SHAANXI, China - In early 2013, Ding Yunying lost her father and father-in-law within the span of a month. They were very dear to her, and their sudden deaths caused much unbearable pain in her heart. She did not understand why kind people like them would depart from this world so soon. She started to lose hope in life and coupled with experiencing deception at work, Ding felt even more weary. Her heart was full of anxiety and confusion.
It was in this helpless despair that Ding encountered God through a Christian friend who invited her to church. Ding found peace and joy in the church and learning that God is a God of fairness and justice comforted Ding's heart greatly. In that same year, Ding placed her trust in Jesus, was baptized and embarked on the path of serving God.
Today, Ding is in her second year studying the Lay Preachers’ Course (义工班) at Shaanxi Bible School and serves in the church choir and preaching ministry. “Before I studied theology, I had very little exposure to Bible exposition. I only listened to the sermons in church, and there were hardly any resources to help me understand the Scripture systematically,” Ding recalled.
“I was not confident in preaching the gospel and shepherding the believers in my church because I was not equipped. Though some lay preachers shared their experiences with me, I still felt inadequate to serve knowing that I lacked training.”
The Bible resources available in her Bible School library supported by the United Bible Societies (UBS) have greatly addressed Ding’s concerns. “By studying and examining these resources and materials, I could see the same issue from different angles and have a more comprehensive understanding of the Bible. I used to have a headache reading the books of the Prophets as they were difficult to understand. For example, in Hosea, I felt that God was very unfair. Hosea was a good man. Why did God make him marry an adulteress? After reading the Bible resources, I understood that God wanted us to appreciate His intentions for the Israelites. Though they were rebellious, God showed His unending love towards a sinful nation like Israel. God chastens us because He loves us, and He accepts us unconditionally.” The Bible resources informed Ding’s understanding of the Bible.
Ding and many of her classmates come from the grassroots church (基层教会) and they lack Bible resources. Their thirst for God’s Word makes them cherish the wonderful opportunity to go more in-depth in studying the Scripture at the Bible School library.
“The resources and materials in the library are very valuable to us. We are seeing them for the first time in our life! Without these Bible resources supported by UBS, we would only be able to understand the Bible by attending lectures or sermons, and the knowledge we received would be limited. As a preacher, I need to lead believers scripturally. It is only when I am equipped that I would then be able to shepherd them more effectively.”
Ding expressed her gratitude towards UBS. “Your loving contribution of the Bible resources has given us an opportunity to learn much. The best way to thank our supporters is to share the gospel and spread the Christian love to more people and understand more deeply that we have a true God whom we will serve with full commitment and dedication.”
UBS has been partnering theological seminaries and Bible Schools in China to build up a good collection of Bible reference books to equip pastors, preachers and teachers with a strong Biblical foundation. Would you be willing to help Ding and many like her to become more effective shepherds of the church?
Story: Priscilla Fan & May Ang
Photos: UBS CP
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