Singapore — “It was as if scales fell off my eyes,” remarked Tan Eng Kwang, age 29, a Christian ministry staff, when asked about his thoughts on “The Bible Comes Alive” seminar.
Close to 100 participants congregated at St Andrew’s Cathedral for a public seminar on Bible ministry in China on 29 March 2014.
Held in conjunction with the launch of a photo book published recently entitled The Bible Comes Alive: Window into the Christian Church in China, organiser Rev Peter Chen spoke about the seminar’s two-pronged objectives. The first goal was to introduce to the public the glorious work of God in China by giving an updated perspective on the Christian Church in China. The second objective was the hope that participants would come away, more encouraged and eager to support China Bible missions.
Archdeacon Ven Low Jee King kicked off the meeting by introducing the involvement of the Singapore Chinese-speaking churches with the Church in China. Mutual trust and cooperation has been developed throughout the years of partnership between the churches in Singapore and China.
Introducing the Photo Book
Many participants were awed to see the photographs selected and explained by the book’s photographer and co-author Jimmy Lam in the next session.
“The photographs in the book speak volumes. They are indeed an eye-opener on the marvellous things God has been doing in China….” These were just some of the murmured praises all around the hall, as Jimmy presented photo slides after slides on what went on behind the scenes.
“I came out of these trips, humbled by what I saw. The faith of the Christians in China far surpasses mine; the Church in China is not a backward church in a third world country. It is a dynamic and growing Church!” with these words Jimmy concluded his photo presentation.
Spread and Impact of God’s Word in China
The next speaker, none other than the Director of United Bible Societies China Partnership (UBSCP), Kua Wee Seng, shared how God has miraculously turned the Bible from a banned book to a bestseller in China within a couple of decades.
“I wish to illustrate the impact of God’s Word in China through the powerful testimonies of many individuals who shared their stories of faith with us, “Wee Seng said, after which he went on to share snippets of real-life faith conversion stories; one of which was a tear-jerking story about a young HIV-infected boy who lost his father and mother to AIDS, and he himself succumbed to the disease in the end. But, he passed away knowing the Jesus who would save him.
Not surprisingly, the audience was just warming up to hearing more remarkable testimonies when time ran out. The Church in China is one of the fastest growing churches in the world, with the officially recognized Chinese Church experiencing an average growth of 1.0 million believers a year over the past one to two decades. Yet, more can be done to reach the 1.3 billion non-Christian Chinese, which comprise ¼ of the world’s non-Christian population.
When The Rt Rev Dr John Chew came on after the recess, he gave an outline on the strategic partnership established between the Singapore Chinese-speaking churches and the Church in China, and their friendship with the Chinese Religious Affairs Administration.
Bishop Chew gave glory to God for being the prime mover behind the Singapore Church’s partnership with the Church in China, which developed over six-phases beginning in 1991. Over time, this strategic collaboration was not only strengthened but synergised with cooperation in the area of academia, community and social services in both China and Singapore.
Many projects sprung up as a result of this partnership, a recent one namely the “Adopt a Province for Bible Distribution and Ministry” by Singapore Churches.
Many of those who attended the seminar were those with at least some knowledge in China missions. Nevertheless, most when interviewed said that they had gotten more insights into the current church situation in China after the talks.
“The sessions have indeed been educational for me. I work with the mainland Chinese students in YMCA and the information presented gave me a better understanding in my work, “said Ms Boo Hui Ling. Her comments like those from Tan Eng Kwang’s earlier, were typical of those UBSCP asked during the seminar. Many were grateful to the organisers for arranging this seminar; some asked for more information in ways they could support China Bible missions.
Judging from the long queues to purchase the photo book The Bible Comes Alive where all proceeds will go into China Bible ministry, support for Bible work in China was at an all time high that morning.
Towards the end of the seminar, UBS Director-General Michael Perreau and Ezekiel Tan, General-Secretary of Bible Society of Singapore, both graced the event by giving words of encouragement and exhortations. Mike Perreau first introduced the United Bible Societies Fellowship. He then encouraged participants with a simple real story of an elderly Chinese woman who love the Bible so much she trekked for miles to a ceremony where free Bibles were distributed. Ezekiel paid tribute to the many Singaporeans in the past and present who have contributed to Bible missions in China, calling them ‘unsung heroes’ whose contributions were invaluable.
After the uplifting speeches, many participants left the seminar with a sense of awe to the one great God who makes all things possible in a country once closed to Him; and with a sense of humility to know that believers in that country has so much love for God, for His Word, and for His people – as Rev Peter Chen reminded us in his closing remarks.
Pamela Choo is also the co-writer of the photo book, “The Bible Comes Alive”.
Story: Pamela Choo
Edited: Cynthia Oh
Photos: Jock Foo
2014 © United Bible Societies China Partnership