“The Bible Comes Alive: Window into the Christian Church in China” –What it Means to me

Pamela Choo with her two children, Ethan and Elysa. (Her husband who’s camera-shy, was the photographer)

Pamela Choo shares her personal journey as the co-writer of the photobook, The Bible Comes Alive.

Singapore — Not long ago at a Bible Study meeting, an informal discussion started among my church mates on Christianity in China. My church friends were surprised to learn that China now has an “open door” policy and that Bibles can be distributed freely. Needless to say, my church friends were bowled over when I shared that the world’s largest Bible printing press is found in China, and that the Chinese Church is growing at an explosive rate with thousands embracing Christianity every single day.

That night I returned home from the meeting, deep in thought. If I were not in the China Bible ministry, I might also have shared the same presuppositions as my church friends.

Photo Book on Christian Church in China

It was Bishop John Chew who first construed the idea of doing a photo book on the Christian Church in China. When UBS China Partnership Director Kua Wee Seng asked if I could help with writing the chapter introductions and edit the photo captions, I must confess that I was of two minds.

As much as I believe in Bible missions in China, and the need to share with the world the current Church situation in China, I cannot see myself to be used by God for this mammoth task. It was not because I did not have faith in the competency of Jimmy Lam, an award-wining photographer who volunteered to undertake this task; rather it was because I did not have enough faith in the one true God who ‘is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us’ (Eph 3:20; ESV) to work through me.

Own the Task

“This would be a sensational book! You’ll be proud to have your name on it.” Jimmy Lam gushed enthusiastically over and over again.  Ironically, Jimmy’s excitement made me even more nervous.

It was hard to refuse Wee Seng; it was even harder to say no to Bishop John Chew. I knew that in the end I still had to do the work. I might as well “start owning the task” from the very start”, I told myself.

An Incredible Time Schedule

All the writing and editing of chapters and the more than 200 photo captions as well as countless proof-reading were completed in less than three months! Not an incredible feat for full-timers but we were all working in part-time capacities as we have full-time commitments elsewhere.

Those involved in the work, including the team from Marshall Cavendish, were so dedicated and professional in their specialized areas that all completed their assigned task well ahead of the agreed time schedule.

Participant at the book launch

The “Wow” Effect

When the much anticipated photo book was out, the photographs spoke for themselves. Many who have seen the photos in the book were rendered speechless by the fresh revelations laid bare before them. Many of them were amazed that the Church in China is full of vigor and fervor for God and active in social services.

After reading the book cover to cover, a church friend said, “A wonderful photo journal that opened my eyes to the Church in China! All praise to our Lord for the people he brought together to make this book and the work of the Church in China possible.”

The desired “wow” effect has gone beyond raising international awareness of China’s present church situation to greater support for Bible ministry in China!

Give Glory Where It Is Due

Looking back, I see God’s hand in everything. It was Him who freed up Jimmy’s time so that he could travel to China to take these photographs; it was Him who won the heart of a Christian philanthropist to cover all costs incurred; it was Him who secured Marshall Cavendish to undertake the publishing work; it was Him who provided me with the inspiration to write….. I could go on with the list.

Now with the final product in front of me, I am both awed and humbled. God has taught me a precious lesson on faith which I will put in my memory bank forever.

When the dust has settled and the photo book has gone out to our funding Bible Societies and donors, there is an assurance that the untold stories of the Church in China many, like my church friends, have not heard, will finally be revealed this day.

All Glory to God!


Story: Pamela Choo
Edited: Cynthia Oh
2014 © United Bible Societies China Partnership

About the Photobook

“The Bible Comes Alive” photobook is a pictorial portrayal of the Church in China. Not only does it represent the sweat and toil of award-wining international photographer, Jimmy Lam who has made many trips to China over the last 1½ years, it is a masterpiece put together by experts at famous publishing house, Marshall Cavendish, revealing the untold stories of the present Church in China. It paints a vivid picture proclaiming to the international world what God has been doing in Communist China over the last 3 decades!

Not surprisingly, “The Bible Comes Alive” has been picked from among thousands of entries to be featured in the American Photography 2014 and on its website on award-winning entries this May. This year is the 30th Anniversary of the American Photography and it has also selected to feature The Bible Comes Alive on its website for May 2014.