The "Under-the-Ground" Bible
I remembered when I was young my great-grandmother telling me about Noah, but here I was at 18, reading about the flood for the first time.
Following is a first-person account of one Adventist pastor ministering in China today.
During the time of China’s cultural revolution, it was very dangerous to own a Bible. Someone we knew, however, was able to obtain one. Since it was such a rare and precious book, this man wanted to share it with as many people as possible, so he carefully took the Bible apart and gave one or two books to various Seventh-day Adventist families. Our family received the books of 1 and 2 Samuel and we read them over and over again, treasuring every word. As a child, I enjoyed the many exciting stories contained in those two books! My older brother could write, so he copied the books by hand to share with others.
A few years later someone else found a very small Bible that had been put in a plastic bag and buried in the ground. Because of poor eyesight, the man wasn’t able to read the small print, so he gave the Bible to me when I was 18. I was so excited! Here was a complete Bible that I was holding in my hands for the very first time!
A Precious Gift
This “under-the-ground” Bible became very precious to me, and I read it from the first chapter to the last more than ten times. I spent a lot of time with it, marking important passages, and writing down some of my thoughts. I remembered when I was young my great-grandmother telling me about Noah, but here I was at 18, reading about the flood for the first time.
As I read the Bible, I learned more about Jesus and His teachings. I discovered truth in the Bible. The more I read, the more interested I became.
Two years later I visited an area where most people knew nothing about the Bible. I was invited to speak to groups in various homes. I showed them my little Bible and shared what I had learned from it.
While sharing, I noticed that young people were especially interested. They were so eager to learn that I wrote out 1,000 Bible texts and gave them to the young people, who memorized the texts. I found this was an excellent way for them to learn the Bible!
“I’ve Been Waiting For A While”
Since the 1990s, we’ve been allowed some religious freedom and now have a few Adventist church buildings in China. One church is located near a large factory of an import/export business. The business owner has an Adventist friend. One day the subject of faith came up and the Adventist shared her belief in God, the Bible, and what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist.
The business woman was impressed and told her friend, “You have a good church. Your doctrines can really help people. Would you be willing to talk to my employees?” The Adventist considered the invitation, but felt intimidated.All of the employees are non-believers, even atheists, she thought.
After some time, the business owner brought it up again. “Hey, I’ve been waiting for a while. Why didn’t you send someone?” The church member realized that this was an opportunity, and let the pastor know about it.
When the Adventist pastor arrived at the factory, the owner invited the department heads to a meeting. The pastor spoke about Jesus and His teachings, and the presentation was well received. “This is a good message and can help our employees have a better, more positive life,” the department heads told him. “Why don’t you come and speak to our employees?”
A date was set and the pastor returned. About 60 employees came to the voluntary meeting, and were excited about the presentation. The factory owner invited the Adventist pastor to give presentations to her employees every two weeks. After six presentations, 30 employees accepted Jesus as their Savior.
In December the Adventist church organized a big event for all 200 employees of the factory. The factory owner also invited other nearby companies to join them. When they were together some of the other business men and women mentioned that they noticed a difference in the factory owner’s employees.
“After your employees believed in God, they seem very nice,” they told her. “We also want to encourage our employees to do the same.” Now the Adventist pastor is meeting with employees from the other factories every Sunday evening.
Following the Christmas event, the business woman came to the Adventist church and attended the communion service. Her friend warmly welcomed her and encouraged her to continue coming. She plans to be baptized soon, along with 30 of her employees.
* Not his real name.