China (MNN) — Even as the U.S. braces for one of the worst weeks since the COVID-19 crisis began, ministries are mobilizing their responses using their areas of influence.
Sometimes, the connections aren’t immediate. For others, existing networks and partnerships expedite a hastily-assembled plan of action. The same is true for Mission Cry, which is today sending out two sea containers to mainland China by way of Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
Executive Director Reverend Jason Woolford explains why he moved urgently to prepare sea containers. “There are going to be over 100,000 people impacted with the Gospel there. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not be saved in and be at Ground Zero (the epicenter of the pandemic), but then what it is to be saved and be forgotten about… This is a great way for people to truly be missions-minded: giving somebody a Bible and a Christian book that wanted to have it.”
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on global economies, healthcare systems, and infrastructure, as well as taken its toll on families. People are desperate for hope. In the silence of a deserted marketplace, it is the Christians who are using technology to reach out. As the lockdown in China lifts, face to face interactions build on the relationships begun in quarantine. They’re going to need resources to share.
What can we do?
Although the Amity Printing Press in Nanjing prints Bibles, accessibility remains an issue for the average Chinese person. Bibles and Christian books are expensive, but desired. Woolford says Mission Cry merely connects the dots between supply and demand. “Per people’s home(s) in America, they have six Bibles sitting on the shelf. That’s the average statistic”, he says, adding that while the materials they send are written in English, their in-country partners make sure the recipients can read the language. Resources don’t go to waste.
Woolford encourages folks to take a look at their bookshelves and look for what might just be sitting and gathering dust. From commentaries to devotionals to Bibles, “People can take them from their homes and send them to us. We have people who bring them from their churches when they update their pew Bibles; we have organizations who will partner with us in sponsoring our NASB Mission Cry Bible at $2–and that ensures us receiving it, printing it, and then putting it in the hands of someone, for free, overseas.”
The sea containers headed for China cost $11,000 apiece. Even though the first one is going out today, he notes that there are two more awaiting shipping. “With this pandemic, our donations have gone down. Right now, we have the ability to send three sea containers. We have the materials to send, but they’re not sponsored.”
Who can help?
Long after the harshest effects of the Coronavirus pass, believers in China will still be sharing the hope of the Gospel in their neighborhoods, communities, and provinces. They will continue to face their own challenges, but Woolford challenges us, as the body of Christ, to walk in faith with them. “It’s easy to give in the good times”, he says. “But if you want to get God’s attention, give and do something when things are rough. That’s the only thing that God says that we can test Him on.”
It starts with the first step. Maybe it’s helping get these materials to China. Maybe it’s helping to provide resources. He asks why not be a part of getting God’s Word around the world? “I can just imagine God calling the angels over to the balconies of heaven and saying ‘there! Look at my son, or look at my daughter, and what they’re doing in a time like this!’”
(Headline photo image courtesy phys.org/news/2017-08-d-movie-virus-action.html/Flickr.CC)