In 2008 several of us received a fairly large number of Mongolian Bibles (New Testaments.) I did not know it at the time but it was an old language. When the Russians took over Mongolia, or so I was told, they insisted on a version of Mongolian that the natives did not particularly like. A more modern Mongolian script was introduced after the Russians left. Consequently there were 3 Mongolian scripts which none of us could understand. Fortunately our Mongolian friends could sort it out.
The Mongolian Bibles we left at the church in Daban were confiscated by the police. I had a devil of a time getting translation done in Daban – badly, most of the time or not at all. I wanted to talk to the police and tell them that the Bibles were legal, purchased by Chinese for Chinese, printed in China, and that we were only the delivery people. That is the only caveat the government has laid down for the distribution of Bibles.
I discussed with American teachers our tracking down who took the Bibles and asked the police to return them since I was leaving for the USA in July 2008 before the Olympics and didn’t want this hanging over my head. So I paid Sam my translator to come to Daban.
As it turned out the idea was a great success. We learned from the church that ONLY the green Mongolian Bibles had been taken, and not by the police but by the Religion Bureau, who, it turns out are all Mongolians. But they could not read them!!
Someone who apparently could read that script decided that there was something damaging or in opposition to the PLA and all the Bibles were then put somewhere. This was in line with what we were told about the dissidents and separatists in Tibet and Taiwan who were expected to cause trouble at the games, and they were looking at the Mongolians too so I came under suspicion. The officials routinely tell me the Mongolians are all Buddhists which we know is not true – it is just anothermantra.
Sam talked to several different officials, and they said that a number of people had the books, finally ending with the name and phone number of one man who was out of town.
This explains to me why the police were watching my house and following me for 6 weeks, a fact which the church people did not know and were surprised to learn. They seemed to be very relieved over the whole thing and we had a good laugh over the fact that some of those people will now be reading God’s word and may be saved. The confusion primarily was over the fact that they thought this was some seditious book, not realizing that the Bible is the same the world over except for the language of the native readers.
Since no one in this particular church is Mongolian it was not a great issue with these members, but they did say their pastor was going to go back to the Religion Bureau and ask for them back after she returned from Beijing.
We discussed the recent fact too that the Gospel of John will be distributed by Amity at the games free.
This follows the pattern of many people who report that confiscated Bibles often end up getting people saved and developing church groups, which, after all, is the goal of God’s word in any event. Me and my friends had to leave China, but the Word of God remains.