“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37).
With the ByFaith website online reaching large numbers of people for Christ, brothers Paul and Mathew Backholer were free from ongoing writing and coding to follow the missionary call once again.
“From our missionary outreaches at Bible College we knew millions are without a Bible and a Christian witness,” said Mathew Backholer. “I smuggled Bibles into closed countries before and we knew the ministry must continue.”
Over two decades Paul and Mathew followed the call to preach the gospel wherever the Holy Spirit led. “The Lord Jesus told the Church to go into all the world and preach the gospel,” said Mathew’s brother Paul, “and it was incredible the way the Holy Spirit opened the doors to share His message from Khartoum to Rio de Janeiro.”
The Bible is banned in much of Islamic North Africa and arriving with bags full of Bibles to distribute was electrifying. “Imagine never hearing the gospel or having a Bible to read,” said Mathew. “We must reach the unreached.”
Try to picture Paul Backholer preaching from a canoe in the remote islands of the Pacific, or Mathew sharing Christ in the slums of India. Wherever called by God, they risked all and went. The brothers travelled through eleven nations in Africa; one day they would testify in churches, another day they would pray with the sick whilst witnessing on the street. They travelled on local buses and stayed in cheap hotels which helped them to meet local people and experience Divine appointments.
In China, the reality of the persecuted Church was stark. The brothers met with Chinese believers in secret and heard of the terrible persecution Chinese Christians receive from the Communist regime. Countless thousands of Christians have been imprisoned, tortured and harassed, churches are closed and their contacts say the situation is getting worse.
“China has lived through a powerful revival,” said Mathew Backholer, “with tens of millions of Chinese people converting to put their faith in Jesus Christ the Lord.” This Christian awakening has shaken the paranoid leadership of the nation, even though Chinese Christians remain patriotic. “We love Jesus,” they said, “and we’re loyal to a peaceful China.”
The need for Bibles for the millions of converts in China and beyond is immense. Worldwide the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit is abundant and new believers need Bibles, and new evangelists born from revival need financial support to free them to share Christ. “The advantage local evangelists have is they know the language and culture,” said Paul. “Increasingly we found the Lord leading the ministry to help those who are already in the field preaching to their own.”
Paul and Mathew have visited over forty countries, including traversing the length of Africa from Cairo to the Cape to testify, plodding overland across South-East Asia from India to Vietnam working with churches, travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Mongolia across Russia to witness, meeting believers in China, sharing the light all over Europe and voyaging to the ends of the earth on missionary endeavour.
Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:15-18).