“These Gospel booklets are like a window, opening opportunities for us to share God’s Word,” comments Cao Hongwei, 48, who works in a busy clothes shop in central Nanjing. “We display them at the till and if a customer asks about them I tell them that God loves them and invite them to take one.”
“Many people have come back and commented that they enjoyed reading the booklets and some have started attending church. I am very glad to be part of this work, which I do for God.”
The shop is one of seven in the city owned by a Christian businesswoman who stocks the free booklets in all her shops. The booklets are published by the Jiangsu Christian Council/TSPM with help from UBS and offer an insight into the Christian faith.
Demand for Portions
“Some are designed to be given out at Christmas or Chinese New Year, while others address particular needs, such as illness or worry,” explains Rev Li Cheng Nan, who heads up the Jiangsu Bible distribution centre and is responsible for the distribution of the booklets.
“We produced a special Olympics one called To Be Great. We have had a very positive response to all these booklets since we first started printing them about seven years ago, and there is a steady demand for them in many provinces.”
Next door to the shop in which Mrs Cao works is a skin and beauty salon, which is also owned by a group of Christian businesswomen, including Gao Qing and dermatologist Dr Qu Binxin. Several different Christian booklets are on display at the elegant reception desk and are also scattered on some of the tables where clients can sit and enjoy a drink while they await their treatment.
“Most of our staff are Christians and offer the booklets to our clients,” says Dr Qu. “Many copies have gone out through the doors of this clinic.”
Facing problems in your life?
“This particular booklet (entitled A Gift) has been very popular among our clients,” says Mrs Gao, holding up one with a purple cover. “The front cover asks, ‘Are you facing problems in your life? What is life all about?’
“Many people these days feel under pressure – from work or family or socially – and they can relate to these questions. So they ask about this booklet and we use this as an opportunity to tell them a little about Jesus.”
Talk about their problems
“I don’t feel competent to explain Christianity to the clients,” smiles Peng Lihua, 27, a beautician who works at the salon and who has been a Christian for three years. “But while I give them their beauty treatments, many women talk about their lives and the problems they have.
“Some have marital problems and are full of sadness or bitterness. If I see they have a need, I tell them a little about my own faith and offer them a booklet so they can find out more.”
Written by UBS/Andrea Rhodes
Photos taken by UBS/Dag Smemo