SHANDONG, China – When his only daughter was persecuted by her in-laws for her faith, Preacher Qian Jiyang was angry and deeply saddened. “It got so bad that she became mentally unstable and was eventually driven out from the family.”
But that did not discourage Preacher Qian, 62, from continuing to trust in God and serve Him. “We have chosen to forgive,” he shared.
“My mother-in-law was the first to receive Christ more than 30 years ago. Under her influence, my wife and I also came to faith,” shared Preacher Qian, who is thin and rather tanned in complexion, with eyes shining with a determined glint.
After receiving Christ, Preacher Qian was so moved by God’s goodness and love that he dedicated himself to serve the church full-time, passing up the opportunity to teach at the village school. He then enrolled in a training programme for church workers in 1993.
Today, he is the overseer and preacher of a church in Culai Town, within the city of Taian, Shandong Province. With more than 100 members spread throughout the rural countryside, Qian travels on his bike extensively to minister to them. He preaches at different meeting points, visits and ministers to members from different fellowships, trains and mentors younger ones in ministry.
Undeterred by Hardships and Poverty
With ever increasing standards of living in China today, it is rare to see people still living in sun-dried brick huts. But that is where Qian and his family are residing, where access to clean water is limited. “Were it not for the gift of a water purifier from church members, we would still be drinking from the polluted river nearby, as we can’t afford bottled water.”
They get by on a small amount of social welfare money and the produce from their farm. Besides tilling the land and serving the needs of church members, Qian and his wife would be taking care of their daughter.
Take up your cross and follow Jesus
Tough as his circumstances may be, Qian is not deterred. Day after day and year after year, his passion for serving God is unabated.
And when he received the Bible resources from United Bible Societies last year, he was overjoyed. “It was a precious gift to me.”
Paying for his daughter’s medication already eats up a huge chunk of his household income, so there would have been no way he could afford these books if UBS had not made the gift.
“The Bible resources were a great help to me in sermon preparation and pastoral work, especially the Study Bible and Concordance. Thank you for your support.”
According to Qian, the greatest challenge for rural believers is financial difficulty. “When financial stress arises due to family needs like children’s education or emergencies, people tend to focus more on earning money instead of coming for worship.”
Therefore, in his sermons, Qian will exhort fellow believers to trust in God. “I’ll remind them not to merely pray for their own blessings and healing but also to take up their cross and follow Jesus.”
Preacher Qian was one of the 1400 preachers who received Bible resources supported by UBS in 2017. Pray for him and many other lay preachers in China as they serve the church despite poverty and hardships, knowing that all their labours in Him are not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Story: Zhang Liqin, Translation: Angela Teo
Edited: Cynthia Oh
Photo: Cynthia Oh/UBS CP
2018 © United Bible Societies China Partnership