Dean Keaney moved from Denver, USA to start the Open Doors Australia base in 1977, with the intention of reaching China with the gospel.
In 1979, Open Doors was part of a successful smuggling operation that delivered 30,000 New Testaments into southern China. Later came a message from church leaders in China: “They were not enough. We need one million Bibles!”
By 1981, Christians in China weren’t allowed to gather together at church or own a Bible. Many believers were imprisoned, tortured or even killed for their faith.
Image: Training before ‘Project Pearl.’
A plan was hatched to courier one million Bibles into China, overnight. It was called ‘Project Pearl’ based on Matthew 13:45: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
After Project Pearl could take place, funds were needed to purchase the tugboat that would help smuggle the Bibles onto a secluded Chinese beach at midnight.
The body of Christ in Australia and New Zealand responded in a huge way, giving $100,000 towards the secret project.
Three crew members from New Zealand and three from Australia also boarded the tugboat and joined the team. Many of them had never been to sea.
Image: The team with packages of Bibles.
After they successfully delivered the Bibles in China, the nation was flooded with the good news of the gospel.
Present day China is hardly the same. Chinese believers experience relative freedoms in the cities to follow Jesus and share the gospel.
“Our pastor was imprisoned and tortured in the 1980s,” said Li, a local pastor. “He doesn’t talk about it very often, but it is difficult to believe that was happening only 30 years ago. Today, we have to take some ‘precautions’ to avoid trouble, but the government often lets us be… as long as we don’t have too large of gatherings.”
“It is amazing how God has matured the church of China through previous years of persecution.”
“We are so thankful for how our brothers and sisters around the world prayed for and supported us during some of the most extreme years of persecution,” shared another Christian leader.
Image: A ‘Project Pearl’ Bible.
We believe caring for the persecuted church should be part of the DNA of everyone who calls themselves a follower of Jesus.
Many of our supporters have partnered with us to serve the persecuted church for more than 30 years. They have walked alongside the persecuted church through the changing landscape of persecution, including the changing religious freedoms in China.
That’s why we are asking people to become a Frontline Partner, giving monthly to the persecuted church.
We are asking people to match one subscription in their lives, for the survival of the church, and give the lowest amount to support the persecuted church for the longest time.
For the same price as your phone bill, who knows the kind of impact your support could have over the following 30 years.