“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12).
“The greatest missionary is the Bible in the Mother tongue. It never needs a furlough, and is never considered a foreigner.” — Cameron Townsend, Founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators
Providing God’s Word to the Body of Christ in Asia has been the cornerstone of Asia Harvest’s ministry since we started more than 25 years ago. We still remember how nervous we felt the very first time we approached the x-ray scanner at the Chinese border with a heavy suitcase full of Bibles. God graciously allowed us to get all the Bibles through that day, but on dozens of subsequent occasions we were “caught” and our Bibles confiscated.
Back in those days (in the late 1980s) we sat spellbound as stories were relayed from remote corners of China about the dramatic and desperate need for God’s Word. One report emerged from the mountains of southwest China. A Chinese missionary had visited a remote valley where there was rumored to be a small number of churches. After two days of hiking through the mountains, he was nearing a village when he came across a distraught man on the trail. The man looked like he hadn’t slept for days, and was mumbling to himself.
Alarmed, the missionary asked the man what was wrong and if he could help his state of mind. After calming him down, the upset man said, “I am a Christian, but I am lost and going to hell. I have not heard the audible voice of God, and today is the third day since I became a Christian. I was on my way to throw myself off a cliff at the top of the mountain when you met me.”
The missionary asked the man to take him to his village so he could meet the other believers in the church to hopefully get to the source of the misunderstanding. After much discussion, the missionary discovered the problem...
None of the Christians living in that valley had ever seen a complete Bible. Instead, somehow they had come into possession of a single page of the Scriptures, and that was all they had to base their faith on!
That one page was from the Book of Acts, chapter 9, when Saul was confronted by the Resurrected Christ. Saul was thrown to the ground and heard the audible voice of Jesus ask him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4).
The missionary remained in the valley and taught the believers for several days. Complete Bibles were later carried in to help them gain a more rounded knowledge of the Word of God.
Our Greatest Privilege
The need to get God’s Word into the hands of hungry believers has never left us, although over the years the methods for us achieving that goal have changed dramatically. In the late 1990s we started printing Bibles directly inside China and other countries in the region. In our last newsletter we shared about a new project we are involved with to provide the Scriptures to the persecuted church in North Korea. It is one of more than 50 different Asian languages into which we have been privileged to print and deliver Bibles. In many cases the Christians who receive them have been unable to source the Scriptures for years, sometimes even decades.
Our coworkers frequently travel to remote regions and meet with Christian leaders, who share their great need for Bibles. Often they find a whole region will only have a few tattered copies of the Scriptures. Hundreds of believers are forced to depend on those crumbling Bibles for their spiritual sustenance. Note: The photo below, taken this year, is of a Bible presented to us by Lahu tribal believers in Myanmar (Burma). At least 40 years old, the cover has fallen away, all the pages are loose, and the edges have been devoured by moths.
Our project leader was able to reconstruct the original plates of this Bible and reprint thousands of new copies for the thankful Lahu believers.
Over the years, we have often shared about the need for Bibles in China and other parts of Asia. People have prayed and responded generously, and the number of Bibles we have been able to provide has exceeded our expectations! Yet the need remains great, and countless millions of Christians in Asia are still unable to access God’s Word because of hostile governments, war, poverty, and other reasons.
A Wonderful Christmas Gift
We pray you and your loved ones will enjoy a blessed and restful Christmas this year. As you do, we invite you to consider two things...
Firstly, where does the Bible sit as a priority in your life? Do you read it and long to obey God’s Word? Or has your heart grown cold over the years? Nobody has ever fallen away from God while remaining strong in His Word; and nobody can love Jesus Christ and grow in His grace without first loving His Word. The two are mutually inseparable. Our relationship with God is directly related to our relationship with His Word. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”(Matthew 24:35). It’s not too late to cry out to God. Ask Him to change you and to renew a desire and hunger for His Word.
Please consider how you can help our fellow Christians in Asia this Christmas. We operate two main Bible projects: the China Bible Fund (costing just $1.80 to print and deliver a full Chinese Bible) and the Asian Bible fund through which we have printed the Scriptures for believers in more than 50 different Asian languages, in many nations including North Korea, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and elsewhere.
We know of no greater investment a Christian can make in God’s kingdom than by helping other hungry believers have access to the Word of God. The Bible truly is “God’s Greatest Missionary”.
Whether you would like to participate financially or not, we do ask for your prayer support for these projects, the Lord’s protection over the many workers involved, and most of all, that the Name of Jesus Christ will be glorified in His Church throughout Asia, and lifted up for all people to see and hear the message of salvation. Thank you!