The Grand Banquet

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Cuihua with her large-print Bible, which was given by her church with the support of the United Bible Societies.

‘It was in September 1988 when I first heard the Good News.’ Zhang Cuihua, 62, recalled her experience when she was invited to a rural church and heard about Jesus and her first parable.

‘Jesus was teaching about a man who invited many to his big banquet [the parable of the Great Banquet, Luke 14:15-24].’ But the “Invited” did not come, thus the invitation went out to the poor, lame and blind and eventually even the highways and the by-ways so that the banquet could be filled. Impressed by the generosity of God, Cuihua accepted the invitation to receive Christ and that day she received her first Bible. She was so excited that she began reading it with great hunger, even when she was in the middle of doing household chores.

Since then, Cuihua has been inspired to earnestly serve the Lord. Her love for the Lord and passion for the Bible continue to go deeper. Seeing the needs of believers and their hunger for God’s Word, she applied for a correspondence Bible study course, as she wanted to be able to minister better.

The Difference a Large-Print Bible Makes

In the past six years however, Cuihua found that she had more difficulty reading the standard-print Bibles. ‘I couldn’t see the characters [in the Bible] clearly, and I had to put on my glasses. But after a while, I would feel dizzy, and my eyes would water. I had to take off my glasses and stop reading.’

What troubled Cuihua more was the embarrassment from reading the Scriptures incorrectly while leading the church services. ‘It was difficult for me to read the Bible from the pulpit, even with my glasses on. The words were blurry to me. It is shameful that I misread God’s Word on more than one occasion.’

Cuihua is delighted with her new large-print Bible, which was given by her church with the support of the United Bible Societies (UBS). With the bigger print, ‘I am reading several chapters of the Bible daily, and I feel more confident in reading the Scriptures aloud from the pulpit. Thank you for loving and tending to the needs of older Christians like me. I am so grateful for this generous gift from UBS.’

To this day, the vision of God’s invitation to a grand banquet remains close to Cuihua’s heart. She remains enthusiastic for lost souls. ‘My heart hurts that people do not understand what Jesus had done for us, His passion and death. I pray that those who do not believe in God will come to faith, and that God will cause those who have lapsed in their faith to turn back to Him. Let us not desert the wonderful gift of relationship with God.’

‘‘…But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled,
the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed,
because they cannot repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
…And the master said to the servant,
‘Go out to the highways and hedges
and compel people to come in,
that my house may be filled.’
(Luke 14: 13,14,23 ESV)

How can we pray for Cuihua and her church? “During the COVID-19 pandemic, church services were suspended. We used to have full attendance, but now there are empty spaces. Please pray for our church to have a revival.” Ms Zhang Cuihua, 62, implored.

 

Story: Marcus Xiao and Jenise Lee
2022 © United Bible Societies China Partnership