As we entered the narrow alley of a Church in Henan Province, the pathway was lined with bicycles and tricycles of people coming for the Bible literacy class. We walked towards the sanctuary and the sound of Scripture reading began to echo through the neighborhood. This Church is more than 100 years old with Chinese styled decorations inside the sanctuary. The red banner above the pulpit boldly declares, “Our Savior Lives”. Mdm Liu, the teacher, held on to a microphone, read out a verse from John’s Gospel, and the students followed. She used the blackboard to teach them how to write the difficult words, provided explanation, and taught them pronunciation (known as “Hanyupinyin”).
The students were mainly peasants. Majority of them who were eager to learn were women and elderly folks having little or no education at all. A student coming to the Bible literacy class would receive a Bible, a notebook and a pen sponsored by the United Bible Societies.
Mdm Wei (65 years old) is a member of the Church. She related her personal story of how the doctors gave up hope on her son after a terrible accident but God miraculously saved him from the brink of death. Through the process, someone shared Christ with her. She believed. She knows that God loves her very much and blessed her greatly by performing a miracle in her son’s life. She considers being able to read, write and understand God’s word is a great blessing from the Lord. Her son has not been to school. Thus, she brought him to the Bible literacy class as well. It is her desire that her son, having been saved by God, will have the chance to learn to read God’s Word.
There is a sense of urgency hastening them to learn, nudging them on the importance of the Bible. Many, like Mdm Wei, are already in their 50s and 60s. They come in the hundreds to the Bible literacy classes. The helpless feeling when they are not able to read God’s Word is removed. These classes have met an important spiritual need of the brothers and sister in China.
Photos taken and article written by:
Ms YEO Tan Tan, Program Manager
United Bible Societies, China Partnership