Scripture Literacy Class for White Yi Christians – Part II

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Music-lover Li Zhengxing

Missions through Music

Li Zhengxing, 45, has a strong focus on missions. He shared excitedly that he reached out to the elderly by singing hymns to them.

For more than a year, Li runs a school that teaches children how to play the piano and how to study God’s Word. “I think this a very good platform to teach God’s Word to the young ones,” Li smiled as he spoke. “I am grateful to my family who is very supportive. They do most of the farming chores while I run the music training school and serve in church.”

For more than a year, Li runs a school that teaches children how to play the piano and how to study God’s Word. “I think this a very good platform to teach God’s Word to the young ones,” Li smiled as he spoke. “I am grateful to my family who is very supportive. They do most of the farming chores while I run the music training school and serve in church.”

Home to Elder Li Wanzeng is 2500m above sea level surrounded by snow capped mountains.

Elder Li Wanzeng wearing his ethnic White Yi costume

Born into a Christian family, Elder Li is from Lian He Xiang Ao Zi Village. Baptized in 1982, he is married with 2 sons, 15 and 11 years old.  From age 14 onwards, he started serving in the church.  In 2004, he was ordained as an Elder.  In his village alone, there are 9 churches altogether.  Once every month, the 9 churches congregate for a combined worship service.

“Most of the White Yi people do not know the Mandarin language; we only speak the White Yi language,” explained Li. “Like many other White Yi, I cannot read the White Yi characters previously and had to guess their meaning. After attending the scripture literacy class I am now able to read the characters with greater confidence.”

His immediate task was to go back to his home town and transfer the knowledge to some members of the church.  He had in mind to start a White Yi literacy class with a group of 15 students.  Excited that in due time the White Yi community would soon have a copy of God’s Word in their heart language, he said, “How I hope that the speed of translation can be hastened. Please convey my gratitude to the donors for their generosity in giving to the White Yi Bible translation project and the White Yi scripture literacy class. I have benefited much from attending this class,” he concluded the interview.

A White Yi sister practicing her writing.

Parting Thoughts

From my interactions with the students from the first White Yi scripture literacy class, I think it was a success.  Though only a total of 88 people attended this time, many more will benefit from subsequent classes.  Each of these students will be able to reach at least 15 more people who will in turn be able to reach out to many more.

Overall, I was touched to see how the Bible translation team came together to support the scripture literacy class. Elder Pi Changzu and Ms Pu Xiaoying (both from the translation team) spent hours in the dilapidated kitchen preparing meals for the students while Mr Su Laiyou (the teacher and fellow translator) facilitated most of the teaching sessions of the class. The leader, Elder Li Wanxing was also present overseeing the classes.

The general take-home message for me from this trip was that more such scripture literacy classes should be carried out to help the White Yi people improve their literacy level as their greatest hope was to be able to read the Bible in their own language in the near future.

 

Story and Photos: Ng Hwee Hong
Edited: Pamela Choo
2014 © United Bible Societies, China Partnership