Biblia Global During the Covid-19 Pandemic: An Update
We hope you and your friends and family are safe and well during this season of unprecedented change and new normals. The last four months have seen dramatic change in the daily life for pretty much every person in the world and "ministry" suddenly looks very different for everyone. It has also been a time to refocus and press into the things that really matter. It has been a time to seek God for direction and calling to Him for clarity.
I (Tim, Biblia Global president) have talked to many of our indigenous contacts and other western partners over the last four months; Everyone has been greatly affected because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but thankfully, no one has become seriously ill. Here is how our ministry has been affected:
How has Biblia Global been affected during the current COVID-19 pandemic?
Like many of you, we have not given up our mission and calling during this time. Our resolve to get a Bible to every believer remains undiminished. We are fortunate that we have very low organizational overhead, have no rent to pay for office space, and our ministry is 100% volunteer run with no salaries to pay. Everyone who is involved in this ministry (board members, volunteers, coworkers, contacts, partners) are able to connect to each other remotely, so in a sense, we have been well positioned for the current environment where people are isolated in homes, forced to work remotely and ministry budgets are being tightened. Because of closed international borders, one of our courier trips to carrying God’s Word into a closed country had to be postponed, then canceled. The remaining courier trips for 2020 are in limbo as there is much uncertainty for what international travel may look like the remainder of the year. All of the countries we work in are currently closed or highly restricted to any foreigners entering.
We work with our contacts to get God’s Word into closed countries through other methods beyond western courier teams. In late 2019 and early 2020, Biblia Global funded the printing and/or shipping for: 20,000 Falam Chin Bibles, 23,500 Sqaw Karen Bibles (both from our 2019 matching gift challenge), 5,000 Kachin Bibles, and 4,400 Asang Khongcaa Chin Bibles (both funded in 2020). The Falam Chin Bibles were printed and made it safely into the target closed country. Distribution will occur once the lock down in that country is lifted. The Sqaw Karen Bibles were printed and made it safely to the less restricted staging country. Final transportation into the target country was paused for two months this spring as the international border was closed, however this week (May 11, 2020) the Sqaw Karen Bibles started to move again into the target restricted country. The Kachin and Asang Khongcaa are currently being printed and will follow the path of the Sqaw Karen Bibles. Please pray that the borders to the target closed country continue to open up and that these waiting believers can safely receive their first Bible.
The underground printing in a closed east Asian country that we partner with was shut down for a period of time in early 2020 because of COVID-19, but production has once again begun as this work is done locally by local believers and not dependent on westerners coming in from the outside. We were able to send funding this month to continue helping with this effort. Please pray that this work and those involved are protected and the work can increase in years to come.
How Should we as Christians Respond During this time of Crisis?
Even in these unsettling times, God is still in complete control. None of this has caught Him off guard or surprises Him. Paul writes in Romans 8:
Even COVID-19 can't separate us from God's love! While we may not be able to conduct our lives as we planned this last winter, spring and summer, the fruitful Christian life is often lived during the interruptions in life when we abide in Jesus (John 15:1-5) and keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:13-26). In these times we need to ask 'What is He doing here?' and 'How would He have me respond in the situation I now find myself in?'
We are to love those around us in times of difficulty– especially the brothers and sisters in the faith – and when we do that, the world will know that we are Jesus’ disciples and will be drawn to Him [1a]. This is one of the main reasons Christianity spread so rapidly in the Roman Empire during the first three centuries during numerous pandemics and plagues (165 AD, 251 AD [1b]). When between 1/4 - 1/3 of the population died , it was the Christians who were able to provide hope, community, and help for each other. The pagans on the other hand pushed sufferers away, fled from the cities, fled from those they loved, and looked out for themselves. Quoting the church father Dionysis, Rodney Stark writes in his book, The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominate Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries:
It was the Christians response in the difficulty of the pandemics that showed the power of the love of God and the power of the Christian faith. I am not suggesting we ignore social distancing recommendations or other recommendations from health authorities. We keep washing our hands and don’t touch our faces. Yet we as Christians need to be the ones who live without fear in life and death; We demonstrate faith in a sovereign God; We look out for others first; we demonstrate love and community, helping those around us even in the midst of uncertainty.
If we can pray for you in any way, our supporters, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you in advance for praying for us and our mission to get a Bible to every believer. This doesn’t stop even when pandemics hit. Please be praying for the health and safety of the believers we serve in these closed countries and that the current situation would ultimately result in many more people turning to Jesus Christ, and many more Christians getting the Bibles they have been praying and waiting for.
We’re grateful for you,
[1a] c.f. John 13:35-35, 15:12-17; 1 John 3,4
[1b] Rodney Start, The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominate Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries (New York, New York; HarperCollins Publishers, 1996), 76-77.
 Ibid, 76
 Ibid, 83, 85
 Ibid, 82