China (MNN) — Many Christians working in China say, "Whatever you've heard about China, it's probably happening somewhere in China." With a population of over a billion people and very diverse geography and demographics, that saying is probably true. However, one organization says they find that sharing the Gospel is easier than expected.
President of Voice of China and Asia Jonathon Brooks says China has a history of persecuting Christians. He says that history has been pretty recent. "There was a drive to register all churches and to find out where all the Christians were in China. It turned out to be a situation where it was used against them. So, we have believers in China in the underground church who will never be a part of the registered church because of the historical instances that have happened to them."
Brooks says that situation appears to have changed. "Those who have registered have freedom to worship, as long as they worship in church. So it's really a wonderful opportunity. If we will work openly and legally, we can work with the registered church which is wide open to spread the Gospel at this time."
The only legal Bible in China is printed by Amity Press. According to Brooks, "These Bibles are the most desired because they have no ties to the outside. Nobody has to answer why they would have a connection to the outside to get a Bible from outside China."
These Bibles are only distributed through 70 distribution points. From there they go out to 55,000 registered churches.
That doesn't mean, however, that every Chinese Christian has a Bible. Brooks says, "The rural believers are so far from town and their income is so small that they wouldn't know where to go in town to get a Bible. Second of all, they don't have the funds to do it. It would take up to three or four percent of their annual income to go into town, if they knew where to go, to find a registered church, and buy a Bible."
That's why Voice of China and Asia is raising money to work with the China Christian Council to get Bibles into the hands of rural Christians. "Voice of China and Asia is purchasing Bibles that are legally printed in China. They are delivered to the delivery points that we would like to go. Then we're given access to go into the churches in those areas to distribute them."
This goes against everything Brooks had thought about Bible distribution in China. A few years ago, he was asked to sponsor 1,000 Bibles. He agreed, but only if he could see the Bibles delivered. When he got to China, he asked to see the Bibles. The vehicle was opened. As he took pictures, Brooks couldn't believe they could do this openly in China. That day, they delivered 300 Bibles to a registered church without any problems with the government.
Your financial support is needed now. "This year, 2010, we're believing the Lord for 30,000 Bibles. And we hope to increase that to at least 50,000 next year. The only limit we have on us is the amount of [money] we have to purchase Bibles," says Brooks.
He adds, "People can purchase Bibles with us for $5 a Bible. Some purchase what we call Bible six packs — six Bibles for $30. Or some people can purchase an entire case of Bibles for $120."