Report from China – Nick Pritchard

From October 25th to November 13th Keep Believing Ministries had staff and supporters ministering in China and South Korea. Each day this week you’ll be taken on a journey to apartment churches, city walls, and into the heart of Christianity in Asia. We hope you’ll join us back here each day to read the stories, see the pictures, and rejoice in what God is doing on the other side of the world!

Nick lives in Chicago, Il and has been to China 3 times including living in the Hebei province for a summer while he taught English. Join him on a bike ride along the city walls of an ancient capital of China.

 

 

 

 

 

Jason (our guide for the trip): “We’re going to ride bikes on the city wall.” (said in a plain and matter-of-fact tone)

Nick: “What?” (trying to find a frame of reference for this statement)

Jason: “We will rent bicycles and you will ride around the city wall.” (same matter-of-fact tone…apparently he wasn’t joking)

Nick: “What?” (currently expressing some incredulity)

This exchange pretty much sums up my experience in China. It is a country that constantly laughs at our US frame of reference. There are more people, buildings, cars, mopeds, and flashing lights in China than you could imagine. On top of that, it has a history that dwarfs anything in the western world. Seeing and experiencing the vast expanse of China firsthand is what makes explaining it to those who have never been so difficult. Where and how do you even begin? Given that, it should not have been surprising when we were told that we were going to be riding bikes on one of the oldest and most intact city walls in the world. And yet, it was.

The current wall around the city of Xi’An has been around, in some form or another, since the Ming Dynasty in 1370. The wall measures about 8.5 miles in circumference, 39 feet in height, and between 49-59 feet in thickness at the base. No matter where you stand within the confines of the city wall you can feel its imposing presence. And there we were, standing on top of this massive, ancient structure about to go for a bike ride.

It cost us about 8 US Dollars to rent and ride bicycles on top of the wall. The first thing you notice, besides the hundreds of uniformly white bikes waiting to be rented, is the cobble stone paving across the top of the wall. The second thing you notice is the lack of shock absorbers on any of the hundreds of uniformly white bikes waiting to be rented. You wouldn’t realize it at first, but you’d be wishing you had the shock absorbers by the time you made the final turn to head back to the rental office.

About a mile into the ride I realized that this was one of the coolest things I had ever done and that I would likely never do anything this unique ever again. The beauty of the ride was that it gave me a passing view of some of the more unexplainable things about China.

  1. The ride around the city only reinforced the size and sheer expanse of China. The total area within the wall is about 5.4 square miles but what stuck out to me during the ride was how many square miles the city of Xi’An expanded beyond the city wall. Every direction outside the wall boasted tall buildings as far as the eye could see. So what if some of the vision was blocked by the haze that constantly covers the city?  There are so many buildings everywhere that you constantly find yourself playing the skeptic. There cannot possibly be enough people to inhabit these buildings. China currently has 94 cities with over 1 million residents – compared to the 9 in the United States. Sound ridiculous? By 2025, that number is supposed to jump from 94 to 221 cities. According to Chinafaqs.org, by 2025 nearly 1 billion people will live in China’s cities. Maybe if that isn’t completely mind boggling then this might be:  Conservative estimates show that approximately 25% of the world’s cranes are located in China. Very liberal estimates put this number closer to 50%. It is all so absolutely incomprehensible.
  2. You cannot visit Xi’An and not be immediately hit with China’s storied history. Xi’An is China’s former capital and has a history dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). In the middle of the city are both a drum tower and a bell tower. Both towers were erected in the late 14th century and were used to tell the citizens of Xi’An what time of day it was. Both towers were visible throughout the entire ride. There is also a museum on the east side of the city that boasts ancient stone tablets that are over 1,000 years old. The stories on the tablets range from the mundane (a draft of a letter) to the historical (a Nestorian tablet on the history of Christianity in China). These towers and tablets have been around and preserved longer than anything we, in the US, can claim. And this is just the tip of the iceberg in China — to speak nothing of the Terracotta Soldiers or the Great Wall. So when people ask what China is like I always hesitate because I am not sure there is an answer that would do the country justice.
  3. There was something spiritually moving about biking around the city of Xi’An. As we made slow right turns around the wall I kept thinking about God’s statement to Paul in Acts 18:9-10:

     “And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”

It was encouraging to think that God also has His people in Xi’An. In a city that expands beyond where the eye can see and in a country with people too numerous to count, it was a great reminder that God is doing work in a complex and unexplainable land. As we rode I prayed that God would continue to raise up more people from within those city walls. To raise up men and women that would call Him “Lord.” To raise up men and women that didn’t put their hope in historical structures or a vast history but who put their hope and trust in a God that sustains those things with a breath.

