23rd November 2021

A night of miracles

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
2 Corinthians 9:12 (NIVUK)

During Mao’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s – 1970’s in China, Christians were persecuted, and many Bibles burnt. In the years following the Revolution, an estimated 50,000 Christian ‘house churches’ serving some five million Christians sprang up throughout China resulting in a dire need for Bibles.

In 1981, Open Doors, a nondenominational evangelical missionary organisation based in Ermelo, the Netherlands, took on the task of supplying one million Bibles for China. This organisation specialised in smuggling Bibles into mostly communist countries and had contacts with Christians inside China.

Millions of dollars were raised and the Bibles printed in Chinese script on two printing presses working night and day for weeks in the USA. The Bibles were packed into 232 one-ton waterproof blocks which, because of entrapped air, would float in water.

The 232 tons of Bibles were loaded in Hong Kong onto a specially built, partly submersible barge, which was then towed by tug to a spot off a beach some 200 miles up the Chinese coast. At night, the barge was partially submerged and the blocks of Bibles floated off the barge and towed to the beach. It took two hours to unload the barge and a chain of hundreds of Chinese Christians removed the Bibles from the beach before daybreak. All this took place without detection by the authorities. It took a further five years to secretly distribute the Bibles throughout China.

From a human perspective this project seemed like mission impossible but, as Jesus has said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’ (Mark 10:27). Those involved in the project have pointed out that God had intervened many times to enable the project to be successfully concluded.

When we participate in God’s work he is always willing to intervene positively where necessary, but he also utilizes the experience and skills of Christians who have a heart to do God’s will and a willingness to cooperate with other Christians to unite behind a common goal. Let’s play our part in serving and supplying the needs of others and in spreading the good news of the gospel of grace.

Father, we thank you for the blessings you have given us through Jesus Christ, help us to be a blessing to others. In his name, Amen.

Study by Eddie Marsh


  • Christianity Today: Project Pearl: how 20 brave Christians smuggled a million Bibles into China in one night. Zara Sarvarian, Open Doors UK 18 June 2021
  • Time Magazine: Religion: Risky Rendezvous at Swatow; Russ Hoyle: Monday Oct. 19 1981


About the writer:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local congregation:
Grace Communion Sheffield
Regus Meeting Rooms (Management Suite)
1 The Oasis
Meadowhall Centre
S9 1EP

Meeting time:
Church services take place twice a month on a Saturday at 10:30am
Please email to confirm dates.

Local congregational contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.church

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