American Missionary Smuggles Bibles to Persecuted Tibetan Church
by Chad Groening
(AgapePress) A Christian layman with a heart for missions recently returned from a mission of his own to one of the most remote and desolate places on Earth. His assignment: deliver two Tibetan language Bibles to members of the underground Church in that country.
"George" cannot reveal his real name because he plans to return to Tibet in the future and does not want to jeopardize his next mission. The American factory worker says he felt called to missionary work after he visited China in 2000.
"I just began to seek the Lord and ask what direction would He have me to go. As it wound up, a door opened to Tibet and I was able to deliver Bibles to the underground Church," he says.
George says he faced expulsion or possibly even arrest had authorities discovered the Bibles in his luggage at the airport. At one point, he says God clearly intervened at the airport in Tibet, when a baggage checker let him through security just as police started walking toward him.
As the police approached, George says he thought "Well, maybe this is it." But when the checker told him he could go, he picked up his bags and went on through the checkpoint.
"That was a frightening moment, but God protected me. He delivered us, and we put the Bibles into the hands that the Lord intended," he says.
George says the Communist government authorities do not look kindly on Tibetans getting hold of God's Word. "They would look at it as a political offense -- a direct offense against the Communist government -- and that's bad news," he says.
The missionary notes that being caught smuggling Bibles would have meant police harassment and possible deportation for him -- but for his escorts, who were Chinese citizens, the consequences could have been far more serious.
"More than likely they'd just harass me and kick me out of the country and I would never be able to return. But the ones that are Chinese that are with us -- it could mean their life, or long-term prison sentences," he says. He notes that many Chinese Christians have received extensive prison time for much smaller offenses.
Tibet, which was liberated by Communist China in 1950, is estimated to have as few as 300 Christians, who are sandwiched between the oppression of communism and Buddhism. While Chinese persecution of Christians is severe, Buddhists who convert to Christianity endure many obstacles as well.