Hebei, China – Though dressed in typical teenage garb – hooded sweatshirt and track pants, with her hair pulled back – it is not hard to tell that Wang Jianan (“Canaan” in Chinese), 14, is mature beyond her age.
Every Sunday morning, Jianan, would be found in church serving pre-school kids ranging from age 4-5 in her church Sunday School ministry. Her responsibilities include leading the little ones in worship singing, teaching them from the Bible, serving them drinks and biscuits, comforting them when they cry and last but not least, bringing them to the toilet. And what is her reason for doing so? “Two years ago, I saw that there is a great need in Sunday School ministry and so I decided to serve here,” shared Jianan earnestly. “Even though there are challenging days like when the kids throw tantrums, I see those times as opportunities for me to learn to be patient and to depend on God through prayer. God helps me to see each child as His unique creation.”
Grandma, my spiritual mentor
Jianan attributes her spiritual maturity to her grandma and parents. “Since I was five years old, my grandma would read the Bible and sing hymns with me. She would do that without fail everyday. She is the person who has influenced my life the most,” recalled Jianan who reads through the Bible once every year. “Now, my parents would also have family devotional time together, especially on days when my father is at home and not away for business trips. They would teach me from the Bible and pray with me.” Jianan’s mother is also a Sunday School teacher, specialising in art and craft.
True Wisdom from the Bible
To Jianan, it is important to learn to live a life of wisdom and in reverence to God. “It doesn’t matter if you have failed. Even David has made some terrible mistakes, but he repented and returned to God. It shows that he still has that reverence for God and that is important.” She believes that the truths taught in the Bible are more precious and valuable than what is taught in school. “Even though what schools teach is also important as it will be useful for making a living, what the Bible teach is more valuable because the Word of God endures, it teaches us wisdom that the world can’t,” shared Jianan who loves to read Proverbs and Psalms.
It is rare to hear how the Bible has such an important place in a young person’s life especially in the digital age, where people, young or old are inundated with information coming from the media. We are heartened to know that despite the distractions posed by the world, a young soul is quietly being rooted in God’s Word and continues to make the Word central to her life. We pray that many more young people like Jianan will find God’s Word attractive and to have their lives soaked in the Bible.
Story: Cynthia Oh
Edit: Angela Teo
2016 © United Bible Societies China Partnership