Monday, March 22, 2010

New Opportunities for the Gospel in China, Haiti

According to Christian Today, the U.K.-based Bible Society has reported a growing demand for copies of the Bible in China where an estimated 500,000 people convert to Christianity every year. Although some four million Bibles were printed and distributed across China last year, the rapid growth of the church year on year means that demand for Bibles is now outstripping supply, according to the Bible Society.

The official number of Christians in China stands at 28.6 million, but it is believed the true figure could be as high as 90 million if the estimated number of worshippers at unofficial house churches is included. To deflect the cost, the Bible Society subsidizes the cost of printing Bibles. Keeping the price low is vital for Christians living in China’s rural heartland, where 70 percent of churchgoers are found and half the population live on less than $2 a day.

“As more and more people are joining the church they are asking for a Bible,” said Bible Society’s China Partnership coordinator Kua Wee Seng. “This is a time of opportunity in China. Many of us feel that we mustn’t miss this opportunity or people will turn to something else, other than Christianity.”

A time of great opportunity that should not be missed is also presenting itself in Haiti where, following the catastrophic Jan 12 earthquake that killed 230,000, many are turning against voodooism. As it is said, “Haiti is 80% Catholic, 100% Voodoo!” Unthinkable before, a group of voodooists were stoned at a recent ceremony showing that Haitians are overcoming their dread of the deadly practice. In a famous picture by Associate Press now flooding the internet, Haitians are seen destroying objects that were to be used in a voodoo ceremony in the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday Feb. 23, 2010.

Pat Robertson got into trouble for saying it, but most Haitians are now owing up it might as well be true, that the ceremony of Bwa Kayiman, where thousands, led by the freedom-fighter Boukman, had sacrificed a wild boar and sought the help of “spirits” to liberate Haiti from oppressive French rule in 1791 has been affecting the fortunes of the country to date. Then a slave, Mr Boukman, ran from his French owners and led the revolution that got independence for Haiti. Voodooism had since become an established national pastime in the country.

Of course, it is insensitive, and most probably incorrect, to attribute the earthquake in Haiti to a curse! (Catastrophic earthquakes have occurred all over the world, and Voodoo is not the only way of serving the devil!) Nevertheless, the current disenchantment with voodoosim in Haiti represents a unique opportunity to preach the unadulterated gospel. This more so as “missionaries” of cult organizations such as Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and Scientologists are already reportedly having a field day in providing “earthquake relief” in port-au-Prince. (, also

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