By Lyndsey Koh–Originally published in Mission Network News
Bibles For The World is in the ministry of distributing bibles legally. But with China’s restrictions in the past on the spread of God’s Word, Bibles For The World couldn’t go into China for scripture distributions.
However, China has slowly opened to the gospel, and Bibles For The World’s president and CEO John Pudaite returned last month from the ministry’s very first trip to distribute bibles legally in China.
“First, we were able to give them copies of the whole Bible because many of these believers don’t even have their own Bibles…especially in some of the rural, remote areas,” shares Pudaite.
“We focused our first trip in the province of Yunnan in southwest China and we were able to distribute 10 000 bibles to the Christians in some of the towns, cities, as well as villages in some really remote areas. Also, we took it one step further in that we equipped them with as many Gospels of John as they would take so they could reach out with the message of salvation that is found in that booklet.”
Giving out bibles in China is something that Bibles For The World has wanted to do as early as around 30 years ago when they started sending bibles legally into Russia from India.
Pudaite explains: “When we were involved in that project [of distributing bibles in Russia], a lot of people started coming to us and saying, ‘Well what about China? That’s the largest Communist country in the world. What are you doing there?’ And at the time, it was impossible to send God’s Word into China from outside, unless it was smuggled.”
The problem with smuggling bibles into China was that it went up against the personal conviction of Bibles For The World’s founder and Pudaite’s father, Dr Rochunga Pudaite.
“One of my father’s principles that he held very strongly to [is] that this book, the bible, is the book of the King of Kings. I’m going to carry it in through the front door, I’m not going to carry it in through the back and side door. So our ministry, as a rule, stayed away from those sort of bible smuggling activities, but we continued to pray for an opening so we could do it legally to distribute His Word in China.”
Then just over a year ago, God opened the door. “This opportunity was first presented to us that we could get involved in legal scripture distribution in China, so we started to explore it, we started to pray about it.”
Pudaite took a trip in November to investigate the opportunity and found that the time was right to begin distributing God’s Word in China with Bibles For The World. On this first trip into China’s Yunnan province, emotions were high as many rural Chinese Christians got their very first copy of God’s Word.
“It was amazing. As they came through the line, I would hand them five copies, and someone would say, ‘No, I need more! I need more!’ It really got me excited to see them eager to share their faith, to share the message of the love of God with the people in their village or in their town,” Pudaite shares.
“It was really the first time for many of them that they had received their own bible, but also the first chance for them to have something put in their hands with which they could witness, with which they could share their faith.”
The hope and prayer of Bibles For The World is that these bibles and booklets of the Gospel of John would spark a spiritual revival in the Chinese villages they touch. After all, that type of community transformation is exactly what led to Bibles For The World’s founding as well.
“As I’ve shared before, it took only one single copy of the Gospel of John to come to my grandfather’s village — which transformed that village, transformed my grandfather in that village, and the neighboring villages, and our entire tribe in less than a generation. And this is what we want.”
Pudaite reflects, “Perhaps, in the same way, one of those 300 000 Gospels of John that we distributed on this trip may be planted in the hands and the hearts and the minds of the right people and it will grow in the same way, that it may spread from them throughout their village and throughout their community and the neighboring area and their whole people group.”