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‘All your works shall praise You, O Lord, and Your saints shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your Kingdom and talk of Your power, to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His Kingdom’ (Psalm 145:10-12).

Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Recently, the ByFaith Team went away on a short-term mission. Below is a general overview of the mission. We thank you for your prayers and we ask you to continue to remember our brothers and sisters in China (and other nations) who are persecuted for righteousness sake; for their faith – ‘remember the prisoners [brethren] as if chained with them’ (Hebrews 13:3).

Osama Bin Ladan and Visas
On Monday 2 May 2011, it was announced to the world that Osama Bin Laden was killed 1 week previously by special forces in a private compound / mansion in Abbotabad, Pakistan. This is about 1 hour away from Islamabad and was on our route through Pakistan to China! We had initially intended to fly out 2 weeks earlier, but because of the concern about the snow not having melted on the Pakistan / China passes (the roads do not open until they have melted), we put the date back 2 weeks as the Lord instructed. Then the airline contacted us and put the flight back by 2 days to Wednesday 4 May, which was all part of the Sovereignty of God, otherwise, we would have arrived in Islamabad on the 2 May, the day the announcement was made! We also had problems with the Pakistan High Commission taking so long in an attempt to issue our visas (1 month), that we requested our passports back (and booked an onward flight) and they arrived home just 2 days before our departure.

The Misson Journey Began
With no visas, our flight left London, via Jeddah on the evening of Wednesday 4 May 2011 and we flew into Islamabad in the north as a transit passenger and then on another flight south to Karachi arriving at Midnight on the 6th, where it was 36oC. The Pakistani airline put us up in a hotel outside of the *airport (*with its Fort Knox security, with huge concrete barriers and machine-gun guards) along with other passengers (even though we told them that we had no visa to enter the country, we were in transit). The next day, immigration officials were not happy that we had left the airport compound, but with all our boarding passes stubs we were able to prove that we really were in “transit.”

Kathmandu, Nepal
We flew into Kathmandu, Nepal where we had been in 2003 where we spent two weeks. We met a few Nepalese believers, one of who’s grandfather was British. The Christians, since the King’s disposal (or dethronement, depending how you look at it) a few years ago, now have much greater freedom to worship without repression. In Nepal, we got our visa for China and flew into Hong Kong, where we spent nearly 2 weeks.

Hong Kong and Macau
From Hong Kong we took a day trip to Macau which was a former Portuguese Colony, given by the Chinese for their help in ridding the area of pirates in 1557. There are many Unesco World Heritage Sites, including the front remains of St Paul’s Church that was destroyed by fire in 1835. It has a massive flight of stairs up to the entrance and dates to the 1580s. Inside and down below is a small museum of sacred art and artefacts – one painting depicts Japanese and Vietnamese Christians being crucified in a 17th century persecution – they fled Nagasaki, Japan in 1602 and helped build the church in Macau. However, our primary aim in this area was to visit the Old Protestant Cemetery to see and film the grave of Robert Morrison, the first Protestant Missionary to China. He arrived in 1807 (and died in 1834), saw his first convert after 7 years and compiled the first English-Chinese dictionary. Other famous Brits (alongside other nationalities) are also buried in the cemetery and Morrison’s Chapel is situated in the grounds.

Mainland China
From Hong Kong we took the bus to mainland China where we would eventually spent 2 months travelling from South to North on the Eastern side of China, though as far inland at Xi’an (about 500 miles from the coast) and the end of the Silk Road. In China, we spent the night in sixteen different towns / cities. Much of China is a large construction site, with massive building programs and economic growth with most cities looking alike and a total population of 1.3 billion people. The countryside is quite different, very beautiful and China has a good number of people groups and too many languages and dialects! However, Paul spent a few years learning elementary Mandarin, which was a real blessing and came in very useful when in some cities, no English speakers could be found.

China's Anniversaries
2011 is the centenary anniversary of the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is also the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party in China and the 60th anniversary of the “peaceful liberation of Tibet” as China’s state television (CCTV in English) constantly reiterated!

Bibles and House Churches
One of the GREAT needs in China is for Bibles. The Word of God in simplified Chinese, a full Bible inside China costs just £1.50 ($2.40) each at retail price but are tricky to obtain. (Asia Harvest can print and deliver a full Bible for just £1.20 ($1.80) each!). China is home to the world’s largest printing Press (Amity), though the vest majority of Bibles are for export and the brethren inside China (especially House Church members) struggle to get the quantities they need. This is often from 100 to 100,000s per House Church and they have a very good network of ministry and outreach, within China and beyond, especially along the old Silk Road (between China and the Mediterranean) which encompasses the 10/40 window, of the least evangelised peoples of the world. House Churches are unregistered churches, often so because they cannot register, paperwork is too complex, they get fobbed off, or because the believers refuse to compromise and to be told what they can and cannot preach on. The Second Coming is a forbidden topic by the government’s Three Self Patriotic Church and the book of Revelation is feared!

