INNER MONGOLIA, China - Early in the morning on 23 September 2013, 200 Mongolian lay leaders of various rural fellowship groups gathered at Baolongshan church for the release of the Mongolian New Testament trial edition. Together with the church congregation, a bilingual service was held in Chinese and Mongolian, with dancing, worship, prayers, preaching and joyful fellowship.
Some leaders used bags, while others bundled the Mongolian NT trial edition with raffia strings to carry them back to their members.
Sharengeriyue, 58, and Zhang Shuqin, 53, are lay leaders of a Mongolian fellowship group in the rural areas. The 30 members in this group are of ages ranging from 27 to 104 years old. Since the Mongolian Four Gospels (trial edition) was released in 2011, Sharengeriyue has been using it.
“We are a rural farming community. Many people have never studied Chinese. As for me, I only have 5 years of education in Mongolian. I am not good with my Chinese so I cannot fully understand the Chinese Bible. With the Mongolian Four Gospels, I can ‘see more’ into the Scripture. It is easier for Mongolians to understand and to share the gospel,” said Sharengeriyue.
Tong Guihua, 52, a Mongolian lay preacher, came to know the Lord six years ago. She received Christ after her relatives shared the Gospel with her in her mother tongue. Two years later, while praying to the Lord, she felt a great desire to share the Gospel and offered her home to the Lord for His use. When the Four Gospels trial edition was released, she used it to teach her fellowship group which started with 3-4 members. It has grown to 10 members in 4 years. “What about the Old Testament?” Tong asked. “We need the Old Testament. I hope it will come soon.”
During one of the distribution trips of the Mongolian NT trial edition, a group of Mongolian sisters requested Mongolian preacher, Bao Xiaolin to pray in their mother tongue. They have never heard prayers in their mother tongue before since all services are conducted in Chinese. They stood together in the church courtyard and held hands while Bao prayed fluently in Mongolian. One sister sobbed uncontrollably. She could only express her feelings through her tears. For the first time, she heard a prayer to God her Father, in her own heart language. The NT in her hands will give her the words to pray in her own mother tongue.
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Story and photos: Ms Yeo Tan Tan
Edited: Angela Tay
2013 © United Bible Societies China Partnership