Thursday, June 5, 2008

Earthquake opens a door in China

The May 12 earthquake in Sichuan province has opened doors for Chinese Christians to share the Gospel, reports Open Doors’ Director of China Training whose name is withheld for security reasons. He recently traveled to Chengdu, China and found that the church there has many more opportunities to witness than it had before. Prior to the earthquake, the church was rather weak. Sichuan province has one of the smallest percentages of Christians in the country – only one or two percent.“Sichuan is a poor province, and churches are not very strong,” he said. “One church we visited-a small church with about 40 households-lost half of their members because the Eastern Lightning (a Chinese cult) attack caused them to discontinue believing. Pastors struggle with poor surroundings and hilly roads when they make their rounds. But the earthquake may have changed all that.”
The earthquake and the reality of death have increased the openness of survivors to the Gospel. Also, authorities are grateful for the ministry of Christians to patients in hospitals. 69,000 people died in the earthquake, 18,000 are missing, and five million are homeless.Many Christians survived the earthquake and immediately set about ministering to the needs of others. At their own expense, they delivered food, water, and medicine to areas missed by government relief. Many local people heard the Gospel and were touched by the love of Christ.Also, Christians from other cities are forming groups of volunteers to travel to Sichuan province and minister long-term.
Travel restrictions would have prohibited this travel before the earthquake, in light of the upcoming Olympic games.Groups of 17 and 30 people, some of them nurses and doctors, will bring generous donations to the area when they come.
Open Doors is providing medicine and tents for people for people without shelter after the earthquake, and basic necessities for school children. As schools reopen, Open Doors hopes to establish medical programs for students who may be malnourished.The ministry would also be able to minister to families through the program, providing trauma counseling and helping parents build strong, loving families.It may also establish a Family Enrichment Program and replicate marriage courses offered elsewhere in China.“Satan had been trying to destroy these families by making them believe lies that a family member is not as important as supporting the state,” said the Director of China Training. “A strong family…results in a strong church.”
As in the days of Noah...

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