The Kingdom Of Heaven On The Roof Of The World -- By: Walter Asboe

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 084:335 (Jul 1927)
Article: The Kingdom Of Heaven On The Roof Of The World
Author: Walter Asboe

The Kingdom Of Heaven On The Roof Of The World

Walter Asboe

It is now seventy-two years since the seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven were first sown in Western Himalaya or Little Tibet as it is sometimes called. The early pioneers of the Moravian Mission had indeed made plans to penetrate Mongolia, but their attempted project was frustrated by the Russian Government. All efforts to survey Chinese Mongolia and Central Asia having failed, the missionaries set to work establishing the Kingdom in the Himalayas. Their faith was rewarded in as much as they were enabled to settle in Kyelang the capital of Lahul. No time was lost in acquiring a knowledge of the Tibetan language and its kindred dialects with a view to evangelizing the Mongolian race of people embracing Buddhism. The translation of the Scriptures into Tibetan was undertaken by Jaeschke, Heyde, Redslob, Francke, and others, and printed in the lithographic press at Kyelang. A model farm was also established, thus affording a means of contact with the people.

From Kyelang the missionaries of the Cross pressed on to Spiti and Ladakh, where the seeds of the Kingdom are still being sown amongst the Tibetan speaking people living at an altitude of 11,500 to 15,000 feet above sea level. Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is the headquarters station of the Moravian Mission in Western Himalaya, and it is probably the highest mission station in the world, situated as it is at the altitude of 11,500 feet. At first the pioneers moved about amongst the various Tibetan tribes living in gloomy houses utterly devoid of light except from a small aperture in the roof which served as an exit for the smoke of a cow dung fire. On other occasions they would ascend the barren and lofty plateaus of Rupshu, living the life of the nomadic tribes inhabiting those elevated regions (14,000 and 15,000 feet). Life on the Rupshu plains is far from being an “arm-chair” exist-

ence, for the intense cold of winter and the burning heat of summer on these plains where no grain of any description can be grown, expose both man and beast to the rigors of an extremely hard and trying climate.

The policy of wandering from place to place disseminating the truths of the Kingdom had its peculiar difficulties, especially so since the roads were, and indeed still are, mere sheep and goat tracks which in winter are completely covered in deep snow, added to which were the high passes swept by violent winds, and impassible, owing to the colossal snow-drifts on their summits. Mission stations were, therefore, established where the missionaries might have a degree of leisure to enable them to study the language and customs of the people amongst whom they were to spend their lives.

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