Aid for the Brethren
Before we went on this mission, we were instructed by the Lord to take aid for the brethren – financial aid so that they could use it for what they needed most. From the Church in the West to the Church in the East (2 Cor. 8:19), one Church, one Body ‘distributing to the needs of the saints’ (Romans 12:13); ‘…send relief to the brethren…’ (Acts 11:29) so that the West’s ‘abundance may supply their lack…’ (2 Cor. 8:14). It was communicated through our research that the needs (amongst many) are: Bibles, bread (food), bicycles (transport) and bail (to get out of jail or to pay fines because of their faith in Jesus Christ).

Persecution of the Brethren - China, Land of Martyrs
Christians in China are still persecuted, especially unregistered House Churches for their faith in Jesus Christ. Many bear in their bodies the marks of Christ – they have been beaten or tortured for their faith. China has truly been a land of Christian martyrs, notably during the Boxer Revolution of 1900 and from 1930 onwards (some of the Northern Provinces when Communist hoards began to go on the rampage); but especially when they came to power in 1949 when all missionaries were expelled in 1950 (many were imprisoned first) and most notably during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1970). Persecution still continues today.

Communism and Persecution
In 1949, the People Republic of China was officially established. From 1950-1955, there was a general pause in persecution across the country as the Communists had full control of the nation, but the 3 provinces of Henan, Zhejiang and Inner Mongolia were chosen for an experimental anti-religion drive by extreme elements within Communist China during 1949-1953. The Movement to Eliminate the Counter Revolutionaries was from 1955-1957.

First Protestant Missionary to China
In 1807, Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary to China was standing in the office of the ship owners at the docks at New York; ready to embark on his missionary career. The merchant, turned from his desk and with a sardonic (scornful or mocking) grin said, “And so Mr Morrison, you really expect that you will make an impression on the idolatry of the great Chinese Empire?” “No sir,” said Morrison with more than usual sternness, “I expect GOD will.”

Morrison landed on Chinese soil in 1807 with a letter of introduction to the United States consular; he noted that as an American citizen, he remained under their protection, but as an Englishman, he dared not be known! Missionary activities were illegal (for Protestants).

In November 1812, A-Fo, a Chinese man approached Dr. Robert Morrison expressing his desire to be baptised, but on the condition that he did not want his brother to know of it. Dr. Morrison explained to him that if his motive was a prudential one (in order to avoid the civil authorities attention, because he would be expelled from the country) then it was allowable; but if he was ashamed to be known as a Christian, it was not.

Christians, Communism and Living Martyrs
In 1949, there was 750,000 Protestant in China, estimates in 2011 vary from 70-130 million! One author noted that in the province of Henan by 1950, ‘there was 100 denominations, by 1970 there was only one Church’ as denominations meant nothing and Christ was everything. However as Western organisations began their ministries inside the closed country, groups of believers gave their allegiance to one or other. The same author noted that ‘1983 saw 1 million arrests and 10,000 executions of ‘undesirable elements’. Nowadays, it appear that the maximum prison sentence for a Christian is 3 years (in the past one believer spent 45 years in prison for his faith!), and as many have testified, they are fruitful fields for the Good News and many churches have been birthed behind closed doors and iron bars amidst much hardship. However, the health of many brethren has been broken due to hardship endured and families have suffered as a result. Asia Harvest calls these brethren “Living Martyrs.”

Divine and Devilish Appointments
We went to China having no contacts, believing and praying for Divine appointments, filming our mission, journey and experiences for a future Christian TV series as part of ByFaith Media’s objectives and calling. We were under no allusion that this was going to be an easy mission and were warned before we departed: “Take nothing for granted,” and to “look into people eyes and ask the Holy Spirit, Can I trust this person?” as not everybody who says they are a Christian (or even a Christian worker) are. They may have compromised in an area, could be a tare, false prophet etc., or a plain government worker, out to catch people or take advantage of them. On occasions, we just walked away from devilish appointments, as we either had no liberty in the spirit and some people could not be trusted.

Chinese Christians Tell THEIR Story
At one church, we observed a woman in her 50s in an adjoining building taking a digital photo of us, presumably to keep a ‘tab’ of foreign visitors. The brethren showed us Psalm 83:2-4, which spoke deeply to us. ‘For behold Your enemies make a tumult, and those who hate You lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come let us cut them of from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be no more.” ’ It was their way of telling us their situation; that as a church (in a visible old style church building) they are persecuted.

