Not by Sight

Chinese blind Christian Ma Hongming reading the braille Bible. Photo: UBSCP/Jock.

Blind elderly couple Ma Hongming and his wife Zhao Bilian, both in their 70s, love to read the Braille Bible. Although they have no specific favourite verse, they have a habit of committing to memory verses they think are encouraging so that they could share them with others.

Ma Hongming became blind at the age of 3 due to an illness. He has five older siblings and is the only one in his family that is visually challenged. At a very young age, he started learning Braille in school. Ma became a Christian soon after his marriage to Zhao. He had been interested in Christianity since young but there were no real impetus for him to accept Christ. Although a few people had shared with him about Jesus before and he had attended a talk by a Hong Kong pastor, it was only when his then-girlfriend Zhao shared more about God to him that he felt Jesus is worthy of trusting his life to. In 1979, he formally accepted Christ as His Lord and Saviour.

Madam Zhao Bilian, is the only child to a pair of loving Christian parents. She found herself unable to see permanently after recovering from a bout of illness at the age of 5. It was her parents’ faith and love which deepen her own faith in God and sustain her throughout all her growing up years.

Blind Christian couple Zhao Bilian & Ma Hongming. Photo:UBSCP/Jock.

Married for more than 30 years, the Mas have no children. After they have retired at the age of 60, they have since been living on state pension in a small one bedroom unit where they cook, clean and do the laundry all by themselves. Now that they are retired, the Mas attend church twice a week and hold a fellowship meeting at their house every Monday. Zhao used to teach Sunday School until a few years ago, while Ma blessed his church mates by giving them free Chinese massage (“tui na”) and acupuncture.

The loving couple’s first Braille Bible portion was the Book of Psalms. Throughout their marriage, while Ma taught his wife how to read Braille, his wife explained to him the Bible teachings she learnt since she was a child. Now they are in possession of a complete set of the Braille Bible. One can tell that their Braille Bible has been well read just by observing the almost worn out Braille dots.

“We have no worries about the future. God is with us, all the time. People have asked us before if we are worried about what is to come since we are already so old and we have no children to support us. We thanked them for their concern and told them that we simply take whatever comes our way and whenever it comes. After all, God is in control of our lives, why should we be anxious about tomorrow?”  Both Ma and his wife said this, almost in unison.

Written by Pamela Choo
Based on an interview conducted by Ms Jock Foo