China (MNN) — Picture this: you arrive at a venue, and people are lined up on both sides of the street, cheering, waving, smiling, taking pictures, and reaching out to shake your hand as you pass.
What has just been described? You get three guesses to figure out who just arrived on the scene. Did you guess a famous musician? A celebrity? A world-famous athlete? While it happens for those people, the scene for this story is set on a much more humble stage.
If you are with a Bibles For China team, this is what greets you when you arrive at a local church in rural China. Chief Operating Officer Barry Werner is quick to note that the hoopla is less about the team and more about what’s coming. “It’s a spontaneous celebration the moment you arrive with a Bible. It’s God’s Word: the most precious thing they’re ever going to receive. They don’t want to miss one moment. Let the celebration and the praise begin!”
Bibles For China works at the invitation of the local Chinese Church to come in and not only celebrate what God is doing there, but also to help equip the believers with Bibles. No two distribution points are the same. When word gets out that a BFC team is on its way, people will walk all day to get to a church for their own copy. Then, they will wait for hours for the team to arrive. To them, what’s a few hours of waiting compared to a lifetime? Werner says their joy is overwhelming–contagious, even.
In a report from the May and July teams, Werner says at one pastor asked His people to spend some time in prayer thanking God for the gift of the Bible. “The people all began to pray softly, out loud. The pools of tears at their feet said more than any language barrier ever could stop. You could immediately sense the emotion of the people that had God’s Word in their hand after such a long time.”
Some areas are more rustic than others. The rigors of travel can be challenging. Poverty crushes the life out of some villages. Yet, Werner says, over and over, “They will be amazed, to some extent, almost awestruck by the poverty juxtaposed against the generosity of the people.” Sometimes, he notes, they’ll buy enough fruit to feed a village and offer it to their guests to honor them for sharing the hope of Christ through God’s Word.
The scarcity of Bibles in these rural areas is less due to availability and more due to accessibility. Even though hundreds of thousands of Bibles are available for purchase, the poorest of the poor can’t afford to buy one.
Providing thousands of Bibles to people who may have been waiting decades for a Bible tends to bridge a lot of language barriers. Werner says, “We forget about the relationship and the interpersonal reactions that can take place when we don’t speak the same language and we have no cultural background that’s anywhere similar; yet, because both of our hearts are cut for Christ, we share that moment.”
Here’s where you come in, Werner says. “We have an in-country partner that will match Bible for Bible, up to 10,000 Bibles, and they’re $5 apiece. So for anybody that helps with that, the impact is doubled.” BFC has been running the match all summer for the November trip. Right now, they still need 2000 Bibles to get the maximum on that match, but time is running out: September 1 is the last day of the the match. Click here to see how far your $5 goes.