The ride concluded without much incident. It would take days for my body to recover from the constant shock of the wheels over the cobble stones. The lasting image from the wall, however, was not one of pain but one of hope. God has his people inside those walls. Let us rejoice at such an awesome thought. Then let us ask God to use us to make His glory known to a people in an unexplainable land.

From Dallas To Jeju!

This is a busy time for Keep Believing Ministries!

Right now there are two teams from KBM ministering in Asia. One of the groups, led by Dr. Pritchard, is in China visiting with, praying with, and worshipping with the folks in China who listen to our broadcasts. The other team, myself and Vanessa, are in Jeju, South Korea teaching the book of 1st Peter at the Word of Life Bible Institute.

We arrived in Jeju last Saturday, I preached on Sunday, we did some sight seeing on Monday and then today we just finished our first two sessions on 1st Peter.

After two hours of teaching, we’re only to 1st Peter 1:13 — we’ve got quite a bit to cover between now and Friday. The students are fantastic, the food is fantastic, the campus is fantastic. Things are pretty fantastic.

Enjoy this short video of our time here so far!

Check back tomorrow for teaching updates and student interviews!

Mark

Pastor Ray on American Family Radio Today

KBM: China is On Air!

At 10-11 AM CDT today Pastor Ray will go live on air to talk about Keep Believing Ministries and our China project.

You can listen/watch live >>>HERE<<<

Join Pastor Ray for an hour of conversation and information on China you’ll get nowhere else!

See you there!

Mark

P.S. Please, pass this email along to anyone you know who may be interested in China!

The Savior From South Beach

“Chicago,” said one eager student.

“No, not even in the right country,” I answered.

“New York?” said another eager but equally confused student.

“No, try again,” (laughing and drawing a map on the board) I answered.

“Miami, with Dwayne Wade!” said one student enthusiastically from the back row.

“No, still in the wrong country.” I said, as I pointed to my hastily drawn map of the world.

Then, like an avalanche, cities from all over the world were blurted out.

“Paris!”…”Moscow!”…”Berlin!”

The map hadn’t helped.

As easy the answer is to most of us, most Chinese people can’t tell you where Jesus Christ was born.

Jesus of Nazareth

I had asked the question, “Where was Jesus born?” during a culture class about Christmas. To be sure, the answers they gave were not what I expected. However, these questions led into a lengthy discussion about Jesus, creation, the Bible, and salvation. They were shocked to hear that Christianity didn’t start in New York City but in a small village in Israel. To most of my students, Jesus was as real as Santa Claus or as plausible as the creation narrative. To them he was a candy bar, a Buick, or Pizza Hut — he was imported from the West.

Jesus for China

Just yesterday we broadcast the sermon, “Does Jesus Live In China” from the series “Truth on Fire.” This message focuses on Galatians 5:19-26 and the choice Christians have to live according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. We hope this broadcast reaches Christians throughout the nation and encourages them to live in such a way that Christ would be seen in China. May our brothers and sisters live in the Spirit and by doing so bring their co-workers, classmates and family closer to the carpenter from Nazareth.

Pray

Will you take 30 seconds to pray for our brothers and sisters in China?

  • Pray that Christians would live boldly by the Spirit for all to see.
  • Pray that the proclamation of the Gospel would be accompanied by lives that reflect inner transformation.
  • Pray that God would continue to raise up godly young men and women to testify that Jesus is not the savior from South Beach but the Savior of the whole world.

Cults and the Chinese Church

We often hear reports from inside China about the government and its continued crackdown on the house church in china. While this is one of the most challenging aspects of being a Christian in China, it’s not the only difficulty that faces our brothers and sisters. Alongside the government persecution is the ever-present threat of false teaching from the various cults within China. Watch this video below from Pastor Peter as he addresses the issue of cults in China:

Would you take 1 minute right now and pray for:

  • God’s protection for our brothers and sisters from all kinds of evils. – Psalm 121:5-8
  • The pastors to preach the Gospel with boldness and in all Truth. – John 16:3

Would consider giving financially to support our ministry to the pastors and the people of China?

  • A gift of $12.50 provides one minute of biblical teaching to be broadcast to a possible 878 million listeners.
  • A gift of $55 provides a pastor with biblical resources to assist with evangelism and teaching.
  • A gift of $750 covers the cost for one sermon to be broadcast to a possible 878 million listeners.

Either click the “Giving” tab up above or just click here.

