This question gets to the very core of what we do at Biblia Global. Most people we encounter don't understand that there is a vast, unmet need for Bibles. Some might ask, "Can't they just down load the Bible on their smart phone or computer?" They might assume that the larger international Bible ministries are meeting the need.
We recently received testimonies from the "L" tribe Bible distribution to pastors and denominational leaders in December 2016. While each testimony gave a succinct explanation for why these believers can't get Bibles, the answers given could apply to believers anywhere in China, Laos, Vietnam, Burma, or any other restricted nation. We share here, in their own words why Christians still need Bibles:
“The greatest difficulty in our Christian condition is not being able to get Bibles. I believe all leaders have faced and experienced this difficulty. According to our Baptist Convention report in 2015, 95% of our people do not have a Bible and 50% have never even seen a Bible. It costs 700 Thai Bath (about US$ 20) or more for one Bible. Most village people do not have income, but they just eat from their farms. So it is very difficult to own a Bible. Also there are no Bibles to buy. It is very difficult to own a Bible.”
- Rev. Philemon, Pastor of N Village Baptist Church
"There was no Bible in my church. So as soon as I accepted Christ I eagerly wanted and yearned to read the word of God, but there was no Bible to read. Several times I traveled 200 miles to the border town in search of a Bible to purchase, but I could never find one for sale."
- Pastor LP, NY Village Baptist Church
“We do not have a Bible in our family. It's not easy to own a Bible. We work 8 hours per day and earn only 2,000 Myanmar Kyats (US$1.50). My salary is 15,000 Kyats (US$ 10.86) per month. So it is totally impossible to buy a Bible at US$15 or US$20 per copy. We sometimes don't even have enough money for food. In 1995 the tribal Baptist Convention tried to buy Bibles for their ministers, but there were no Bibles to buy. WOW. Most churches in my area have only one Bible for the whole church. Therefore, it is very difficult to grow spiritually. The road to my village is amazingly difficult. In summer it's a dusty road. In the rainy season it's a muddy road. The government has not allowed us to build a church, and they must see every sermon before it is preached. But we are still faithful in God and we always worship him.”
- Rev. RS, PW Baptist Church
"Our older leaders and the older generations all died without having their own Bibles. So most of them were looked down upon by other tribes as being very poor in knowledge, etc."
- Mrs. Lydia, Sunday School Teacher of P Village Baptist Church
"Once I was evangelizing near the Chinese border and a policeman took away my Bible and burned it up. From that time, I have not had a Bible, but I had memorized many verses. So I continued with evangelism and sharing the gospel to others without a Bible. I had no problem evangelizing using only the verses I had memorized. It is very difficult to get a Bible. I have not had a Bible since the policeman burned up my Bible in 1991, but I strongly believed that God would one day give me another Bible. Whenever I have money I try to buy a Bible, but there are no Bibles to buy. It is amazingly difficult to get a Bible."
- Rev. Silas, Pastor of K Village Baptist Church
"There is only one Bible and five Hymn books in our village that are owned by my grandfather. Thai people printed the Bible for us, but it is expensive and they printed very few copies. When we have money, there are no Bibles to buy. If there is a Bible to buy, then we have no money again. This condition is circling among our tribal people. As the government does not favor the tribal people in our country, especially in the eastern states, children are not given proper education. So this Bible can give them more education."
- Pastor L, N Village Baptist Church
"Most of the people in the villages do not have income, but just only food for their daily lives from their farms. Most of tribal people in the villages have never even seen a Bible. In the year 2000 we earnestly started praying for Bibles. We prayed to God to have our own Bibles in this century"
- Rev. Sim, HK Village Baptist Church
"When I accepted Christ I was really thirsty to read the word of God, but I could not find one Bible even to buy. There were no Bibles to buy even in the tribal Baptist Convention office.
Because of sharing the gospel to Buddhists in a village near the China boarder, I was arrested by the villagers and the monk. They asked me to promise to stop sharing the gospel, but I would not give them that promise, so they wanted to kill me. I was in prison for 13 days in total, but then one man came to me during the night and released me from prison so I could escape execution. God is so good!
Since the year 2000 our tribal Christians began praying regularly for Bibles. We have prayed to have at least one Bible for each family in this century. Every tribal church has been praying this prayer."
- Mrs. Grace, General Secretary of the Women's Department in the L Tribe Baptist Convention
"When I visit the tribal villages most of the churches do not have even one Bible. To buy a Bible they have to travel more than 200 miles. If they have only one copy for the church, they keep it in the church and even the pastor cannot bring in his home. So all the members never read the Bible. I do not know how to solve this problem of no Bibles, but I trusted God and I prayed to God. Only God can solve this problem for our people."
- Pastor KY, Pastor of M Baptist Church
"For 40 of my 46 years as a pastor I did not have a Bible. I bought a Bible 2010 with 700 Thai Bath (US$ 23). I saved money for seven years so I could buy this Bible. As we live in a remote area, we have no income, but only enough for daily food. Sometimes the Burmese Army took away our family's rice and belongings. It is not easy to own a Bible in our place. There are no Bibles in our Village. There is only one Bible which is owned by me. Therefore, our spiritual and living standards have grown very slowly."
- Rev. KH, NK Village Baptist Church
"When I as 40 years old (after 14 years in ministry) I received a very old Bible from Reverend Kya Aye. Most of our tribal people have never seen a Bible. I hope you can imagine how difficult it is for us to own Bible."
- Rev. D; Pastor of WL Baptist Church
"Our church has only one Bible. Every week I copy by hand verses which I want to teach my Sunday School children."
- Mrs. N, Sunday School Teacher in N Village Baptist Church
"There is only one old Bible in our church. Some pages are lost, but it is still useful for us, because there is no other Bible in the church. The members never read the Bible, because the Bible must stay in the church. One time the church decided to buy the Bible and collect money, but then there were no Bibles to buy. How difficult it is to get Bibles for our people."
- Rev. YB; Pastor of C Village Baptist Church