China (MNN) — China-U.S. relations remain tense this week. China made its territorial ambitions clear on Friday, reestablishing its authority over Taiwan and Hong Kong. During his state-of-the-nation report, Premier Li Keqiang confirmed China’s desire to bring what it views as a Chinese province under its control:
“We will encourage them to join us in opposing Taiwan independence and promoting China’s reunification. With these efforts, we can surely create a beautiful future for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
The autonomy of these regions is one of many sticking points between the U.S. and China; in fact, President Trump threatened to cut ties with China several days ago. The dynamic is complex, as explained here, with tensions revolving around several factors – trade, finances, COVID-19, and technology, to name a few.
It’s still unclear how potential U.S. policy changes will affect ministry, but Bibles For China and its partners are ready to go. As soon as officials lift COVID-19 restrictions, “we’re ready for just a bunch of Bibles being handed out to individuals by our local partners, hopefully in the very near future,” Bibles For China’s Kurt Rovenstine says.
Pandemic pauses Bible distribution
Bibles For China works with partnering Chinese churches to get legal bibles into the hands of rural believers. Learn more here. Rovenstine says Bibles for China has helped provide God’s Word to remote churches since 2011.
“The mandate for us is to provide Scriptures to those who cannot or would not have it otherwise. The avenue may change, but that mandate remains.”
When COVID-19 emerged at the end of last year, it brought most of Chinese society to a screeching halt. While for-profit businesses suffered, the shutdown brought a small benefit to Bibles For China and its partners. “We’ve gotten ahead of schedule in terms of projects that we’re working on,” Rovenstine says.
“The roads are open and so they’re getting [Bibles] from the press to the locations where our local partners are ready to hand them out to the individuals who need them.”
Unfortunately, life isn’t “back to normal” yet in China. New coronavirus outbreaks cropped up recently in northeast provinces. Many churches throughout the country remain closed, Rovenstine says, which means local partners can’t distribute Bibles to rural believers.
“Right now, the church is still closed [and] to the best of our knowledge they will not meet this coming Sunday, other than some online platforms,” he says.
How to help Bibles For China
Most headlines about China may be politically-focused, but you can use them as a reminder to pray. Pray for peace and ask the Lord to guide Bibles For China’s leaders.
“With some of the changes in policy, the politics, the COVID crisis – only God knows what tomorrow holds. We need to be ready to continue to do what God has called us to do,” Rovenstine says.
“There’s not much we can do about it other than pray that the doors remain open. From the very beginning, Bibles for China has relied upon the direction of the Holy Spirit and the opening of doors that are well beyond our ability to understand,” he continues.
“We’re confident that will continue to happen in our ministry; God will open doors in spite of some of this stuff.”
Header image is a representative photo obtained via Wikimedia Commons.