The Pearl of Greatest Price

Because of you, a 74-year-old woman in the mountains of China finally received her very first Bible in the language of her heart.

In October 2016, Yaofang received a treasure beyond her wildest dreams—a Bible in her native language of Black Yi.

“I never thought that I would have a Bible,” Yaofang explains, “let alone one in my own language.”

There are 800,000 Black Yi speakers like Yaofang in rural China. Through your support, this minority people group can now hear God’s voice in their heart language thanks to a Bible translation project supported by United Bible Societies China Partnership.

Yaofang treats her Bible like the treasure it is. She carries it in a colorful bag wherever she goes. And although her Bible is only a year old, it’s already well-loved. As theologian Charles Spurgeon put it, “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”

Bookmarked pages contain Yaofang’s favorite Bible passages. “My favorite verse is Matthew 3:16-17— the baptism of Jesus,” she says.

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and lighting on him. Then a voice said from heaven, ‘This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased.’”
Matthew 3:16-17 (GNT)

It’s no surprise that Yaofang cherishes her Bible so dearly. At 74 years old, Yaofang can still remember when the Bible was a banned book in China.

“I became a Christian in 1976. It was definitely difficult during that time as we could not worship freely,” Yaofang says. “People used to copy bits of the Bible for us in Yi.”

That’s why Yaofang and the Black Yi people received the gift of God’s Word with wonder and joy.

“I was so happy on the day when the Bibles arrived!” Yaofang says. Many of her fellow villagers received their new Bibles with tears streaming down their faces.

Because of you, Yaofang and this ancient community in Southern China will never be the same. And although they live a world away, they’ll be forever grateful for the priceless treasure you gave them— the message of God’s love in the language of their hearts.

Story originally published in the 2017 American Bible Society Stewardship Report

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