Saturday, April 06, 2013

Waiting 50 years for a Bible

I was at a conference in Belgium 30 years ago. A young Chinese girl living in the West had returned from China, where she had visited believers in underground churches. She had photographs, one of which is burned in my memory.

"How many of you have Bibles?" she had asked. "Hold up your Bibles." They had held up their Bibles. Their faces were radiant. Their Bibles were two pages torn from an exercise book with several Bible verses written on them in pencil.

In recent years the authorities have permitted Bibles to be printed in China. Times have changed somewhat. But it's reckoned that about half of China's estimated 100 million believers still don't have a Bible. The appropriately named American organisation Bibles for China has just returned, having given out 20,000 copies of the Bible in Mandarin to rural Christians.

Some of the recipients had been following Christ for 40 years without access to the Scriptures. One of the recipients was 91. He had waited 50 years for his first Bible, and was overwhelmed that someone should have travelled so far to give it to him.

You can see a video of Chinese Christians receiving their first Bibles here. The origin of the video is unknown.