China (MNN) — As Tibetan Monks continue to protest against the Chinese government, Chinese believers are excited about the possibility of outreach during the Olympics games in Beijing this year.
China Partner works with the registered church in the country. China Partner's Erik Burklin says, "The China Christian Council is right now working with the Olympic committee to print a New Testament of the Bible both in English and Chinese. It will be handed out as a gift to incoming athletes and foreigners attending the Olympics this summer in Beijing and for the media personnel that are coming in."
Some 20,000 Bibles will be printed. Burklin says the Bibles will also be placed in local hotels.
Burklin says this is all being done in the open and is a chance for the registered church to get involved at the Olympics. "Here we are in the West using the Olympics in a way to evangelize China, and the Chinese are using the Olympics to evangelize the world."
Burklin says this openness is obvious in the marketplace. "In fact, many Bibles are now being sold in bookstores. And there's an increase of Christian bookstores in China. So this is a new China that we are seeing."
While they can't hand out tracts or do open air evangelism, they do have evangelistic plans. "They themselves would obviously like to see the Gospel go out, but they do it more through relationships. One pastor reminded me, 'We are the tracts. As people watch us, we share the love of Jesus Christ to these individuals.'"
China Partners, meanwhile, will continue helping the registered church. Burklin says, "Our next training team will be going to Changdu in Sishuan Province. We have been invited again to conduct further pastoral seminars for lay pastors–for poor lay pastors who come from the countryside. So we'll be there just a few months before the Olympics start."
These seminars will help local believers establish biblically based churches and help train local church leaders.
Pray for the Olympic outreach and for the four seminars that will be held this year.