Open Doors Marks 40th Anniversary of Project Pearl–China’s One Million Bibles Miracle

Project Pearl Bible bundles loading on barge June 1981

Christian charity Open Doors is today (June 18, 21) marking 40 years since they coordinated one of the largest ever single Bible distributions into China.

On June 18, 1981 through a series of remarkable miracles Project Pearl saw a million Bibles secretly unloaded from a barge onto Pearl Beach on the Northwest Coast of China in one night. The whole story is told in the book written by ANS Founder Dan Wooding called God’s Smuggler to China.

It started with a request for 30,000 New Testaments. Mama Kwang led a wide house church network in China, after her husband was put in prison for his faith. Bibles were banned in China, but there was an enormous hunger among the underground church to be able to access the Word of God. Mama Kwang requested 30,000 New Testaments to answer an immediate need – and these were smuggled by Open Doors workers over the course of ten days. But Mama Kwang knew that this was only a short-term measure.

“Thank you so much for these New Testaments,” she said, “but we’re still short. If every Christian we know is to have a Bible, we need one million Bibles.”

And so Project Pearl was born. The project is named after Matthew 13:45, where Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a pearl of great value. Taking a million Bibles was a daunting task, but the leaders of Open Doors in 1981 were filled with faith that God would enable them to undertake this mission.

Twenty Open Doors workers from around the world came together into a crew to deliver the Bibles. Nineteen of them hadn’t even been to sea before. Mama Kwang had asked them to bring them to a beach just south of a city called Shantou, which had a high population of Christians. They would only have two hours to unload all one million Bibles.

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SOURCE: Assist News Service, Peter Wooding

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