Tibetans are a beautiful and hardy people, well adapted to cope with life on the ‘Roof of the World’, with its head-spinning altitudes, scorching sun and winter blizzards. Yet there are other natural forces at work there that occur suddenly, without warning, to much more devastating effect.
The Tibetan Plateau is riddled with seismic fault lines, and every so often there’s a jarring reminder of how fragile life is and just how easily it can be snuffed out in an instant.
Drolma is a striking young Kham Tibetan woman with almond eyes and dark braided hair. Back in 2010 her home village in Yushu district, Qinghai Province was destroyed by a terrible earthquake. Most of the monasteries and temples in the area also suffered heavy damage and many casualties. Drolma was in the provincial capital attending university at the time, but her whole family was killed when their mud and brick house collapsed on them. In the aftermath, Drolma said, “I tell my friends here at school that I’m fine. But at night, I lie awake in bed crying myself to sleep because I miss my family.”
The Yushu disaster came just a couple years after a massive earthquake in nearby Sichuan Province, which affected a huge swathe of territory including some Tibetan districts.
Tragic as these events were, there is eternal fruit where there was once despair. Along with the swift and impressive response from the Chinese authorities, Christians from all over China and beyond also mobilized to offer help. This had a remarkably unifying effect on the Chinese Church, while the Tibetan people became the focus of prayer much more than ever before. God opened doors for demonstrations of holistic love and gospel truth to Tibetans in ways that would not have happened if it had not been for the earthquakes.
- For Tibetans like Drolma, still deeply grieving the loss of loved ones.
- That Tibetans affected by disasters will realize how much the Lord Jesus loves them through the words and deeds of Christian aid workers.
- That thriving Tibetan churches will be established in the very districts that have been reduced to rubble by earthquakes.