“I don’t know his name but tears of gratitude trickled down his cheeks as he said to me, ‘Thank you for the Bibles.”
“He was an elder at the Christian church in Guilin, China. I was part of a group who had just met the church leadership and we were being farewelled.
“He and I were the last to say goodbye to one another.
“His face was craggy, lined and weather beaten; his hands were gnarled and calloused, with skin that felt like sandpaper. His clothes were clean, but threadbare and ill-fitting; his sockless toes showing through the holes in his shoes.
“He clearly didn’t have many of this world’s goods. His prematurely aging body had, no doubt, suffered from many deprivations and, being a Christian all his life, possibly persecution as well.
As I shook his hand and looked him in the eye to say good bye, I saw tears welling up.
"'Thank you for coming,' he said, speaking softly and slowly, but in good English.
"'Thank you for the Bibles. Thank you so much for the Bibles. Please thank those in New Zealand who have given, so we can have these precious Bibles. Please tell them, thank you from us,' he repeated.
"'They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you New Zealand, tell them.'
“By then tears of gratitude were trickling down his cheeks and a lump welled up in my throat, too. I said I would pass on his message.
“He was thanking us! We, who have so much - of material things, of religious freedom.
“I wanted to thank him for giving us the privilege of serving him and thousands like him.
“It was only a brief encounter with someone I had never met before and will almost certainly not meet again this side of eternity. But it was one of the most humbling yet rewarding experiences of my life.
“As I boarded the minivan I silently thanked God for the opportunity He gives us – you and me - to bring Bibles to His people, to His Church and to so many millions of people in China.”
Your gift, made today, will help to bring Bibles to the people of China.
Thank you and God bless you.
Read more about Bible work in China in The Word at Work.
As Maxine (pictured) lay buried under the rubble of her own restaurant, her only comfort was a poster of the Ten Commandments, which she meditated on as she lay trapped. She felt a deep peace that somehow she would be rescued.