(Or … ” I have heard so many conficting stories about the persecuted church in Asia! -Is there persecution in Asia or Not?!?”)
We have observed “waffle-like” patterns in China and Southeast Asian nations for over two decades. Here is what we mean:
While one square of the waffle (city, province, region) in a given country may be relatively peaceful, the square(s) adjacent to it or hundreds of miles away can be full of persecution, Bible shortages, etc. Moreover, present realities – be they characterized by relative “peace” or “persecution” – do not guarantee that circumstances will stay the same. Often a report from one square of the waffle today will be quite the opposite over the next month, or year, or other seemingly random sequence of time.
“Square(s)” situations can – and and often do – change. So, please do not rely solely on reports that declare the end of persecution, or that there are plenty of Bibles, or that there is no need for training, or that it is no longer necessary for missionaries / “tentmakers” to guard their identities, etc. These reports typically come from good-willed people, but these folks usually have limited ARNA experience and/or their knowledge is likelly limited to “their square”. Hence, their wellll-intentioned, limited-in-scope reports are often presented as representative of the entire waffle. “It’s all good” reports may be true in one, or many waffle’s squares, but they rarely reflect Christendom realities throughout a given province, region or country and they do not guarantee the same will be true next month, or next year, or … tomorrow! –