An old Chinese curse says, “May you live in interesting days.” This comes from the Chinese idea that the best life is an uneventful life. “Interesting” is synonymous with turmoil.
China is absolutely living in “interesting” days. In the past 50 years, as China has emerged as a political, economic, and military superpower, the 1.4 billion Chinese have experienced much turmoil and change.
China has also experienced one of the greatest evangelistic movements in church history. Since 1972 the Chinese church has grown from fewer than 1 million to 100 million. Severe persecution accompanied this massive numerical growth. The last decade has seen a reduction in the severity and occurrences of persecution, but many feel that a new wave of persecution is on the horizon as the government wrestles with this phenomenal movement. The great needs for China today are for church leadership training and Bibles (more than 40 million have been requested).
ANM is also active in the Far East countries of North Korea and Mongolia.
In North Korea believers experience the most severe persecution of any place in the world. Forced to worship in underground churches, it is estimated that of the 120,000 Christians in North Korea as many as 20,000 may be in prisons suffering for their faith. They desperately need our prayers (Hebrews 13:3).
Mongolia is a modern-day miracle. With the fall of Communism in 1990, Mongolia received religious freedom, a literacy rate that reached 94%, and Mongolia’s first readable translation of the Bible. Mongolia has been called “the ongoing Book of Acts”: from four believers and no churches in 1990, it now has as many as 100,000 believers and more than 800 churches.
Pray for all that God is doing in the Far East, and check our blog this month for more stories from this region, including our new podcast episode in which my co-traveler Alex Asher and I talk about our time in Mongolia last year.
Don’t know how to pray? Our 31 Ways to Pray guides you through a month of praying for native missionaries. Join us!