May 5, 2007
Dear Praying Friend,
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
Central Asia—16,925 Bible studies completed despite severe persecution
In 2006 God has led Bible Network to organise 16,925 Bible studies, placed 644,778 Scriptures, baptised 1,324 new believers and plant 50 new churches in many unchurched areas in Central Asia. “Each new church and new worshipping centre established across Central Asia is truly a ‘miracle’. We praise God for all that He accomplished,” exclaims our National Director in Central Asia.
This result is truly a miracle because persecution of Christians across Central Asia is harsh and real. Governments pass laws to restrict the spread of the Gospel and the registration of new churches. Many new converts who have a Muslim background are often beaten and isolated by their families who attempt to bring them ‘back to their senses’. Many more are fined, imprisoned, stoned or even killed.
The opposition is partly due to the misconception that Christianity is an intrusive import from the West. But recent research discovers that Christianity was practised long before Islam or Zoosticism throughout Central Asia.
This fact has gradually attracted more Central Asians to seek God’s truth. “The Holy Spirit is clearly moving in the hearts of people here,” says the National Director. This is evident in the fact that in one Central Asian country, the number of Bible Network Bible studies completed in 2006 has doubled compared to 2005.
Through the Project Philip program Bible studies, Central Asians are engaged in the study of God’s Word and they receive their own copy of the Bible upon the completion of the study. It is in encountering the Living Word of God that these new believers receive the strength to persevere in their suffering.
“As former Muslims who are now committed to Christ, we have taken a strong stand. Death threats, poison, loss of land and home will not deter us,” says a Bible Network-trained Church Planter. “We must go on to live a Christian life,” he declares.
This declaration can be realised because Jesus Christ, the Risen Saviour, has broken the power of death. We invite you to stand by our suffering brothers and sisters in Central Asia by providing them with God’s Word. Your gifts would help them know the comfort and the power of God’s Word. To place more Scriptures in Central Asia, Click Here
Action Points for Central Asia
. Praise God for the work He has accomplished in Central Asia.
. Pray that God's Word will continue to bring comfort & strenght to persecuted Christians.
. Pray for protection and perseverance for Bible Network workers in Central Asia.
. Place more Scriptures in Central Asia - Click Here
China—God’s Word reaches non-evangelised areas
During 2006, God has opened opportunities for Bible Network to develop new contacts in the north-eastern part of China. For the first time, God’s Word was made available to advance outreach into areas where there is no presence of the Gospel.
In this remote region of China where terrain is rough and poverty is severe, life is difficult. Sometimes there is no rain for a whole year. Not all areas have electricity. “People have been thirsty for rain every year but they are thirstier for the Word of God,” says our National Director in China.
God has heard their yearning and now He is watering this vast but dry land with His precious Word. “This was the first time many people had heard about Jesus Christ,” says a local Christian. “They cried and cried. They pleaded for us to come back to help them,” he recalls.
Slowly and gradually several small churches have been established. But these dedicated Church Planters have paid a high price. Three of them were put in jail for planting churches.
It is true that China is changing. People in the main cities can go to church openly. A recent article from China Vision Online published by Christian Communications also reveals that there is a growing trend even for non-Christians to attend church services during Easter or Christmas time. They are curious about Christianity and they want to ‘taste’ what it is like.
Nevertheless, the risk of harassment or arrest in certain areas of China is still real. According to a news report by Christian Today in early March, 34 Chinese house church leaders in a north-eastern province of China were arrested during their Bible study.
Despite these difficulties, Christians have not stopped sharing God’s Word. “We as God’s children have to preach the salvation of the cross,” says a Bible Network-trained Christian. It is due to these faithful Bible trained Church Planters that 465 new churches—95 more than that in 2005—were planted last year in China.
We are committed to support these persecuted Christians in China who need God’s Word so desperately. Our Risen Lord, the Living Word of God, is their source of strength. Will you join us in sending them God’s Word, so that they may ‘drink’ from this source of strength? To place Scriptures in China, Click Here
Action Points for China.
. Thank God for bringing His own Word to the Chinese people in remote areas.
. Pray that God will protect the Church planters who are faithfully ministering to new converts in their churches.
. Place more Scriptures in China - Click Here