How uncommon is it to own a Bible in China? Thirty or forty years ago? Extremely uncommon. But thankfully, things have since changed. In most parts of China, there is now easy access to Han Chinese Bibles in paper or digital formats. Yet for Christians of certain ethnic groups who are surrounded by Muslim families and neighbors, a Bible in their own language is still a very precious gift. Open Doors worker Peony recently had the privilege of giving one of these Bibles to a young Uyghur brother.
Jack became a Christian a year ago. He feels he still has to hide his faith for now, as his father is a communist party member and his uncle is a devoted Muslim who serves as a teacher in a mosque. If his new faith were exposed, the consequences would be serious—his uncle would surely beat him, and his father would probably expel him from their home.
When I met Jack, I had two books in the Uyghur language with me, and asked him to identify them for me. He told me that one contained Luke and Acts, while the other was the New Testament, Genesis and Exodus. When he saw the latter book, his eyes lit up, and he asked if he could have it.
When I gave it to him, Jack was thrilled. He took the Scriptures to his lips, kissed them, and said, “Now I understand why a voice told me to carry my backpack along when I left home today. I didn’t see any need to do it, but I’m glad that I obeyed. It is to carry this Bible! Now I can hide it in the backpack and no one from the street or my house will see it.”
Because of his reaction, I thought perhaps this was the first Bible jack had owned, but he explained that a friend had given him one a year before. When authorities began searching for Uyghur Bibles in his community, he buried the book. Sadly, he couldn’t find it again once the situation cooled.
After hearing how he had lost his last Bible, it was a joy to see Jack holding the new one so tightly in his arms.
“I have been praying for another Bible and God sent you to bring me this gift today!” he said. “Thank you so much!”
While Christians in most parts of China have gained greater religious freedom in recent years, Open Doors continues to work with persecuted Christians from Muslim backgrounds. These isolated believers are placed in contact with Christian groups in other parts of China so they might gain encouragement and spiritual support. Persecution-related training and Christian materials, especially for those who have the passion to serve, are provided in the hopes of strengthening these persecuted believers who risk much for the sake of the following Jesus.
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*representative name and photo used for security