HENAN, China – One Bible Training Centre in Henan province has been providing training to many lay preachers in the region since 1989. Each year, the number of applicants is double the capacity of the school. Many have to be turned down and put on waiting list.
The training the students receive is basic as many have little education and are poor farmers from the villages. But the students are determined. Even on a cold Saturday afternoon, the classroom is full. During their on-campus training, eight students share a dormitory. After completing the training, they will receive a lay preacher license, which will allow them to preach in churches and associated meeting points till they turn 60.
Associated with the Bible Training Centre is its music school. The music school was started in 2007 with the primary objective of training musicians for the church. This is the first music school to be set up in the area.
An Elder of a church is in charge of the operations of this facility even though she has no background in music. Though operating the music school is demanding, she gives her time as a volunteer. Her heart and compassion for the students are obvious. Most of the students come from poor families and find it hard to pay the school fees.
Here students from as young as fifteen can choose to learn the piano, guitar or drums. There are about eighty students enrolled and approximately fifty are females. The females are housed in one dormitory with the males housed separately. All the students are provided with a bed, a locker and daily meal.
The Need for Bibles
We are told that the students lack study materials. What caught our attention are their worn Bibles. One Bible lacks a cover. Another is falling apart at its stem but is taped together lovingly. Many possess Bibles with pages torn, dogged eared and marked with notes. But for these students, their Bibles are too precious to be thrown away.
“The students are in need of new Bibles. How can a workman work without his tools?” commented a reverend. ‘We are praying for new Bibles for our students.’
Story: Jenise Lee
2013 © United Bible Societies China Partnership