On May 12, 2008, China was wrecked by a deadly 8.0 magnitude earthquake which struck the province of Sichuan leaving 5 million homeless and 15 million people displaced. The death toll reached 69,226 according to the latest official records. Nearly 9,000 children died when their schools collapsed in the earthquake while more than 5,000 children were orphaned. There were 18,627 people reported missing and 374,643 locals were badly injured.
The earthquake’s epicenter at Wenchuan made the counties of Beichuan, Wenchuan, Pengzhou, Dujiangyan, Mianzhu and Shifang, the most severely hit counties in the region.
Never was there are greater need for more Bibles and other Christian materials that would bring comfort to the grieving. The local pastor shared God’s words of encouragement to the congregation as some question the sovereignty of God with regard to the calamity. The new believers needed the assurance that God is good and that He has not forgotten the Chinese people.
In Beichuan County, the local government has relocated students of junior and senior high levels to schools in other cities. However, there were no plans for children at the kindergarten and primary levels. This need spurred Christian volunteers to build tents housing temporary elementary schools for young children. They also became teachers and taught in these made-shift schools.
When Rev Dr Miller Milloy, the General Secretary of the United Bible Societies (UBS), pledged to the churches in China all the scriptural resources that may be needed for the people in the affected areas, 30,000 copies of the Catholic Studium Biblicum Version and 40,000 of the Protestant Chinese Union Version were delivered to the churches. These bibles were given to Christian survivors who have lost their bibles in the earthquake and for those who did not previously own a copy.
In addition, UBS also supported the TSPM/China Christian Council in distributing 100,000 Scriptural booklets with selected verses of encouragement and comfort from the Bible to all affected by the disaster.
|Earthquake survivors in An County holding “Words of Encouragement” scriptural booklets.
Photo by TSPM/CCC
Article written by: Ms. Pamela Choo & Ms. Zhang