Each month, 20 men load up their camels and donkeys with Bibles, Christian literature, food and water and head out over the sunbaked desert hills. During the day, they walk in 49°C temperatures, buffeted by a dry, hot wind. These men take this lonely road through the Sahara to avoid the ever-present checkpoints, where police would question them and probably confiscate the books they carry. They might even arrest the men. The Bibles are considered a threat to the Islamic government. They offer the message of hope that Jesus is more than a prophet; He is the Son of God, a Saviour for all who place their faith in Him.
All over the world, Christians in restricted nations take enormous risks every day to get God’s Word to the many who desperately need to hear their message.
These North African evangelists risk their lives and freedom to share the Gospel in a nation where Christianity is illegal, and they take further risks by crossing the harsh, dry landscape to reach five people groups who have never heard the Gospel. When a village or even one person decides to follow Christ, the evangelists willingly undertake the journey repeatedly to encourage the new believers and help them grow in faith.
VOM has provided the evangelists with donkeys and camels to help them reach more people and avoid police checkpoints. One of the men described their work like this: ‘We worked on teaching the believers, providing better understanding for Christian life and giving the basic knowledge of the Bible. During the years of sharing the Gospel, we have seen a steady spiritual growth of the believers. This has been a great encouragement to the ministry and has helped us persevere in difficult circumstances.”
Preparing the SoilHalfway around the world, ‘Jiao’ travels through some of the most rugged mountains in China to distribute much-needed Bibles in remote areas. This 19-year-old student at an unregistered, illegal Bible school uses a horse or a motorcycle when he can borrow one, but mostly he walks, about three hours between each village. Every time Jiao distributes Bibles, he runs the risk of being arrested or having his Bibles confiscated. VOM has provided Jiao and his team with a motorcycle to help them distribute Bibles.
‘Thank God for increasing the number of saved people,’ a Chinese Bible recipient wrote recently. ‘But another problem appears. Because of the revival of my church, we have more believers than before, and then the Bibles are in deficiency again. If possible, please give more help on the same Bible version to my church. Then we can bear more fruit with the help of our Lord.’
Planting SeedsIn Colombia, Rolo, a former member of a rebel guerrilla group, now works to serve pastors and other Christians trapped in guerrilla-run territory by providing spiritual support, Christian literature and Bibles. With guerrilla checkpoints on every road, it’s difficult to travel into and out of these areas. Every time he approaches a checkpoint, an overzealous guerrilla with a gun could quickly end Rolo’s life.
On a recent trip, Rolo turned a near disaster into an opportunity to share the Gospel with locals and guerrilla soldiers deep in the Amazon jungle. He was driving a large truck loaded with Bibles and a film projector to some remote villages when the nose of the truck became stuck while he was crossing a river. A crowd of locals quickly gathered to watch, including more than a few guerrilla soldiers. Men who might have threatened him moments earlier suddenly felt sorry for the poor man who had just lost his truck in the river. The truck wouldn’t start, but it was buried in the river at an angle that kept all the Bibles dry in the back of the truck.
Unable to travel any farther, Rolo made the best of the situation. He set up an impromptu viewing of a Christian film on his projector, then preached a sermon and gave Bibles to several people who accepted Christ. The truck later had to be towed several hundred miles before reaching an area safe enough for mechanics to enter.
The fact that VOM distributes Bibles is not notable; many other Christian missions do the same. What is notable is the great risk that VOM workers like Rolo take in order to distribute Bibles in some of the toughest places on earth. VOM teams drive into war zones in countries like Iraq and Sudan to deliver God’s Word. Others risk their lives to smuggle Bibles into Afghanistan and North Korea through various means. And in Indonesia, our workers recently delivered Bibles to a village accessible only by plane and a long car ride. The village is populated by 400 Muslims and only 16 Christians.
Please pray for VOM’s ministry and the faithful and courageous believers who share our passion to spread God’s life-changing Word.