China Update: From the Frontlines
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens... a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 7).
As we come to our final newsletter of the year, you would probably agree that 2020 took an unexpected course that few of us had anticipated. The Covid pandemic has affected all of our lives to various degrees.
If you have read our newsletters over the years you will know that Asia Harvest has been a consistent voice and advocate for the Church in China. This year, however, we have felt it was a season when we could better serve God's people in China by being a little quieter than usual.
As the verse at the top of this page says, there is a time to be silent and a time to speak. The Apostle Paul knew the importance of discerning the seasons and following God accordingly. Paul once boldly declared: "I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 21:13), but on another occasion he was hidden inside a basket and lowered over the wall of Damascus to escape from those who wanted to kill him (see Acts 9:20-25).
During this year, our newsletters have mostly concentrated on our work in other countries of Asia, but we have continued to wholeheartedly serve the Lord in China. In partnership with our co-workers, the China Bible Fund has continued to operate strongly, and 2020 is shaping up to be a year when we will print and deliver more Chinese Bibles than any other year in nearly a decade.
The situation for believers in China has been extremely difficult, as Xi Jinping and the Communist Party gradually prepare for what seems like a final assault to try to rid Christianity from the country once and for all.
The Body of Christ, however, has grown to such a size under Communism that they will find it impossible to completely eradicate God's people. Instead, the authorities have been putting plans into place to corrupt the Gospel. By doing so, they hope to control the Church and ultimately render it powerless and subservient to the Communist system.
To that end, the government has openly announced plans to "reinterpret" the Bible and other religious texts, so they will have "socialist characteristics". A glimpse into what that might look like was seen recently when a government publisher altered the ending of the account of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. Their blasphemous version now has Jesus concluding his talk by saying: "I too am a sinner," instead of, "Go now and leave your life of sin."
For the record, we would like to state unequivocally that Asia Harvest will never be involved in producing any such Bibles, nor would any of the believers we work with consider using one.
The battle lines are drawn. Please pray for our precious brothers and sisters in China. This year, tens of thousands of house church pastors and evangelists have gone missing, especially in those provinces with a large concentration of Christians.
Most of those tens of thousands are still alive, but in preparation for the struggle ahead, they have gone into hiding. They have completely disconnected from all phones and computers, because those devices are used by the government to track their location.
Furthermore, each person in China must have an ID card. It is impossible for a person to catch a flight or train, open a bank account, get a job, or rent an apartment without using their card. Each ID card contains a computer chip which is also used to track people's movements. Many Christian leaders, before they go into hiding, have placed their cards inside a microwave oven for a few seconds, which ruins the chips and renders them useless.
In this final newsletter of 2020, we would like to share a powerful recent testimony from the Church in China. It is a wonderful example of how the kingdom of God has grown so powerfully in China, despite seven decades of efforts to crush and suppress God's people by the God-hating Communist Party.
We have also included our latest China Bible distribution map, showing the provinces where each of the Bibles we have produced over the years has ended up. By the miraculous hand of God, the project continues to operate full steam. As long as the Lord continues to hold the door open, we plan to keep helping our brothers and sisters in the Chinese house churches have access to God's Word.
If you would like to support the China Bible Fund, donations can be made by mailing a check with the enclosed yellow Response form, or by giving either one-time or monthly support via our secure website.
Thanks to the grace of God and your prayers and generous support, a few months ago Asia Harvest passed the milestone of 13 million Chinese Bibles printed and delivered to house churches in China. We receive detailed reports, allowing us to keep track of the Bibles we print and to create this distribution map. On behalf of all the grateful believers in China, thank you and God bless you!