The Wuhan coronavirus is turning into a new global panic.
With tens of thousands now infected and stock markets uneasy, the virus is undoubtedly a threat.
But, as God would have it, the coronavirus outbreak is also a rich opportunity to present the Truth and Hope of the Gospel.
And Christians across China are stepping up in a powerful way.
The death toll from the coronavirus has begun to climb into the thousands in mainland China.
As of yet, there is no known vaccine, so a deep and pervasive fear is spreading along with the virus.
But not everyone in China is afraid.
In fact, those who would normally be hiding are taking the opportunity to boldly step into the light.
World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization, is partnering with local Chinese Christians to distribute medical — and spiritual — aid to those in the Wuhan province and surrounding areas.
Mark Hogsed, Vice President of International Programs for World Help, reported that the coronavirus outbreak has proven to be an incredible opportunity for the Chinese church to spread the love of Christ.
“For over 20 years, we’d been working with a network of local Chinese pastors and church planters doing Bible distribution, church planting, and evangelizing,” Hogsed said.
China is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians, and Chinese believers face the constant threat of imprisonment, torture, and death for their work.
But the spread of the coronavirus has offered unusual opportunities for Christian work and evangelism.
“We heard this network is willing to distribute protective masks as well as food to the people they’re ministering to,” Hogsed said. “All they needed were the resources.”
So World Help has stepped up to work closely with Chinese Christians, supplying them with resources to reach out to their communities in practical and effective ways.
“We are actively on the ground right now, providing masks and food to as many people as they can to help prevent the virus,” Hogsed said.
Many Christians are also handing out Gospel tracts along with masks and food.
“They’re very courageous,” said Lucille Talusan, a CBN News Asia correspondent. “They give out masks and they say that they are Christians and they share the love of Christ.”
“[They] point to Jesus to bring hope to them and their families and the whole of China,” she added. “This is really a break-through.”
Amid an environment of fear and panic, Chinese Christians are bringing the good news of Jesus to their neighbors and friends.
“Our partners are being as safe as possible, they’re taking every precaution they can, but they feel this is a calling and a time to step up,” Hogsed said. “These pastors are choosing to go out into their communities… as a practical way to spread the Gospel.”
“This is one way that Christians on the ground can practically help those who need it, even in the face of danger,” he continued.
Even though the virus brings a high level of danger to these evangelistic efforts, God is using another aspect of the virus to protect His people from the persecution of the Chinese government!
Protective face masks are used to prevent transmission of the virus, but they also serve another amazing purpose: they hide the identity of Christians who would suffer for their evangelistic efforts.
Many Chinese Christians wear protective masks as they witness to their friends and neighbors.
The masks conceal their identities from government officials who would arrest them.
Wearing a face mask is a unique way to stay underground while being bold for Jesus!
Even though the rising death toll is a sobering reminder of the virus’ power, Hogsed urged Christians worldwide to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by this crisis.
“It is an awful, awful tragedy and it’s hard to find any good that would come of this,” he admitted. “But hopefully, those that are being ministered to in a practical way will see that this is what Jesus has commanded us to do, to help those in need of help.”
“Hopefully, that will turn into the spread of the Gospel…when we’re providing practical, tangible help like this, it’s with the goal that physical aid will translate into spreading the Gospel and everyone [who] is helped will come to know Jesus,” Hogsed concluded.
Correspondent Talusan added that, due to the uncertainty brought on by the spread of the virus, many of the people of Wuhan are more receptive to the message of Christ.
Pray that the Gospel will have a strong and lasting impact on those impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, and pray for the continued boldness of Chinese Christians!
To join the movement and help spread the Gospel to those in the Wuhan province and surrounding areas, visit World Help’s website.