Will you say, “Yes Lord Jesus, I am willing to serve you!” when you are a poor preacher living in poor rural areas, who may have to give up your family’s income through subsistence farming to preach the gospel and shepherd the flock?
These are amongst the many challenges facing poor needy preachers like 33-year-old Mu Weixu, a Dai ethnic preacher who lives in the mountainous areas of Yunnan province. Most of them face a dilemma – they are caught between answering the call of God to preach in impoverished areas to rural Christians and being a filial son, a dutiful father and the family’s sole breadwinner.
“It’s difficult to share the Good News with my people group, the Dai people, because they have deep-rooted customs and traditional beliefs,” said preacher Mu. Mu and his wife serve in their church as they both share a heartfelt burden to reach out to their own people group.
However, Mu admits that he faces the temptation to seek a well-paying job in the city so that he could meet his family’s physical needs, particularly when he became a new father last year and his elderly parents’ health started to fail.
Believers in rural churches, especially the ethnic minority believers who live in rural regions in Yunnan province, can barely support their preachers. Most of the ethnic minority preachers are “volunteer” preachers who provide for their families through subsistence farming or part-time jobs which they had to take on in addition to their duties of preaching and pastoring their churches.
Impact of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
The widespread effects of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic throughout China have worsened the financial situation of these poor ethnic minority Christians.
While Yunnan province is located some 2,000 km away from Wuhan city, the Chinese epicenter of the coronavirus, the nationwide suspension of all church meetings indefinitely until further notice meant that these preachers could not receive any financial support from their congregants. Moreover, part-time work options for them were not possible during the period of travel restrictions and the lockdown in China.
A Window of Opportunity
The virus outbreak crisis may turn out to be an opportunity for preachers like Mu, to minister to their affected congregants. As many of the rural Christians battle fears of health risks and of losing their jobs in the city, this may be a window of opportunity for these needy preachers to encourage their fellow congregants.
“I am thankful for UBS’ support, for now I can visit more brothers and sisters, and travel far to preach God’s Word. What’s more, the needs of our baby can be taken care of now. This has strengthened my faith to know that God will always provide for me as I serve Him faithfully!” Brother Mu wanted to share his gratitude with us.
If you would like to support these needy Yunnan preachers, please speak to your respective Bible Societies, designating your donation to “Supporting Needy Preachers in China”. For a list of Bible Societies and their contact details, please visit this page.
Story: Marcus Xiao and Pamela Choo
Photo: Yunnan CC/TSPM
2020 © United Bible Societies China Partnership