Forty years ago, it was rare for any Chinese Christian to own their own Bible. However, thankfully, things have since changed and today, in most parts of China, Han Chinese Bibles in paper or digital formats are easy to find and access.
Yet for Christians of certain ethnic groups who are surrounded by Muslim families and neighbours, a Bible in their own language is still a very precious gift. Recently, an Open Doors worker had the privilege of giving one of these Bibles to a young Uyghur Christian.
“Jack became a Christian a year ago. He feels he still has to hide his faith 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 most likely 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!”
- Give thank for Uyghur Christians, like Jack, who stand firm in their faith despite the daily risks of persecution. Pray for Jack, and many like him, that they will find ways to fellowship and worship together and to encourage each other, even in secret.
- Pray for more ethnic minority Christians in China to have access to the Bible in their own language.
- Pray for protection over these Christians, as they face persecution from the state as well as from Muslim family members and communities.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in these Muslim areas of China, for many to encounter Christ and come to know His truth and life.
1 Peter 1 vs 22 – 25: “You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. For ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’