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A Burning Need for the Word of God in China

September 15, 2017 by Janelle P in

Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) and Buddhist Background Believers (BBBs), notably Tibetan believers, are found to be the most persecuted  Christian groups in China. Open Doors has shifted focus towards serving  them. Chinese official statistics stated that there are around 6.4  million Tibetans and over 20 million Muslim populations in China. One of  the burning needs that MBB leaders and BBB leaders shared with us is  Bibles, not Mandarin ones which people can easily access online or in  government-registered churches, but Bibles in minority languages such as  Uyghur, Kazakh, Tibetan, etc.

Many MBBs and BBBs are surviving under the radar of the Chinese authorities. Muslims and Tibetans in  China have their own languages, and many of them can’t speak Mandarin, which is the most common language used in China. Additionally, there is a significant need for audio and video presentations of the gospel, as many of these believers are illiterate. Although China has  experienced rapid economic growth and urbanization, most of the areas that BBBs and MBBs live in are remote areas far from the coastal  regions.

To translate the Bible into those languages requires a lot of spiritual and financial resources. It also requires careful planning on how to safely bring the Bibles to BBBs and MBBs in China.

“We need as many Bibles in our own languages as possible,” Patrick*, a MBB  church leader expressed. “We don’t know where to find them, so please bring as many as you can. Many brothers and sisters need them!”  

When a local MBB received the Bibles in his own language, his eyes were brightened as if he had spotted a treasure. He held them close to his chest and said, “Thank you so much, brother! I’ve been dreaming about having a Bible for so long!” We later heard that he gave his Bible to a friend who was very interested in reading it.

Since early 2017,  increasing security control and restrictions have been enforced in Xinjiang. This aims to control potential extreme Muslim activities and avoid conflicts between Muslims and Christians. Heavily armed police forces guard every street, day and night. Checking of people’s bags and even cell phones are frequent in public areas, e.g. in shopping malls, in cinemas. Hence, delivery of Christian books and electronic materials would be easily discovered and risky.

Despite these challenges, Open Doors strives to support MBBs and BBBs with contextualized Christian materials in their own languages.  As some contextualized materials for MBBs are available in China, we connect with Chinese partners in producing and delivering such materials to the hands of MBBs. We also support MBBs to develop their own contextualized  materials

“It is important for Tibetans to have Bibles in their own language. I once met with a Tibetan believer who graduated from university in China. He was not used to reading from a Chinese Bible. I showed him an Indian Bible. He preferred to read an Indian Bible and asked me for this Bible as a gift. Indian is a language close to Tibetan  language,” shared by Xiao Yun*, China Field Director of Open Doors.

Xiao Yun also told us that Old Testament in Tibetan language is important  for Tibetan believers to worship the only true God under their culture of polytheism. “I understand we have to worship the only true God when I read the Old Testament. The Lord repeatedly blamed the Israelites for worshiping idols,” said one Tibetan believer. 

Open Doors joined a partnership with a couple of overseas groups in translating the Old Testament into the Tibetan language, which is a huge project, requiring long-term commitment. To test the quality of the Old Testament in the Tibetan language among Tibetan believers, we plan to publish a few books in a year or two. Because many Tibetans are illiterate, an audio Bible  (New Testament) in three major Tibetan dialects, namely Khams, Amdo and Central Lhasa, is being developed.

Please pray that:

1.  The Lord would protect MBBs, BBBs and co-workers serving them when they meet with each other to develop and deliver Christian materials.

2. MBBs and BBBs would continue be faithful to the Lord and live a life that’s worthy of His calling.

* Names changed for security reasons

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3 responses to “4 things you need to know about the escalating India/China conflict”

  1. Why only pray for Christians. Why not for humanity. Hinduism is not a religion. It is a group of more than a thousand sub religions sharing common theories. Like karma theory…
    There has been forceful conversions of uneducated and poor Indians by Christian organizations. Which is what Hindus cannot tolerate.
    Again you are making baseless accusations like thousands of Christians left homeless.
    India is a democratic country where there is lot of freedom for press and media. Not any one of them mention anything to the extant you have written.

    Omnipresent god has created all beings on earth not only Christians.

    If Christian god is the true god, let him appear in sky and ask all of mankind to worship him. If he does so then I would have no hesitation converting to Christian faith.

    Where is YOUR god hiding. Why is he not able to stop killing of innocent children near Gaza strip, Palestine and many more countries.

    The concept of god is man made.

    Why didn’t he stop 9/11.

    Religion is a excuse for torturing innocent people who don’t believe in their god.

    Until people blindly follow religion, the world will never be in peace.

    Hinduism is one of those religions (actually Hinduism is a way of life and cannot be called a religion) on the face of earth that doesn’t call for its followers to kill or injure those who don’t believe in its philosophy. Actually even other indic religions like Buddhism and Jainism also stress on ahimsa(non violence)

    You eat animals, but if they were to speak, they would have called you terrorists.

    A terrorist is one who causes harm to any creature created by god.

    All meat eaters are terrorists.

  2. North India is the most affected area by these extremists.But, the rise in communal tension is increasing throughout the country.But, Our LORD Jesus is with us all and HE will bring about a much expected revival amidst this slowly growing persecution !!Amen 🙂

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