A Miao Christian Artist


There are 8.9 million Miao, one of the largest minority language group in Southwest China.

(Source: http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/EthnicGroups/136935.htm)

Paul Zhang bending over his work of art

An apprentice was working in a wax printing factory and it was the first time he came across this book called the “Holy Bible” which someone had given to his master. Zhang, a Black Miao, attempted to read the book but he could not comprehend the contents.

In 2001, the factory’s business took a nose dive. Zhang could not get his salary and had to look for alternative work. He traveled to Yunnan Province, Kunming City, in search of a job. Although he is gifted artistically, he had no choice but to abandon what he loves to do in order to earn a living. He became a roadside shoe-polisher. Zhang often stationed himself outside the local university waiting for business. He had a regular customer and they became friends. He later introduced Zhang to other acquaintances who in-turn invited Zhang to visit St. John’s Church. It was in this Church that he prayed to become a Christian and was baptized in 2002.

He started serving in the church choir but did not fully understand what it means to be a Christian. He often asked why his life is so hard and there is no hope. In 2003, God brought a friend to him who taught him how to read the bible. There was no turning back since. He is thirsty and discovered that God’s Word is what he really needs to help him face each day. “Reading the Bible is like eating rice, you have to take it everyday. If you don’t, when you walk out, you will walk the wrong way”, Zhang said. When asked about his favorite verse, he has many. He took out his well underlined and highlighted bible, began to share excitedly.

1 Peter 5:10 (GNT)
“But after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who calls you to share his eternal glory in union with Christ, will himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength, and a sure foundation.”

Hebrews 12:1-2 (GNT)
“As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne.”

Zhang’s masterpieces

Zhang said, “I have suffered and have walked through difficult journeys that others have not gone through. God’s Word gives me strength. Many have not heard about Jesus. Every day I look to God to remove all that is evil within me so that I can help others. I am very grateful to Him.” God’s Word has changed Zhang’s life. He now paints and makes paper art for a living. He is doing a beautiful job.


Written by:
Ms YEO Tan Tan, Program Manager
United Bible Societies, China Partnership