How much is a Bible worth overseas?

A Sunday School Lesson or Sermon Illustration for your church

On the Chinese Black Market, a Bible costs about 34,000 Yuan ($5,000).How much is a Bible worth where you live?  Petr Jasek is someone who can personally testify to the value of the Word of God. While being locked in a Sudanese prison cell with members of the Islamic State, a verse he had memorized just before he went into prison helped him to endure the brutal treatment he experienced there.
When he was moved into a safer situation in another prison, a visitor slipped him a copy of the Bible. He had gone for so long without a Bible that he absolutely devoured it! Because the cell did not have electric lights, he could only read it during the daylight hours. Despite this, he read through the whole Bible in three weeks! Click here to hear Petr Jasek’s story.

In China, a Bible costs as much as six month’s wages on the black market.  So our Brothers and Sisters in Christ know the value of this amazing Book we take so much for granted.  Now we see why they are taken apart, the pieces passed around and copied into notebooks!

Here is what happened when a village Chinese church received copies of the Word of God in their own language:

I have never held my Bible close to my heart, with tears in my eyes. I don’t know what it’s like to want a Bible more than anything else in this world.
Is there a more worthwhile way to serve Christ than to bring God’s Word to His people who so desperately want it?

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More Precious Than Gold

Reflections on the 2013 Gold Rush in Chad and the Darfur

Our family was there in Chad, Africa for the 2013 gold rush.  A few prospectors had secretly found gold on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, and everyone got excited about it.

On the Sudanese side of the gold zone, it was easy to find a job in the mines.  It was dangerous work, but Chad is a country full of desperate people.  The mine owners were easily able to find fathers and sons willing to risk their lives in an attempt to rise out of poverty.

Meanwhile, on the Chadian side, the government gave everyone a few months to stake their claim.  If a fortune seeker found gold after the cutoff date, it would belong to the Chadian government.

A gold mine worker uses a detector at Al-Ibedia locality in the River Nile State, in this July 30, 2013 file picture. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/FilesAs a result, everyone who could rushed up north to join the prospectors!  Normally the road to the village in the Kapka region (where my camel lives) would only see a few vehicles each day. During that time, lots of Land Cruisers would always be passing me, leaving a cloud of dust behind them.

I am far from being a specialist in Mineralogy, but all my friends were coming to me with samples of the rocks they had discovered in their village.  I also ended up becoming the “Go-To” guy for teaching villagers how to use the metal detector their brothers had sent over from the US.

Some of the prospectors were successful in finding gold and of making a fortune.  Most of them were impoverished by the upfront investment.  Once a group of prospectors did strike gold, the struggle wasn’t over.  To succeed, they had to devote themselves to exploiting it before their money ran out, and staying alive long enough to profit from it.

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My first birthday…..in Iriba

This post was written while we were in Chad.

I spent my birthday like I always do on Fridays; it seemed like a good way to mark the occasion. Only this time, I had P1000859to go over to the place where I go online to send some important e-mails; whenever I need to send attachments larger than 100kb, I have to go to the place with the wi-fi and log on to my e-mail accounts using web mail. Tigo internet in Iriba is too slow, and fails too often when messages get bigger than that.

I went there, and discovered that, even before the sun had risen in Eastport, Maine, I had over forty messages from old and new friends everywhere via Facebook, wishing me a happy birthday! The technology that makes this possible can seem so trite and impersonal at times to those who are used to it, but I must say that it really made my day to see all the birthday wishes, and to think of each person who sent them.

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