A Christian missionary says God is using “sin and corruption” on Macau to help them win mainland China for Christ.

Pastor John Birkeland, who has worked in Macau for more than 30 years, says that “with all the casinos coming in — and all the sin and corruption that goes along with it — I believe that God is going to use it as an opportunity to win people to Christ, and I believe even to use Macau, as He has in the past, to win China for Christ.”

The former Portuguese returned to mainland China eight years ago and — like Hong Kong — is one of China’s Special Administrative Regions with different laws from the mainland.

Shark Practice

Another Macau pastor, Jimmy Tan, founded the Industrial Evangelistic Fellowship four years ago purely to help problem gamblers. He says he has ministered to over 1,000 problem punters, and admits many members of his own family had similar issues.

His aunt and uncle were even HANGED by a loan shark when they couldn’t pay gambling debts.

Extra support comes from the Macau Evangelical Church which has seen its congregation swell from 20 eight years ago to 3,000 now — including 2,000 STUDENTS.

Many spend Sunday afternoons distributing religious materials including magazines and DVDs to punters waiting for buses to the casinos.

Foreign Gambles

Macau opened its first casino more than 160 years ago, and its economy depends on the industry. Latest figures show more than 70 per cent of the island’s economy comes from them.

Most Macanese don’t gamble, but Macau is the ONLY place in China where casinos are legal and tourism keeps the tables busy.

Birkeland said that the booming casino industry is the biggest challenge to his work.

“It’s always been a hindrance,” he said. “Because when you get involved in the casinos, then you get involved in triads, drugs, prostitution and corruption.

“But today, with new casinos coming in, it’s just expanding and blowing up.”






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