China (MNN) — The May 12 earthquake in Sichuan province has opened doors for Chinese
Christians to share the Gospel, reports Open Doors’ Director of China Training
whose name is withheld for security reasons.
He recently traveled to Chengdu, China
and found that the church there has many more opportunities to witness than it
had before. Prior to the earthquake, the
church was rather weak. Sichuan province has one
of the smallest percentages of Christians in the country – only one or two
is a poor province, and churches are not very strong,” he said. “One church we visited–a small church with
about 40 households –lost half of their members because the Eastern Lightning
(a Chinese cult) attack caused them to discontinue believing. Pastors struggle with
poor surroundings and hilly roads when they make their rounds. But the earthquake may have changed all that.”
The earthquake and the reality of death have increased the
openness of survivors to the Gospel. Also, authorities are grateful for the ministry of Christians to
patients in hospitals. 69,000 people died
in the earthquake, 18,000 are missing, and five million are homeless.
Many Christians survived the earthquake and immediately set
about ministering to the needs of others. At their own expense, they delivered food, water, and medicine to areas missed by government
relief. Many local
people heard the Gospel and were touched by the love of Christ.
Also, Christians from other cities are forming groups of
volunteers to travel to Sichuan
province and minister long-term. Travel
restrictions would have prohibited this travel before the earthquake, in light
of the upcoming Olympic games. Groups of
17 and 30 people, some of them nurses and doctors, will bring generous
donations to the area when they come.
Open Doors is providing medicine and tents for people without shelter after the earthquake, and basic necessities for school
children. As schools reopen, Open Doors
hopes to establish medical programs for students who may be malnourished.
The ministry would also be able to minister to families
through the program, providing trauma counseling and helping parents build
strong, loving families. It may also
establish a Family Enrichment Program and replicate marriage courses offered
elsewhere in China.
“Satan had been trying to destroy these families by making
them believe lies that a family member is not as important as supporting the
state,” said the Director of China Training. “A strong family…results in a strong church.”