When landing in Beijing and going through customs I looked around to see who was there that I could visit with, just because that’s pretty much who I am. Right there in front of me in line was Sim. Now this is a big deal for me. She had landed from Singapore and I had flown from Chicago. My flight was early so in my opinion for the two of us to be standing in line together was an added blessing from God. We were able to get our luggage and then meet other members of our team who were coming from Beijing and Ohio for us to all be together for five days serving as members of the Bibles for China team that would be distributing Bibles in rural China.
Sim has been with us on other trips and to have her join us and be an encouragement to both the Chinese community and our team has been a wonderful experience for her as well as for the rest of us. She comes to be with us at her own expense because of a dedicated heart for her love of the Bible and His people. She feels that the Lord has placed a call upon her life to be one who makes a difference in the world. We thank God that she has a willingness to show up where the Lord is moving and make herself available with a heart of love, joy and passion for serving.
I asked Sim the question. Tell us about how you heard about Bibles for China and why do you join us? Her reply is as follows:
Sim’s words. “I came across Bibles for China when I was searching online for opportunities to do mission work in China. God led me to search for mission opportunities in China because of previous experiences ministering to the mainland Chinese during a short missions course I did in Hong Kong 2 years ago. Also, China has a very special place in my heart because although I am a Singaporean, my ancestors came from Fujian province in China. During my trips with Bibles for China, God opened my eyes to see His heart for the Chinese. I have also been greatly encouraged by the many amazing testimonies shared by the Chinese Christians, especially of those who stay in the more rural parts of China – how despite them staying a few hours away from the nearest church, they still continue to go to their church to worship and serve God faithfully.” Sim does make a difference.
Maybe the Lord is asking you to be a Sim for the ministry. Pray with us as many from various parts of our world are asking “What or how would I do what the Lord is laying on my heart that needs my involvement.” We just have just finished a wonderful trip where we sensed the leadership of the Lord and his affirmation toward Bibles for China in keeping our mandate crisp and focused on “A passion for Bibles. A heart for China”. Together with you, we are blessed when we are in the center of His will.
Help us send Bibles to China
A few years ago, blood centers were a huge boom in China. Largely unregulated, they would often go into the rural villages and convince the impoverished farmers that they could make extra money by selling their blood. Poor sterilization and the reuse of equipment, even needles, has led to an HIV/AIDS epidemic in some areas of China.
In two rural villages, many homes sit empty. They are a harsh testimony to the reality of HIV/AIDS that still ravages much of the developing world. More than 60,000 people are still there, nearly 80% of those with full-blown AIDS, due to lack of available treatment.
I stood, shell-shocked, as I listened to the Chinese pastor who was sharing the story. He used to be a dentist. He is a member of a team of ministers who go and offer education about the transmission of HIV. They offer comfort and encouragement to the suffering, but are unable to do much more for lack of funds. He was asking the members of our Bibles for China team if we would be willing to go into these communities and deliver Bibles, to which we said a resounding, “YES!” He also asked us to tell their story.
I continue to process the sights and sounds of my trip in early April. The beautiful faces of the people. The voices lifted in unison, praising God for multiplied blessings. There were smiles and tears, as we saw people receive their own Bible. I rejoice in that.
However, my mind is still haunted by the faces of those I saw only in pictures. They are the faces of families who have lost fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters…whole families who have died because they lacked resources.
God help us.
I recently returned from a bit of a whirlwind trip to China. Last night, I finally waded through the many pictures and videos from the trip, reliving the memories.
Why did I go to China?
I went to assist in the distribution of Bibles…with government approval.
This was my seventh journey to China.
My first journey, in 2006, to complete our first adoption, opened my eyes to the fact that God was at work in China. I met a few Chinese Christians who were very open and honest about their faith. They helped me see that many of the presuppositions I had about China were not correct. If anything, God’s work was flourishing in the lives of many believers, both within the officially recognized churches and within the “underground.”
On my third journey to China (yes, another adoption), I met a wonderful missionary couple. Their evangelical mission was both recognized and approved by the provincial government in Shanxi Province. In fact, the founder of their mission group was a recognized “hero of the people,” with a memorial statue erected. God was using this committed group of believers, working within the permitted structure, to introduce people to Jesus.
Prior to my sixth journey to China (our fifth and sixth adoption), I met an amazing man. At the age of 77, Wendell Rovenstine’s heart continues to beat for sharing God’s Word with the world. His life and ministry span across the pastorate, college administration and many years with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. When he finally “retired,” God opened his eyes and the doors to China, giving birth to Bibles For China.
It was a God Appointment, that led me to touch base with this organization. My heart for China and a post on Facebook intersected, which led to me sitting across from Wendell at a Chik-Fil-A, just of I-85 in Atlanta, GA. We prayed. We laughed. We shared. God moved.
The “immediate” fruit of that first meeting was the departure of two preachers (me and Pastor Tim Thomas) and a barber (Chad Powell) from Atlanta on April 21, 2015…to distribute over 2,000 Bibles to Chinese Christians.
These Bibles were printed and purchased in China. They were delivered to Chinese Christians who are members of officially recognized churches in the Hubei Province, the most populous province in China. They were placed in the hands of Christians, many having never held their own Bible, who shed tears of joy and sang songs of praise to God for His Word.
Over one weekend, We had the opportunity to visit five congregations. From the very rural, meeting in a former “duck barn,” (pictured above) to the metropolitan, in a building recently erected, I saw God working in wonderful ways. I heard the Word preached with power by faithful pastors. I heard the truth of the Gospel proclaimed and sung. It was moving, to say the least.
I touched hundreds of hands, outstretched for a Bible. Each one touched my heart.I touched hundreds of hands, outstretched for a Bible. Each one touched my heart. Click To Tweet
I heard a few stories, testimonies of God’s Word moving upon hearts in miraculous ways. I cannot begin to put into words the passion for God, for His Word and for His people that exists in the hearts of the pastors with whom I shared meals, times of prayer and testimony.
Scroll up and look at that picture again. Look into the eyes of the Church. The Bibles that are held aloft represent multiplied numbers of people who will come to know Jesus. They also represent literally millions of Chinese believers who do not own a Bible. Multiplied thousands of people come to know Jesus in China, DAILY. The need is great.
The long-term fruit of our trip to China is establishing a relationship with pastors and government officials who are open to non-government organizations, like Bibles For China, to provide Bibles and other resources for the spiritual growth of their people. We are there with their permission and under their supervision. They are gracious hosts, with genuine love and concern for the 60+ million people in their province. We thank them, profusely, for the opportunity. It’s a good thing.
We are praying for God to open the doors for two trips per year, distributing Bibles and assisting local preachers and pastors with encouragement and growth opportunities. Please pray with us. Offer support. Better yet, consider going and handing a brother or sister a Bible. You’ll be glad you did.