KBM: China – Ministry Update

Our 67th Broadcast!

Today marks our 67th broadcast into China, as well as the start of our new series “Galatians: Truth on Fire.” This series will walk listeners through the book of Galatians verse by verse over the course of 16 different broadcasts. After broadcasting, the sermons are then stored for streaming and download at our mandarin language website, www.jianxinzhenli.com.

From time to time, we receive emails and text message from our listeners in China giving feedback and asking for prayer. We wanted to share a couple responses with you today so you can get a sense of the response and need within China.

From a listener in Zhejiang:

“Greetings! I often log on to the website ‘Keep Believing’ and gain lots of help from Pastor Ray. May I ask what help can I offer for ‘Ministry in China’? Lord be with you!”

From another listener in China:

“This is the first time I had contact with you. Thank God that I had the opportunity of listening to gospel radio station since I was a teenager. Formerly, there were no churches here. Occasionally, someone would drop by to preach the “gospel” but not according to the truth of the Bible. Some people still believed in the message though. I am very weak in spirit. I only got a Bible indirectly by God. I thank God for that. When I worked out of town at my young age, I was not cautious enough and was inflicted with Hepatitis B disease. Several years ago, I was found to have the symptoms of hepatocirrhosis. Since then, I have no longer had health inspection with respect to my liver. I have already failed one marriage. Perhaps it was because my spouse discovered my liver disease and deserted me. That was the time when I was smitten to an extremely painful state due to the divorce. Yet I thank God, for He has not deserted me. Two years ago, I met my present wife whom I love. She was married before and has one daughter. I love her and her daughter. She also loves me. However, I have not disclosed to her about my liver disease because I am afraid that our marriage may be affected. Ever since she has become pregnant, I felt a bit regretful. I feel that I should not have married her. I am really sorry for her. She should have found another man better than I. Besides, I am afraid that my liver disease may have been transferred to her and the fetus. I feel myself very irresponsible and sorry for her. I really should not have married her.”

We continue to be encouraged by the feedback we receive and hope that you’ll be encouraged by it as well.

Keep checking back for more updates from the field!

 

Three Prayer Requests for China

Persecution of Vacation Bible Schools in Xinjiang Province is Escalated

In our last prayer update, we made you aware of a situation in Xinjiang where local authorities were breaking up summer meetings of the local Vacation Bible Schools. This persecution has been escalated to not only include the detaining and physical abuse of the leaders and teachers of the program but now it also includes the students that were attendance.

Requests for Prayer:

  • For the children who experienced the abuse and intimidation of the Chinese government – that they would find peace and comfort in their Savior.
  • For those still detained – that they would have courage and find strength in the sufferings of Christ.
  • For the authorities – that they would see the truth of the Gospel and become agents of change for Christ in their province.

You can read the full story here.

Local Government in Yunan Province Confiscates Bibles and Terrorizes Han and Minority Missionaries

In the southern province of Yunan, authorities have continued their persecution of Han Chinese missionaries called to preach the Gospel to the Wa minority group. This targeting of Christians has ranged from door to door Bible confiscation all the way to unjust detention.

Requests for Prayer

  • For the Wa minority group – That the church would continue to flourish and that the persecution would embolden their hearts to preach the Gospel.
  • For the persecuted missionaries – That they would not find discouragement in their persecution, rather that they would take comfort in the words of Jesus in John 15:18-25 and the promise of the Holy Spirit in John 15:26-27
  • For the authorities – That in confiscating these Bibles they would begin to read the Word of God and as a result have their hearts transformed.

You can read the full story here.

Authorities in Shaanxi Province Target House Churches, Confiscate Officially Published Bibles

The authorities have stepped up their long running crackdown of a house church in the Shaanxi Province. This latest round of persecution involved the confiscation of officially published and legally purchased Bibles.

Requests for Prayer

  • For Ms. Xia – Hers was the house that was raided, so pray for protection and continued boldness for the Gospel in the face of opposition.
  •  For Li Yongliang, head of the Law Enforcement Team of the Baihe county Culture, Radio and Television Bureau – That he would begin reading one of the Bibles he confiscated and come to know the Living God.
  • For the other bureau officials: Bai Jiangen, Qin Rengui, Ma Hanchuan, Deng Yulin – That God would soften their hearts to the church in Shaanxi and that they may begin to meet other Christians in positions of influence who would lead them to Christ.

Get Involved:

Call the number listed below (speak in Chinese if possible, or pray for them in English) and ask them to return the Bibles to the house church from which they came.

Office phone number: 011+86-915-782-0901

You can read the full story here.