YUNNAN, China – The United Bible Societies visited a remote East Lisu church in the mountains of Yunnan Province to distribute Bibles to the people of the East Lisu ethnic minority group.
When I was sitting in the congregation, one East Lisu girl snuggled up close to me, stared at me with her big eyes and asked me to play with her. I made friends with Liu Xiaoyan, an 11 year-old East Lisu girl who is now studying in Primary 4. Xiaoyan speaks good Mandarin as this is the only language taught in school. Nevertheless, she is also fluent in East Lisu as she uses this tongue to converse with her family and friends daily.
Like many adults in rural China, Xiaoyan’s parents left her behind in the village to be cared for by her 66-year-old grandmother as they left home to work in a shoe factory in Wenzhou City about 2500 km away. In this way, they are able to earn more to feed the family. The village has already experienced 3 years of drought. The people have not been able to sow their crops and their income has been greatly affected.
Xiaoyan misses her parents tremendously. Her parents only get to visit her once a year. I sensed that she needs more attention — more love. She hugged me freely even though I was only a new friend.
I asked Xiaoyan if she has her own Bible. She said, “No”. Her parents had brought their Bible with them to work in Wenzhou. She revealed that her grandmother, Bai Zhifen, does not own a Bible. I asked Xiaoyan if she knew who Jesus was. She shook her head. I told her to queue up later to get a free copy of the Bible and then a church sister would tell her more. She obediently did so with 50 other kids. They each received a copy of Today’s Chinese Version (TCV) from their pastor. TCV is easy to understand. The East Lisu Bible translation team is translating the Bible into East Lisu using TCV as a reference. The New Testament was completed in 2009 and the team is now working hard in translating the Old Testament.
That night, a sister in church gathered the children and told them about Jesus.
Please pray for the East Lisu Bible translation to be completed and application for approval to print and distribute the Bibles will be smooth.
Millions in China will experience life changing power from reading God’s Word if more Bibles are made available for them. If you would like to make a financial contribution towards this need, please contact us or the Bible Society in your country and designate your gift to “UBS China Partnership — Bible Translation in China”.
Photos and story by Ms. YEO Tan Tan
Edited by Pamela Choo
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership