Why Go on a Bible Distribution Trip?

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Ivan Lim (1st, left) in a group photo with the mission team and local Chinese believers. Photo: Ivan Lim

Reflections of a Mission Tripper to China

Adapted from reflections of Ivan Lim, a Singaporean mission tripper to Shaanxi and Gansu province, 14-23 Oct 2017. The trip was organised by United Bible Societies and Bible Society of Singapore.

SINGAPORE – It was my first Bible Distribution trip to China. I had questions before the trip. Why is there a need to distribute Bibles personally? Couldn’t we just contribute money and get the Bibles printed and distributed locally?

Upon my church friends’ encouragement, I decided I should go and see for myself what it was like.

90-year old couple receiving a free copy of the Bible

I marvelled at God’s majesty and His love for China during the trip. I learnt that from 1966 to 1976, during the Cultural Revolution, Bibles were banned and when found, were confiscated and burnt. Today, Amity Printing Company (partnership between United Bible Societies and Amity Foundation) is the largest Bible printing press in the whole world. Indeed, God’s Word will not be silenced.

During the trip, I was often put to shame by the love and fervour of the Chinese believers for God. I hear stories of how the Bible school students would huddle together to keep warm in winter and of how older folks in rural areas would walk to church at two in the morning to be on time for Sunday services.

The Chinese congregation would respond with “amen” in unison during prayers. The ongoing prayer and fasting of the Tianshui congregation for God to grant a place to worship also moved my heart.

Love draws and binds us together

I also learnt to better appreciate the term “guanxi” ( 關係 ). Loosely translated to ‘relationships’ in English, the traditional Chinese characters embed a rich meaning.

The character ‘guan’ (關) is equivalent to a pass or a gate while ‘xi’ (係) has a human component to it. Put together, the word “guanxi” tells us how important human relationships are to access open doors.

Upon deeper reflection, I realized that ‘guanxi’ may give us access to various organisations and groups in China but it’s God’s love that binds these relationships together.

Free medical check-ups for the rural folks and kids. Photo: Ivan Lim

The same love is foundation to the “guanxi” that Elder Zhang in Tianshui, Gansu province has with the authorities for them to entrust to him the running of the old folk’s home. It is also this same love that motivates Elder Zhang to know the residents personally to reach out to them. God’s love will continue to be instrumental in the furtherance of His Kingdom in China.

The trip was indeed an eye-opener for me.

Not forgetting that the Bible was banned 50 years ago, I am thankful that ‘guanxi’ with the authorities has been built on God’s love so that doors of China will remain open.

See more photos of the mission trip here.

2017 © United Bible Societies China Partnership