Yunnan: This is 29 year-old Wang Hai, a preacher and a church planter, who is from the Miao ethnic group. He is one of twenty-four recipients who received a motorbike from the United Bible Societies for their ministry and Bible distribution.
These motorbikes were donated for the purpose of helping poor preachers minister in difficult conditions to reach remote meeting points and churches. As a result, people now enjoy greater access to Bibles and better connection with their preacher. Prior to getting the motorbike, Wang used to walk for days trekking up and down the mountains. With the motorbike, Wang is now able to shorten his journey to 5 hours on average.
Harsh Living Circumstances
Wang Hai has been the only preacher in his village in the last 12 years. He ministers among the poor and is not unfamiliar with hunger. “After I graduated from Yunnan Bible seminary in 2005, I was leading a group of 200 Miao believers. Poverty was rife and I drew no salary. During a poor harvest, we would often go hungry”, Wang recalled.
Wang grew up in a Christian family and knew from a very young age that he wanted to dedicate his whole life to serve God. He started preaching at the age of 17. His family sacrificed in order to put him, the eldest of three sons, through Yunnan Bible seminary. Upon graduation, Wang returned to his home church, Trinity Church, knowing that the road ahead would be full of challenges.
“I knew that the most important task for me was to solve the issue of hunger and to help the church be self-supporting and mission-minded.”Wang said. As a result, Wang started learning how to plant medicinal herbs and shared this knowledge with his fellow believers in 2008. The believers hope that they will soon be able to harvest their first batch in the near future.
Bibles for a Growing Church
Under Wang’s leadership, Trinity Church in the mountains has grown from strength to strength. Wang has a great passion for the lost; he sees the gift of salvation beyond the Miao people, hence he started a bilingual service (in Miao and Han languages) to reach out to the other ethnic groups in the community. Now, his Sunday church services are attended by people from the Han and Yi ethnic groups as well. In the short span of seven years, this church is thriving with 500 believers, 300 of them are young people.
Riding his motorbike, Wang goes out at least twice or thrice a week. “There are places where there are new believers and they don’t have Bibles. I will use the motorbike to bring Bibles to them,” said Wang. He was grateful to the United Bible Societies for providing the church with Bibles last year so that they could continue to give. This has helped ‘feed’ the expanding church.
Not just a Preacher but a Church Planter too
Wang would often go out to share the gospel in the other villages. In 2010, he planted a meeting point on one of his evangelistic journeys. The number of Christians at the meeting place today has grown to around 50.
In February 2012, Wang took the motorbike, travelled 8 hours over 200 km on mountainous terrain, so that he could visit the believers and bring them God’s Word. Although his body ached badly from the arduous journeys, he remains joyful. “When I visit the villagers, I may look tired physically but I am happy inside. I will bring Bibles to all believers who need them.”
Wang shared that it is not unusual for villagers to meet until 2 or 3 AM. Maybe it is because it is difficult for these people to see their shepherd often. Or maybe it is because they value each other in Christ and thirst for God’s Word that they treasure every moment together. The motorbike has come in useful in making this meeting more bearable for the preacher.
“There is a shortage of pastors and God is willing to use me. Because of UBS’s donors, I now have this motorbike to get to the people in the mountains. My body may ache after riding long distances but my heart is happy. In winter, when the road is icy, I tell God that the steering wheel is in His hands and I have never fallen. Now I realize that God uses this motorbike as a tool for His service,” says Wang.
Despite his young age, Wang Hai has shown himself to be wise, selfless and dedicated. UBS is grateful to God for the chance to partner with someone like Wang Hai whose life personifies God’s love.
Written by Jenise Lee & Ms Yeo Tan Tan
Edited by Pamela Choo