Can you imagine what it would be like to be handed a copy of the story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the moment you stepped foot into a new country?
Gets off train.
Greeted by locals.
Handed copy of the Story of Jesus.
Christian or non-Christian, you would probably feel: 1) somewhat shocked 2) welcomed intentionally by locals and 3) like the Gospel is a priority in the place where you just arrived
How and where does this happen you might be wondering? Not in a way you may be thinking and certainly not in a place one would consider ‘safe.’
Cue John. He and his family are working in China. John works as a printer, primarily of Christian materials, and one of his sons who lives and works there with him happens to have a Masters Degree in Chinese. John and his son aren’t just any normal printer and translator- they as a team are an extremely proficient printer and translator as John has printed more than 20 million books in China over the past 30 years.
What makes this feat so remarkable? Not only the fact that John has printed 20 million books, but also the fact that these books, the majority of them Christian, have been printed in China- a nation that is considered hostile to the Gospel. As a communist country, it has a culture with a history of oppression and persecution of Christians and the Church. For John, his family and those helping him do what they’re doing in the place that they’re doing it is nothing short of a miracle.
Of the 20 million books that John has printed over the years in China, at least 5 million of them have been Story of Jesus booklets printed in Chinese over the past five years. These books are short, simple and colorful depictions of the Gospel that can be easily understood by people of all ages and people that are familiar or unfamiliar with the Gospel. It’s through these Story of Jesus books that thousands of people entering Macua and Hong Kong are receiving a copy of the Gospel within minutes of entering these cities.
John doesn’t do this feat alone, though. He has a team of 100 or so volunteers who help him distribute these Story of Jesus booklets by including them in welcome bags as people arrive in Macau and Hong Kong from Mainland China. The bags these SOJs come in are not shy about what message lies within them either- each bag is colorfully decorated with various Christian decals and contains maps and other free coupons from various businesses to go along with a copy of the Story of Jesus. According to John, he and his team are passing out a whopping 100,000 copies of these Story of Jesus books in Macau and Hong Kong every month. That’s a comparable number to the circulation rate of some of the most read newspapers in the United States such as The Times, The Post and The Daily News!
What the Lord is doing through John, his family and his team in China is truly remarkable, and it reminds us of the importance of sharing the Good News. John reports that over this last year, more than 300,000 decision cards were filled out and returned to him identifying individuals who wanted to make a decision for Christ. These names are then passed on to local church leaders inside China for further follow up. In the month of February alone, more than 50,000 decisions for Christ were made! Despite this success, John and his team aren’t stopping- they’re set to print approximately 1.3 million more copies of the Story of Jesus over the next year to pass out, including digital copies that will be distributed via micro-SD cards to individual’s electronic devices.
Evangelism is ever-evolving and in an age dominated by the digital world, John has found a niche and an opportunity to use his talents and resources to spread the message of Jesus in places that drop the world right in his lap. Sometimes sharing the story of Jesus doesn’t require us going to the ends of the earth, but going to the places where the ends of the earth come to us- like an airport, train station or bus terminal. If you have a moment, say a prayer for John and his ministry and give thanks for the work he is doing in a place that desperately needs it!