Story: Airports, Audio Bibles, and Missionaries to Ecuador

When we were on furlough, our VFC team was blessed to be given hundreds of Chinese audio Bibles that are solar powered. The only problem was, we had to get them into China. Here is the story of one missionary family, whose field isn’t China, but was willing to help us try to get them into the mainland. They had some trouble get the first batch of them into the country, but eventually were able to successfully get them in. The second time, there were more complications. Here is their story:

I was sitting in the airport in Ganzhou, China, with my wife, my brother, and his wife. We were all pretty tired. My brother and his wife are missionaries to China, and we were all on the way back from a regional conference with our mission board. I am not a missionary to China or even to Asia. As a matter of fact, I am a missionary to the country of Ecuador. I was on deputation raising support at the time, but wanted to visit my brother before we left for language school since we might not see each other for a long time. So, I was in China with my brother, and I was also recruited to bring/smuggle some audio Bibles into China. The thought process was if you get caught and banned from entering China, you probably won’t be coming back to China for a long time anyways. However, if a missionary to China gets caught, he may not be able to continue his work there. I thought it was very logical and wanted to help, so my wife and I packed about 200 audio Bibles that we were bringing into China. 

We were sitting in the airport when my brother received a message that some of the airport officials wanted to check our bags. We had to walk across the airport to the baggage inspection area. When we got there, they had us go over to our bags while they opened them up. They were surprised to find dozens of mp3 players and were immediately suspicious. They asked us why we had brought them and thought that we were going to try to sell them. I told them that we brought them for a friend and that we were not going to sell them. They seemed to calm down a bit until one of the guys who was playing with the mp3 players started listening to what was on them. It didn’t take him long to realize he was listening to some religious book (the Bible). The officers then begin to explain to us that this was very illegal and that we might be in big trouble. It was interesting that they continued to listen to the Bible and I am hoping that they were able to hear enough of the Word of God to make them interested in finding out more about God’s Word. 

The officers then separated my wife and I. They questioned us separately to compare our stories. They wanted more than anything to know who we were working with and who had given us the audio Bibles. They also asked us about our lives in America. They did not believe that we were married or had a son. We were both 23 years old at the time, and most people in China don’t get married until they are a good bit older than that. They asked for pictures of our son, and when we both had pictures on our phones, they began to believe us. They continued to detain us for several hours and wanted to find out more about who we were taking the Bibles to, but we just continued to tell them they were for our friend and we didn’t know his Chinese name which was very true. At first I wasn’t that worried about the detention, but after several hours of sitting there and having them ask me questions, I began to worry about how long they were going to keep us and started thinking that we might be stuck for days or weeks. It is interesting how after a few hours detention I began to think fearful thoughts and began to worry. I can only imagine what it is like to be a missionary to a closed country and how easily it would be to live a life of fear. The Bible, however, tells us that we have not been given a spirit of fear but of power and love. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 2:7 ) They continued to tell us that we were in a lot of trouble, but after several hours they gave up and let us go.

We were delighted to be let out of detention and very grateful that God had worked in their hearts to let us go. We had missed our flight but were able to catch the next flight. My brother had already gone ahead and left before they were able to make any connection between us. They confiscated the audio Bibles but gave us a receipt in case we wanted to pay a fine to come back and pick them up later. Although they tried to get them our later, the never were able to.

But for the ones that we were able to get in… they were and still are currently giving these Bibles out, and I am praying that God will use His word in the hearts of the Chinese people. 

K.B.

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