Time to Leave!
At another church in different city, we knocked at the big Iron Gate and walked into the compound. After talking, gesturing and communicating for about a minute we were politely shooed out as it was outside of service times. At one hotel, we came back in the late afternoon and the police were inside the reception area and banging on guests doors! After a hotel worker prodded us to go, we decided it was a good opportunity to go out and eat and promptly did a u-turn and left for a few hours! Foreigners are not permitted to stay at any and every hotel (though rules have relaxed since the Beijing Olympics of 2008) and in many respects, there is still an “apartheid” system. When we went to renew our visa, the officer at the Public Security Bureau (PSB) openly stated that she was not sure if foreigner were allowed to stay at the hotel we were staying in and had to make some phone calls! We got our visa renewal after we checked into different accommodation and had the ‘resident permit’ to prove it.

Testimonies and Observations
In another city, a pastor of a House Church informed us that his congregation was not persecuted however, he stated others are. One notable Divine appointment was in a bus station where a woman, after saying a few words in Chinese (and wanting to look at our guidebook) placed a Chinese Bible in our lap. She was full of the Holy Spirit and sparkled with joy. Through a translator (who was a student going to a different destination whose bus left before ours) we were informed that she was a Bible teacher, many questions were asked and answered. We were able to point out the relevant Scriptures (from 2 Cor. chapters 8-12) and entrusted her with a gift (secretly enclosed in a sweet box) for the brethren. We left rejoicing and headed onto our destination and the Chinese sister to hers. To God be all the Glory.

One man in his 30s had never heard the Gospel, though he knew of Christianity and Jesus and thought it incredulous than a Man be raised from the dead after 3 days, but was most interested in a personal testimony of Divine healing. One 18-year old student, a non-believer testified, “I have to join the [Communist] Party, if I am going to get a good job.”

Communism and Revivals
It was VERY noticeable that when the Gospel was shared, or the Christian religion was broached people began to shut down; as the veil over their hearts tightened and OFTEN the topic was changed or just ignored. Three generations of Communism has much to answer for, but the Arm of the Lord is not too short and God is still on the Throne and in control of ALL things and ALL things are under His control. China has seen many revivals since the 1930s and the last 30 years from 1970 onward) where Christians have been revived, sinners have been saved, God has been glorified, Jesus has been exalted and the Holy Spirit given His rightful place within the church in and through surrendered vessels.

Chinese Christian History
We also saw the 7-foot tall Nestorian Tablet (which documents the Nestorians Christians arriving in 635AD, 1172, years before the first Protestant missionary arrived!), the Jews of Keifeng (acknowledged by the government in 2008) where a synagogue stood until 1850, and the grave tomb (monument of Hudson Taylor) who founded the China Inland Mission in 1865. His workers opened up every province of China before his death in 1905. The Protestant cemetery where he was buried was ploughed up in 1965 and a timber yard / warehouses built on the site. His near 7-foot monument had been smashed into 7 pieces, though lovingly found and restored by some brethren behind locked doors which the brethren gladly open and display with loving pride and affection, for such a man of God who did more for China than any other missionary to that vast land.

Mongolia, Russia and Home
After China, we flew into Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia and took the Trans-Mongolian which joined up with the Trans-Siberian train line, on a 4 night, 5 day trip to Moscow, Russia where we spent a few days before flying back to London. Incidentally, Gladys Alyward who took a one-way ticket to China in the early 1930s travelled on the Trans-Siberian line.

“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to EVERY CREATURE” (Mark 16:15).

Jesus said, “…You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM) said, “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered, it is a command to be obeyed.”

Someone once said, “It is not great men who change the world, but weak men in the hands of a GREAT God.”

How to Plan, Prepare and Successfully Complete Your Short-Term Mission – For Volunteers, Churches, Independent STM Teams and Mission Organisations - The Ultimate Guide to Missions

China Facts

  • In the fourteenth century it would take up to 2 years to travel overland from Europe to China! In 1855 it took from 4-5 months from England to China by ship, by 1906 this was reduced to just 38 days. Now it is less than 11 hours by plane!

  • William Carey, the Father of Modern Missions wrote: ‘The Jesuits were sent into China in 1552. Xavier, whom they call the apostle of the Indians, laboured in the East-Indies and Japan, from 1541 to 1552.’ William Carey wrote: ‘The Jesuits indeed once made many converts to popery among the Chinese; but their highest aim seemed to be to obtain their good opinion; for though the converts professed themselves Christians, yet they were allowed to honour the image of CONFUCIUS their great law-giver; and at length their ambitious intrigues brought upon them the displeasure of government, which terminated in the suppression of the mission, and almost, if not entirely, of the Christian name.'

  • Bishop E. Graham Ingham of the Church Missionary Society, recorded in 1911 that it is believed that the first time in Chinese history that females and males relatives sat in public for a meal was at St. Stephens College Kowloon, Hong Kong on the 22nd December 1909 in the presence of eighty people.

