Sunday Collectives 5/22/17 – 5/28/17
Bibles for China’s heart is to provide God’s Word, the Bible, legally and without cost to Christians often living in rural mainland China, where a great need for Bibles exists.
Many people we serve in rural China already know the love of God, but for most of them their income cannot purchase anything other than basic needs. Because of their location and lack of monetary resources, they simply do not have access to Bibles. Their Bible reading is restricted to pages they have copied, passages they have memorized, or tattered Bibles shared among the village.
Seven years ago in March I celebrated my 72nd birthday in China. Along with many others, I believed that it was almost impossible to distribute Bibles to the Christians there. Many of the churches would post scripture portions for the believers to copy and take to their homes. Much to my surprise I began to realize that it was possible to purchase Bibles that are printed in China and provide them for the believers who attend legally registered churches.
After returning home from China, friends, family, and co-workers all wanted to hear what the best part of the experience was. It was a struggle finding the right story to paint how vivid of an impression this country left on me. I didn’t know if I should describe the culture, the food, the people, or a mixture of it all. What I ended up going with was none of those things. I had to tell of how I saw Christ most clearly, and that was through my team. You see, journeys like Bibles for China are rarely an individual revelation, but rather God uses those on mission with you to speak to you and through you. It is in this community where great testimonies are formed; where God revels His unending love to those around you.
Since our first unbelievable trip to distribute Bibles to the rural believers in China our hearts are filled with a multitude of vivid and heartwarming experiences. Every trip in many ways is the same, however each trip has a unique flavor of its own.
One of the constant results of each trip is the unbelievable energy and dedication that the leaders we meet display as they serve with passion. We let them know that we are overwhelmed with their ability to always be so dynamic and enthused with the joy of providing for us as well as the believers they are blessed to serve. Considering the circumstances under which they work, it is difficult for us to fathom their joy and zeal.
Another middle-aged woman stood to share her testimony, during our recent Day of Encouragement. She said that she had prayed that she would be able to give her testimony, so she could encourage the other students. She told how a family member had shared the gospel with her and she gave her life to Jesus.
She devoted herself to work in the church, serving as a lay preacher and fellow worker. She and two other preachers were seeking to build a church in their village, but the resources were few. Local Christians made great sacrifices, many times going without food. Some even sold their entire harvest of vegetables to provide the money necessary to build the church.
My September Bibles for China mission trip fulfilled more than expectations could have imagined. Even though you may bring a long history of mission activity, God’s Spirit and joy will occupy any unfilled vessel as long as you are open and serving. Visiting with Chinese Christians in their local churches and participating in their joyful Bible distribution celebrations, was indescribable. I love to see believers so hungry to get their hands on The Word. I wish we had that same desire in other countries.