HENAN, China – Henan, a huge province covering 167,000 km2, is home to more than 95 million. Rich in mineral resources, Henan has reserves that are among the largest in China. Historically, it was the cradle of Chinese civilisation.
However, alongside these noteworthy economic and historical accomplishments is tremendous spiritual hunger and a need for more Bibles among the rural poor.
In this feature, we focus on the UBS Bible Distribution trip to Tongxu County in September 2017.
Zhang Xiufu (photo above), a 66-year-old farmer, came to the Bible distribution event to get a new Bible with bigger print. His current Bible is 20 years old and quite tattered. So he was very happy to receive a new copy. The Word of God is very important to Zhang. His favourite verse is John 3:16 as it talks about God’s love and grace.
Li Yumei, a 64-year-old farmer, has a Bible which was published 50 years ago. Like any other Christians in relatively poor rural areas, Yumei cannot afford a Bible. She had come to faith through her mother. Her mother’s colleague who had since passed away had given her the Bible. The Bible certainly looks worn out.
Upon receiving her new Bible, Yumei was so moved that she started tearing. Besides picking up a new Bible for herself, she collected another one for her youngest son. Her youngest son was badly injured by a farming tool at the age of three and Yumei had witnessed God healing him. Knowing that her son is seeking the truth in life, Yumei often encourages him to depend on God. She encourages him from Isaiah 41:10 which says – that God is with him and will strengthen and help him.
Jiang Mingchen, is 78 years old. He came to faith when his mother-in-law and sister-in-law shared with him about Jesus. His Bible which has been in use for 20 years is most precious to him. He shares with conviction, “If you depart from the Bible, you have no road ahead.” To the donors of the Bibles, Jiang says, “Thank you for giving us the Bible. God’s Word gives strength to our lives.”
Story: Angela Teo
Edited: Tan Lay Leng
Photo: UBS CP
2018 © United Bible Societies China Partnership
More About Henan
- Henan has an estimated 5 million Christians, pastored by 1,100 pastors and elders, putting the average ratio of pastors/ elders to believers at 1:4,545.
- Most of these believers are rural poor who can only afford subsidized Bibles. About 50% of the rural believers still do not have their own Bible.
- The average income of a farmer is about RMB 2,000 (USD 300) per year. Many live on a little bit more than their farm produce or depend on their children who work in the cities to bring money home.