China (MNN) — While there appears to be a renewed openness toward Christianity in China, one organization says the need for Bible is still great in the most-populous nation in the world.
President of Vision Beyond Borders Patrick Klein says a downturn in the economy is affecting the Chinese people, too. "What we've been hearing now is there are a lot of factories being shut down in the south and a lot of people out of work."
Klein says lead in paint and other quality issues have forced factories to close. But he says that's provided evangelistic opportunities. "It opens the doors because people are more open. They're searching for the truth now. Usually when these young people come in from the villages, they get into making some money; they get into the partying lifestyle." Now, many have nothing.
According to Klein, that means Christians need to be ready. But there's a problem: they need Bibles. "Currently over one million pastors are waiting for a study Bible," says Klein.
Some reports suggest that more than enough Bibles are being printed in China. Klein says, "A lot of the Bibles that are being printed there are not for the Chinese people and are not in the Chinese language. They're for export. There are not very many Bibles being made available to the church in China."
Vision Beyond Borders is helping by smuggling Bibles into China. But even that's been difficult. "People are saying there's no need to carry Bibles into China any more: they're printing them inside. A lot of people have backed off from going to China and carrying Bibles in. And, pastors are saying, 'We're desperate for Bibles. Please bring us Bibles!' So, we're trying to get more people that will come and help us carry Bibles in."
He says you can help. "If businessmen are going in to Beijing or even Shanghai–wherever they're flying–they would take a suitcase full of Bibles. We'll give them the Bibles and the name of a contact to give them to. We need to get Bibles in there, especially to church leaders."
According to Klein, there's very little risk. "If you get stopped at the border, they'll just take the Bibles away from you. They don't deport you or anything like that. You just go back, pay a little fine, pick them up and carry them across another border."