I just got an email from Pastor Takeshi in Japan. His home in Japan was damaged in the recent earthquake and then following that, they had a typhoon, but little damage from that. I don’t know how much damage there was but he reported that they were still living in the house. To complicate the matter further, he was gone during the events, on another mission trip to China. After he returned to Japan, he was traveling across Japan during the week and only home on weekends so he hasn’t been able to address the damage. When I met with him when we were in Japan I also noticed how involved in the work, his family was. His wife and oldest daughter were a tremendous support to him and were quite interested in our being there. I marvel at the sacrifice missionaries make in their service to the Lord. It causes me to look at my own life and answer the question, what is it costing me to serve the Lord?
He will be making two additional trips to China yet this year. They are usually about two or three weeks long and they travel to many churches as the need there is great. He also sent me an 11 page report from his translator who travels with him on his last trip. If you would like to read it just let me know and I can forward it on to you. The people in China are really struggling because of the living conditions and oppression and they need hope. The traditions are often demanding and the examples of how life can be are very rare. To make matters worse, there are a number of false religions that are turning the government against all religions as they do not know the difference between the true believers and the false ones.
So how many Christians are there in China? I have heard a number of reports and I don’t know how accurate they are. A few years ago I heard that there were several million Christians there. Then a little latter the number was 30-40 million. The next report I heard that the number was upward of 60 million. More recently I heard that the number was close to 100 million and the most recent report was that it could be approaching 300 million. I am not sure that anyone really knows how many there are, but this much I do know, most all of them are living in very difficult conditions and have little hope of anything more than that. Perhaps that is why so many are turning to Christ. He is the only one offering them more to life. If the government could only see that this is a tremendous opportunity for them to not only improve their lives but to also strengthen their nation and extend their favor with the people.
If the number of 300 million is close to accurate that would mean that one in 4 or 5 of the people in China are Christians which is a phenomenal number. Compare that to America where one in 50 to 100 are Christians. I remember reading about the Great Revival in America when, at its peak, one in seven were Christians and the amazing events that took place. Work stopped at times because of the presence of the Holy Spirit working with the people. Lives were transformed instantly. The story is told of a man in a buggy came under such conviction of his sin, just as he enter a county where revival was happening that he fell out of the buggy to his knees begging the Lord to save him. On and on it went and was so powerful that it transformed the nation. My prayer is that the Lord would do it again in China, and also here as well.