Are You Praying for China?
January 29, 2020
Here's something to praise about ...
Thru the Bible’s president, Gregg Harris, recently visited Hong Kong to investigate potential outlets for more ministry in China. Let’s visit with him as he reflects on how God is at work.
Gregg, you recently visited Hong Kong—wasn’t your trip during the recent riots?
Yes, it was a time of tension and genuine concern. When I asked a key church leader based there, he said the government will wear the protesters out—"they’ll never back down.” This has relevance to our ministry in places controlled by governments.
In many parts of the world, governments are clamping down on free speech. In places like Russia, Iran, and China, politics will affect our ability to preach the gospel.
Some ministries that work in China aren’t perceived as a Chinese ministry, so they're not as popular and governments are even more suspicious of them, but FEBC actually started broadcasting to China in the 1940s from inside the country. If you remember recent history, 1949 was the year of China’s cultural revolution, when Mao Tse-tung expelled all foreign Protestant missionaries.
During the years China was closed to outside influence, missionary experts stated that about half of everyone who came to Christ first heard the gospel through radio—that’s tens of millions of people. So we're very privileged to be working with FEBC. They mostly make their own programming, but they love Thru the Bible’s content and mission and welcome us to join with them.
What if China doesn’t allow Christian programming on the radio?
That’s a good question—and timely. We’re talking right now about re-producing our Mandarin and Cantonese program. This is a big deal—1300 programs X 2 languages. But when you realize these programs are in the heart languages of 20% of the world's population, how can we not press forward?
What makes ministry effective in China?
What FEBC models for us is ingenuity and perseverance—critical skills when doing global ministry. There are always unique complexities to deal with; it’s almost never straightforward.
For example, FEBC is very effective on digital platforms. They use a popular texting service called WeChat. The government knows everything they're doing and lets them do it. But then, without warning, they just shut down their account.
Recently, Raymond said they had around 10 million users when the government closed their account. “What did you do?” I asked him. “We started a new account,” he said. People eventually found them, and the audience builds back up again.
See why these international partnerships are so important? Our ministry partners know their culture, they understand what works, and they apply tremendous grit and grace in getting God’s Word out there. We could never do this ourselves. Pray for these men and women, God’s servants in Hong Kong.
I have often felt we need to do more to reach China with God’s Word and so I've been looking for new opportunities. I think this is God’s direct answer for a path forward in taking God’s whole Word . . . to China.