China (MNN) – Remember the story about Jack and the house that he built? This is kind of like that.
This is the house that God built. This is the Bible that planted a seed in a rural Chinese village in the house that God built.
This is the hand that gave out the Bible that planted a seed in a rural Chinese village in the house that God built.
This is the church, that supported the hand that gave out the Bible that planted a seed in a rural Chinese village in the house that God built.
That, in a nutshell, is the whole story of Bibles For China. President Wendell Rovenstine says their mission is simple. “We want to get bibles into China because it’s estimated that over 40million people, Chinese Christians that need bibles. So we see that as a great need. That’s our passion. That’s our love. That’s what we are endeavoring to do.”
Bibles For China invests. They invest in people, in churches and in generations. That’s especially true of an upcoming trip this fall. Rovenstine explains, “We’re looking forward to this November going with a strong contingent of Y-Gen, the younger generation of students that have raised money for themselves to go and meet the need of presenting bibles to rural Chinese Christians that are desperately in need of God’s Word.”
Why Y-Gen? This is the group of people born roughly between the 1980s and the 2000s. The Next Generation of the Chinese church is roughly this age. More and more, ministries are aiming teaching, discipleship and evangelism programs at this age group in China because they will be the leaders of the Church.
Things like this have a way of snowballing. Take, for example, the aforementioned November distribution trip. Bibles For China asked Mission Network News (MNN) to come along to see firsthand what they do in rural China. At the same time, a freshman in a Grand Rapids, Michigan high school, Matthew Bliss, began taking his first Chinese class at school.
Matthew’s mom, Ruth (also the producer at MNN), accepted Bibles For China’s invitation. Discussions about this trip began, and soon, Matthew wondered if he could join the trip. Why? It was part of his faith journey.
Although he accepted Christ when he was a toddler, it took a while for head knowledge to become heart knowledge. He says, “I’ve been going to church for a while, but, especially in middle school, I was kind of ‘I’m going to church. That’s ok’. But I started to listen and then it was more enticing to want to go on a missions trip.”
That, plus the added interest of the language, a family heritage in China and the quiet prompting made him take the first step. While raising the funds for this trip, he told people, “The situation in China right now, with Christianity, is beginning to take a better shape. Not only would I like to be part of that, me being there and distributing Bibles, but (also) it would help it grow.”
Meanwhile, Matthew’s home church, First Baptist Church of Spring Lake, started looking for a special missions project for their Kingdom Kids’ (ages 5-10). Ruth floated the idea of letting the kids collect change for Bibles that would be handed out on the November trip. $2.50 (helped by a matching grant) bought one Bible. The kids eagerly embraced the idea and the coins started flooding in. Some did extra chores around the house. One boy collected the eggs his family’s chickens were laying and washed them off for extra allowance so he could add more to the Bible collection.
They weren’t alone. When the middle-schoolers and teens got wind of the ‘Change for China’ idea, they also started collecting coins. Then the adults started collecting change. Within three months, FBC raised enough to help purchase a little over 500 Bibles that Matthew, his mom and the team will be distributing in November.
Matthew doesn’t take support like this lightly. He’s kept his eyes on the mission the whole time. He says knowing the Word of God anchors your faith in Christ. “I get to see people that don’t have ready and available access to the Word of God and they’re going to be getting access.”
You could say that this is a form of vision-casting. This November team will be an intimate part of building on the kingdom of God, one brick at a time, to finally finish as a house that love built.
Although the November team is full, new teams are forming now. Click here if you’re interested in discovering more (please put ‘Welcome’ in subject line).