Yunnan Christians in need of Scripture resources
YUNNAN PROVINCE, China - Christians in Yunnan Province,
in southwest China, are in widespread need of contemporary-language
Bibles, commentaries, exegetical tools and other aids to learning and
This was the finding by a UBS party which visited the region recently,
accompanied by Jiang Zhu Lin, the General Secretary of the Yunnan
Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the registered churches.
On a visit to the city of Baoshan they met organisers of training
courses for pastors of the churches.
Each month the training centre holds a seven-day training course for
pastors and church workers who pay for the training with grain,
vegetables and, sometimes, money.
The party moved on to the county of Fugong, an area comprising a main
town and many villages scattered throughout the mountains. There,
unusually, Christians constitute a majority - some 80 per cent of the
Last year classes began there to teach orphans to read and write Lisu
and Chinese. More than 70 attended and when they first came some could
not read a single word. After three months, however, they had begun to
read the Bible.
This year, the party learned, more than 130 people have applied for
the classes. Of more than 55,000 adult believers in Fugong some 30,000
cannot read or write, and the organisers now plan to hold the classes
for three months every year. The visitors also learned of the need for
Bible commentaries, resources for devotions, TCV Bibles, hymn books,
audio cassettes and computers.
The next stage of their trip took them to the town of Liuku, the
capital of Nujiang prefecture. Nujiang has a population of
approximately 470,000, of whom 90,000 are Christians, and Liuku has a
desperate shortage of pastors: among a local Christian community of
some 3,400 believers in 28 churches there are just two, one tending 15
congregations, the other 13.
The Christian Training Centre in Liuku holds an intensive three-month
training course every year. The complete course takes nine months in
all and so far five classes of students have graduated and 283
preachers have been nurtured.
Mr Jiang told the party about the Dulong people group in the village
of Dulong Jiang, in the Gangshan prefecture.
Until last year there were no roads to the village and even today they
are open only from June to November. During the rest of the year heavy
snow in the mountains prevents all forms of transport.
Despite such disadvantages, however, mission work amongst the Dulong
has taken off in recent years. With nearly a thousand believers the
church is well established, has its own preachers, and sends members
to training courses in Liuku and Gangshan. By the end of the second
term, they can read the Lisu Bible and preach in Lisu.
In Yingjiang Prefecture, on the other hand, the Christians are
severely lacking in preachers. Three people groups live there: the
Lisu, the Jingpo, and the Han. Believers total 20,000 out of a total
population of the prefecture of approximately 200,000.
At a meeting with 14 church leaders and co-workers, the UBS visitors
learned that they have only one version of the Jingpo Bible and there
is no accompanying commentary, although translation work is in hand.
Besides needing more copies of this Bible, they also need copies of
the New Testament with Psalms and the Gospels and Scriptures in
audio-cassette form for the many people who cannot read.
Christians from the three people groups attend joint worship services
and use their respective languages to praise, to pray and to read the
Scriptures together. For this reason they want to publish a combined
hymn book in Lisu, Jingpo and Han.
The tour ended with meetings in Wuding and Luquan, near the city of
Kunming. Wuding is home to members of three people groups, the Miao,
the East Lisu and the Dry Yi.
Governments officials, church representatives and Bible translators
there reported a need for TCV Bibles and materials to aid Bible
Bibles and hymn books
The peoples of Luquan, namely Black Yi, Han, East Lisu and Miao, also
need TCV Bibles and hymn books. They were also eager to know about
prospects for having the Old Testament translated into their
Summing up the trip, Ms Li said it had inspired them to help those in
need. "Although believers there live amid poverty and hardships and
lack much materially," she said, "their wholehearted devotion to the
Lord and love for others have touched our hearts deeply. This spurs us
on. May we never neglect praying for them."