  • Jewish traders first entered China via the Silk Road in 250BC
  • Nestorian Christians (Syriac) came to China in 635AD.
  • The Kaifeng Synagogue was built in 1163 and completely destroyed by 1850.
  • John of Montecorvino, a Catholic monk, built a cathedral in Beijing in 1299.
  • The first Westerner in Tibet was Antonio de Andrade of Portugal in 1624.
  • The first church building in Tibet was erected 1626 in Guge (ancient Tibetan kingdom).
  • There was a Russian Orthodox Church in Beijing by 1655.
  • In 1692 a Tolerance of Christianity Edict was issued and soon after Christianity was outlawed!
  • The first Protestant missionary arrived in 1807 (1,172 years behind the Nestorians!).
  • The New Testament was first published in Chinese in 1813 from the Serampore Printing Press, India.
  • The Chinese Old Testament was completed by 1822 and 6,400 copies were printed in Serampore.
  • The Treaty of Nanking 1842 which ended the first Opium War (began in 1839) with the British, opened five treaty ports. But foreigners could not travel farther than 1 day inland.
  • The Ningbo Mission printing press was founded in 1845.
  • The first recorded Protestant martyrdom was Walter Lourie in 1847.
  • 1850 saw the first Swedish Missionaries arrive in China.
  • The Tai-Ping Rebellion was first recognised in 1850 and arose in Southern China under Hung Siu-ts’üen and swept over the central provinces.
  • By 1853 the Tai-Ping's were in possession of the larger part of the Yangtze Valley, including Nanking, the former capital of the Chinese Empire. 20 million people died during the Rebellion; less than half the number who died under the Communist's (Chariman Mao's) policies and reforms a century plus later.
  • In 1855, there was between 25-30 missionaries in Shanghai. By 1860 they had increased to 70.
  • The Treaty of Tientsin in July 1858 opened up nine more ports and the right to travel and trade.
  • Under a French Treaty missionaries were permitted to enter.
  • A Treaty of 1860 opened up China.
  • An Edict of Religious Toleration of 1860 was issued by the Taipaing Rebels to foreigner to live amongst them in the areas under their control.
  • October 1861 saw the first Chinese Protestant martyr.
  • The First Protestant convert in central China was baptised on the 16 March 1862 at Hankow under Griffith John, a LMS missionary
  • In 1865, James Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission and before his death in 1905, every Province of China was opened to the Gospel.
  • In 1868, under a French Treaty foreigners could buy land in China.
  • The Wei Church in Hiau-Kan village was the first chapel in central China erected by the converts themselves in c.1881
  • An Imperial Edict of June or July 1891 gave the right of missionaries to pursue their calling and religious freedom and protection to their converts from the magistrates.
  • First martyr of the China Inland Mission (CIM) was William Fleming in November 1898.
  • 1900 saw the Boxer Revolution where 10,000s of "Boxers" (trained fighters) tried to eridate Christianity from China.
  • The Taiyuan Massacre of July 1900 saw the largest number of missionaries killed in China at once – 46 off; 34 Protestants and 12 Catholics.
  • The Salvation Army arrived in China in 1916.
  • In China in 1927, the Communist motto was ‘Better 10,000 innocent victims than that one anti-Communist escape.’
  • In the 1930s there were 500,000 bandits roaming in China in gangs, ranging in size from 100 to 10,000!
  • WWII for the Chinese began in July 1937 when the Japanese invaded.
  • In 1949 there was 750,000 Protestant in China.
  • In 1949 the People Republic of China was officially established and missionaries were expelled from the country.
  • 1950 saw the first Catholic Bishop in China to be martyred, Bi Xushi (Pi Shu-shih) of Shenyang in Liaoning Province.
  • All Christian school were closed under Communism in the 1950s.
  • By 1952, all but a few foreign missionaries had left China.
  • In 1967, 10,000 people were killed in Beijing by the Chinese authorities.
  • In 1980 there was a relaxation of religion, where churches could be registered.
  • The Three-Self Patriotic Movement and the China Christian Council are the official, state sanction bodies for Christianity in China
  • In June 1981, one million Bibles were smuggled into China in 1 day on a submerged barge! This event would eventually changes China’s policy on printing Bibles and the Amity Press was birthed.
  • The year 1983 saw terrible persecutions for Christian in China and a Bible would cost a farmer a months wage!
  • In 2008, Beijing hosted the Olympic Games.
  • Presently there are 2,370 cities and Counties in China and a population of 1.3 billion!
  • Christians are still persecuted in China and Bible are still desperately needed.

    ‘To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin’ (James 4:17).

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  • The Great Commission
  • Lessons To Be Learned
  • Ambassadors For Christ
  • Evangelism and World Mission
  • Dynamic Visits and a Fresh Anointing
  • The Link Between Missions and Revival
  • Are Short-Term Mission Trips Effective?
  • How to Plan, Prepare and Successfully Complete Your Short-Term Mission (book)

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