SHANDONG, China – “We are still short of Bibles in my village,” said a grateful Ms Tao Suhua who received a copy of the Bible during a church Bible distribution supported by the United Bible Societies (UBS) in March this year.
Church leaders from Jining City Christian Council spread the word to churches in nearby towns and villages that this Bible distribution is for any believer who has yet to own a Bible or those who desire to pick up a copy for a friend or family member in need of a Bible.
Throngs of Christians came to the church that day: new believers receiving their first Bibles, and some elderly folks who wanted a copy of the Chinese Union Version Bible donated by UBS because their old Bibles were in the traditional Chinese script with a vertical layout.
When asked why she said that there was a shortage of Bibles where she came from, Tao replied earnestly, “My church is a town-level church and it does not have a Bible bookstore. Hence believers have to travel for over an hour to the city to buy a copy from the city-level church.”
“Many elderly believers hesitate to undertake the journey to buy Bibles as it involves some transfers on public transport. To believers who are not as mobile, Bibles are not easily accessible and available to them.”
“I am so grateful to be given a Bible in my village church today,” Tao exclaimed in appreciation to UBS donors.
“How can I understand God's Word without a Bible? Without God's Word, life would have been much more trying for me.”
What the Bible Means to Tao
Tao, now 52 years old, had stopped attending church after her marriage failed. Hoping for a fresh beginning, she remarried six years ago, only to find that her second husband is a mahjong addict. “My husband and I have had many fights over his preoccupation with mahjong. He could be playing for five days continuously!”
Indeed his addiction left Tao enraged for days. “Sometimes, I feel as if I have just left the wolf's den for the tiger's lair.”
It was on Christmas day, 2016, that Tao accepted an invitation from a friend to return to church. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she shared how the friend, who had invited her, reached out to her with these words: “It's Christmas time. Our Heavenly Father is watching over you, waiting for you to come home to Him. So when are you coming back?” She knew then it was time to return to church.
Although she finds her life full of twists and turns, Tao has now learned to hold on to the Word of God.
Whenever she is angry with her husband, God would remind her about forgiveness from Matthew’s Gospel and that He has been forgiving her over the years.
“Unlike before, I now have the Word of God and feel much stronger in my life as I’ve learned to lay down my weariness and commit everything to the Lord.”
Tao is also hoping to be a faithful witness and to lead her husband to Christ one day.
Tao reads her Bible every day. She has also started sharing her personal spiritual reflections on WeChat, a social media platform, with her friends. This was her recent post:
“As the years go by, I learn more and more about God's heart. He has spent much time leading me, molding me, and refining me. He allowed me to hunger for something more in life and then fed me with food I’d never known before. Now, I know the truth of ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4 (ESV)”
Many Christians like Tao have drawn strength from reading the Word of God daily. The Bible is their spiritual food which they feed on everyday. Please pray for the many Christians in China who have been blessed by the gift of Bibles from UBS donors and for those who are still waiting for a personal copy.
Photo: Provided by Tao Suhua
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