China – Eighteen years ago, Wang, an ethnic Miao Christian, left his family in the village to do a three-year Bible school training in the city. He was frowned upon by people in his village.
“They did not understand why I would leave my family to do Bible school training,” recalled Wang. “I too felt bad, if not for my family’s support and blessings.”
Like many Chinese pastors and preachers across China, the cost of Christian service for Wang is borne by the entire family. The house that the family lives in now was paid for by his parents who had gone to work in the city.
Wang’s wife cultivated the land and took care of their three children, while he was away at Bible School. For Wang, he was able to focus on studies because of the support and blessings he received from his family who are also devout Christians.
So, Wang is grateful to have the blessings of his wife and parents. “It is the love of God that compels us. It is a miracle that I could finish the three years of studies,” shared Wang.
Since the completion of his studies, he has been serving as a lay preacher in his village church. It is also the love of God that compels Wang to be involved in Bible translation work ten years ago.
For the Churches in China, it is nearly impossible for the sole bread winner of the house to avail himself for full-time church service, especially in the rural areas, without the support of the family. Believers in the rural areas usually have little means to support their church pastors and preachers financially.
Yet, it has been a challenging journey for Wang, having to balance family and ministry demands. “Once, my child told me that he had been going hungry for three days,” he shared. “It pains my heart.”
The situation was so dire that Wang had taken leave from the Bible translation work and sought employment in other types of work. But each time Wang did so, there was no peace in his heart as he thought about the translation work he had left behind.
“I came back and recommitted myself to the task. I believe that the translation work is going to impact the current and next generation of people.”
Now with the financial support from the United Bible Societies through the Churches in China, for the Bible translation work, which helped cover some of his expenses, Wang is grateful and encouraged to plod on.
“I believe it is the love of God in you and in me that that has drawn us together. Thank you.”
Indeed, full time Christian ministry is not one person’s responsibility and the work of Bible translation is not just one man’s burden.
There are millions of ethnic minorities in China. Majority of these people groups do not have the Bible in their heart language. For many believers, it is a cherished dream to have a Bible in their own language. United Bible Societies China Partnership (UBS CP) aims to give ethnic minority people access to God’s Word through supporting the Churches in China in Bible translation and printing. To make this dream a reality, financial support is needed and competent translators of minority languages engaged to work on the text. For these individuals, their service comes at a great personal cost as the work takes them away from their families and livelihood for many arduous years. Yet on this hard and long road of selfless service, God’s amazing grace abounds. Please pray for these Bible translators and their families.
Based on interview and notes by Lydia Zhang
Photo: UBS CP
2021 © United Bible Societies China Partnership