Joy in China

A photo essay and stories highlight the ABS’ ongoing work with the Chinese Church.

With the end of the Cultural Revolution came the beginning of Christianity in China. Every year, more Chinese men, women and children discover the Good News that is Jesus Christ.

American Bible Society, in partnership with the Chinese Church, is working to bring God’s Word to Christians in a part of the world where demand quickly outpaces supply.

But pastors are also needed to shepherd the burgeoning Christian population. With support from ABS, the Church in China is training the many men and women who feel called to serve God’s people.
This photo essay highlights the various facets of the Church in China—from those who treasure the timeless gift of God’s Word to those who attend Bible school in hopes of pastoring others. Working with the Chinese Church, ABS is advancing its mission so that Christians in China may experience the life-changing message of the Bible.

Making a Difference for Souls in Nanjing

Pastor Liu, who serves at St. Paul’s Church in Nanjing, is so busy on Sunday mornings that she barely has time to sit down in between the five services she conducts. Services are so crowded, in fact, that the congregation spills outside the building. A dire need exists to equip the Chinese Church with pastors who will shepherd the burgeoning flock of Christians. Pastor Liu is doing her part, knowing she is making a difference in the souls entrusted to her.

100 Million Bibles and Counting

Through a paper subsidy from American Bible Society, Chinese churches can provide Bibles to Chinese Christians at affordable prices. These Bibles were printed at Amity Printing Company, which has produced more than 100 million Bibles­—60 million of them for distribution in China—since it opened in the mid-1980s.

John, who works in the communication department at Amity, stands sandwiched between reams of paper that will proclaim God’s Word. As a Christian, he is proud to be part of the world’s single largest Bible printing company, one that fills the souls of millions of believers.

Serving the Rural Church

Ren is a student in the three-year program at the Henan Bible School. Being a student here is both privilege and sacrifice—a privilege because so few can get into the school, and a sacrifice because finances are a challenge. Ren is paying part of the tuition himself, some is being funded by his church, and a portion is being paid by his parents—poor people whose livelihood depends on the land.

Despite the financial difficulties, Ren knows ministry is his calling. He’d like to serve those in his rural village church, a congregation of more than 100 believers who have no pastors, no elders—just volunteer preachers.

Even though the rural church area is challenging, Ren remains committed to this setting. “I do all this in remembrance of God and his faithfulness toward me.”

The Bible: An Eternal Treasure

Liu proudly has her own copy of the Bible, a treasure she could have only dreamed of during the days of the Cultural Revolution. Bibles were so scarce then that all Liu had was her handwritten copy of the Gospel of Matthew. This Scripture Portion served as a lifeline for Liu who read it faithfully every day.

Years later, Liu got a photocopy of the Bible, which held the entire book of Scripture. For Liu, Scripture has been powerful and life-changing. “The Word of God has many truths and revelations we can follow,” she said. “It is precious to me.”

Applauding Wisdom

A student at the Henan Bible School smiles at his teacher’s wisdom. He is grateful to learn at this school—one of the few institutions that train men and women for careers in ministry. More than 500 people routinely apply to Henan Bible School each year, but only 100 students are admitted into the program. Because demand is so great—and the desire to learn—many would-be students routinely sit outside the classroom to listen to lectures.

While their parents attend church services, these children learn Bible-based stories. Here, a young child consults the expertise of an older girl, who checks her pictorial children’s Bible for more information.

Literacy and God’s Word

Wang became a Christian 25 years ago. Although she basked in the joy of finding Jesus, she yearned to learn more about him. Yet when she got her own copy of the Bible, she was frustrated and unhappy. That’s because she didn’t know how to read.

Fortunately, her church offered literacy classes; Wang’s heart, mind and soul then were opened to a deeper underst anding of God. Passionate about the Bible, Wang now attends training to become a lay leader and preaches to other believers.

Scripture tells us that nothing is impossible with God. In the case of Wang, a copy of his Word was already hers. He simply opened a door to help her read it.

Training Men and Women for Careers in Ministry

The Rev. Tang Weimin is chairman of the Henan Christian Council and principal of the Henan Bible School. He is a man with a mission: to train 5,000 to 6,000 men and women for careers in ministry.
It is a huge undertaking and an arduous task. But the need alone keeps him focused; there are simply not enough pastors to shepherd the souls of all the Christians in China.

“There is a Chinese saying,” Reverend Tang says, “to grow a tree, it needs 10 years, but to cultivate a person, it needs 100 years. We hope to be able to achieve this goal within 10 to 20 years.”
Reverend Tang is patient and knows God’s plans will not be thwarted—even if it takes 10 years, 20 years or 100, for that matter.

Going the Distance for the Gospel

Ma is a county preacher on the move. She will go anywhere to preach, sometimes 100 miles one way. On those long-distance journeys, she usually boards a bus the day before to reach her destination.
But for shorter trips, a moped does just fine. A gift from her church, the moped keeps her nimble and flexible. When she preaches, she can be seen zipping through towns, villages and neighborhoods to share the Good News.

She is committed to preaching the Gospel to as many people as possible, and is willing to take whatever means necessary—bus, scooter or any other mode of transportation—to go where the Spirit leads.

Thanks to the support of our faithful financial partners, American Bible Society has been engaging people with the life-changing message of God’s Word for more than 200 years.

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