China (MNN) — In 2020, the world was rocked by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The economic, social, and psychological impacts of the pandemic and accompanying restrictions still reverberate through many people’s lives. But what about things in China, where the first outbreak began?
Among other things, Kurt Rovenstine of Bibles for China says unemployment rates remain high. After “two or three years of shutting factories, people [are] waiting for things to restart, and that doesn’t kick off [very] quickly.”
Even though most restrictions have been lifted, the way many people live their daily lives has changed. “There’s a little bit of a loss of ambition,” Rovenstine says. “People had plans and goals and aspirations, and now there’s not quite so much of that.”
But how does this affect the church in China? Unsurprisingly, it creates some practical obstacles. “We’re seeing an increase in Bible costs, which is [the] result of the economic situation, which makes[…] what we can do a little more difficult.” If you want to help support Bible production financially, you can do that right here.
Plus, not every restriction has been lifted. In China, some restrictions were put into place during the pandemic that were minimally connected to controlling the spread of COVID-19. “We’re really stepping back and looking at, ‘How are those restrictions that weren’t strictly COVID-related going to come back into play?’” Rovenstine says. “‘Will they add more?’”
Bibles for China works with the legal and registered church in China. As a result, “[w]e have some opportunities [that] others may not. But we still wonder if there’s not more to come that might make life difficult for all believers within China.”
Rovenstine says Christian leaders can step up to the challenges facing the people of China. “There is the opportunity to speak into people’s lives when they’re facing discouragement and an uncertain future. [They’re] not sure what the next couple of years will hold in terms of, ‘Can we pay our bills, can we keep our air mortgage, can we take steps forward that we had planned to take before all this happened?’
“I think the church can step in and give words of hope, in terms of the Gospel.”
People are feeling desperate, both emotionally and spiritually. “[They’re asking,] ‘How can I have hope in the midst of my crumbling dreams?’ And so my prayer is that the Church takes advantage of that, speaks into that, and offers true hope, not hoping that things of this world.”
Pray that God would equip the Church in China to respond in the face of these crises. “I love the idea of these younger people whose whole perspective of where they’re headed has changed. Maybe [they will] have the opportunity to refocus on on true hope, rather than on hope that changes with every shifting wind.”
Header photo courtesy of Unsplash.