for those living in Europe with a heart and/or ministry for the TB World. Its ultimate vision is to see God lifted up and glorified in the TB World. The two main foci are connecting and engaging with TB peoples living in Europe, and raising awareness and prayer from among European churches and individual believers.
Networks evolve and in our first five months it has become clear that in its current stage, the Euro-TB network is focused on the Diaspora Tibetans in Europe (see box). This will undoubtedly be added to, particularly as regards the Bhutanese, but at the minute, most of those in the network have a Tibetan focus. All have worked with Tibetans and there are three mature Tibetan believers in our network, living in three European countries.
Our main thrust for now is walking with, encouraging, and training the Tibetan believers living in Europe. We know of a handful, mostly asylum seekers and fairly young in the faith. They are scattered around Europe. They are the primary evangelists to their people living in Europe. Zoom has been a starting point, but we are looking into when, where, and how often to meet physically, and what would help them.
Our next area to start acting on is bringing awareness and opportunities for engagement and prayer to European believers. Much church focus is on Muslims in Europe, while the Tibetan refugees are not on the radar, even for the big agencies and ministries. Most engagement with Tibetans is from European Buddhists.