Far East Broadcasting Corporation (FEBC) is ready to push forward its "Missionaries in a Box" project in 2006 in a bid to provide pastoral care to believers in the rural areas of China.
The California-based FEBC Chinese ministry recently announced to launch an event at the Salvation Army center in San Diego on Jan. 21 to introduce and fundraise for the project
"Missionaries in a Box" project is about sending radio sets to believers in different provinces in China, especially those in the rural areas. Most of these radio sets are made of the simplest structure; some of them do not even have electric chargers or power chords but use manually generated electricity. However, they have become great tools for the unreached to hear the gospel and for the believers to receive discipleship training through shortwave broadcasting.
According to an article written by Rev Eduardo Lo on a promotional brochure, many churches and organizations in North America and other parts of the world have sent missionaries to China as China is becoming more opened than before. However, once they left the country, no one will be able to provide pastoral care to the believers.
"According to some statistics, over 700 thousands of full-time pastors are needed in order to efficiently guide all believers in Mainland China. However, how can we have so many missionaries in China? Therefore, it is like the more you go to China to raise people, more ‘spiritual orphans’ will be created, what we can we do to tackle the situation?" Lo explained the challenge faced by China as the mission is advancing.
"In addition, due to geographical and language difficulties, there are a lot of rural areas or ethnic groups in China that have never been pioneered by missionaries."
"Missionaries in a Box" is thus believed to be a strategic tool to provide pastoral care to believers in Mainland China through airwaves, as religious freedom is limited and there are many practical difficulties in sending missionaries as well as Christian recourses.
On a promotion brochure of "Missionaries in a Box," FEBC describes that one radio set would mean sending "over 60 gospel radio program anchors, 100 pastors, 1000 Christian testimonies and a virtual theological seminary" to China, serving both non-believers and believers all year long.
A response from a listener Cao in Yunnan province in November last year said there is a hunger for the word of God in the minority church. Another listener Yip from Guangxi also shared that the radio sets have been sent to the hands of Tibetans as Tibetans living in rural areas are lack of church to go to or pastor to teach them.
FEBC Chinese ministry produces a wide range of programs for believers of different levels of faith. More than gospel programs for beginners, FEBC offers programs tailor-made for spiritual education and discipleship training. Apart from Mandarin and Cantonese languages for majority of "Han" Chinese, programs are also available in a number of languages spoken by minority ethnic groups, such as Mongolian, Tibetan, Hmong, lu Mien and among others.
According to FEBC, each radio set will just cost $30. FEBC urges Chinese churches in the United States to support the project so that "Missionaries in a Box" can be sent to China.