ANHUI, China – At age 21, Fang Ying made a life-changing decision: she chose to walk away from her university education and commit herself to full-time ministry to serve her home church which is nestled in a small tranquil town.
To those around Fang, this choice appeared as unexpected as a bolt of lightning on a clear day, sparking speculation and stirring discussions among neighbours and the local community. “Their disbelief and struggle to comprehend my chosen, unconventional path weighed heavily on me,” Fang recalled.
As she reflected on her faith journey, Fang acknowledged that it was filled with both external and internal challenges. The battle to reconcile her sense of self-worth versus societal expectations proved to be a tough one.
In those trying times, Fang turned to God as her anchor, immersing herself in daily spiritual devotion, hand-copying and studying the Bible. Gradually, she experienced a transformation within. She learned to surrender herself to the Lord and embrace the unique path that she believed He had called her to.
In 2022, she took a decisive step forward by enrolling at Anhui Theological Seminary to be trained as a preacher. A few weeks prior to her graduation, Fang experienced a special blessing.
The Gift and Usefulness of the Chinese Study Bible (CSB)
It was during this time that her class leader informed them about a heartwarming book-gifting event at the seminary - a gesture that touched her soul deeply. The seminary, with the support of the United Bible Societies (UBS), gave each of them a free copy of the Chinese Study Bible (CSB).
As Fang delved into reading the Bible and using the CSB, she discovered a reservoir of wisdom that provided streams of insights. She shared, "I'll admit, there were moments when I approached the Bible with preconceived notions. But the CSB provided me with an objective and systematic explanation of the Bible's teachings, enriching my understanding of the Scripture in ways I never imagined."
"There were moments when I approached the Bible with preconceived notions. But the CSB provided me with an objective and systematic explanation of the Bible's teachings, enriching my understanding of the Scripture in ways I never imagined."
The CSB became a trusted companion to Fang, one that posed thought-provoking questions, offered multiple perspectives, and empowered her to form her own balanced conclusions, rendering her spiritual journey even more enriching.
The CSB has also proven crucial to Fang's ministry, offering fresh perspectives and practical wisdom, such as the idea that genuine faith leads to virtuous actions. In the course of using the CSB, Fang was reminded to put God's approval above societal opinions, a lesson that deeply resonated with her.
Fang firmly believes that "understanding biblical contexts is paramount to providing accurate teachings to fellow believers." Through biblical resources like the CSB, she could offer clear and unbiased explanations, avoiding misinterpretations.
The Need for the CSB and Other Biblical Resources
Fang recognises that without such generous support from the seminary and UBS, finding similar resources would be difficult, not only for herself but also for many others devoted to teaching the Bible. As such, she is thankful for the CSB and at the same time appeals for more biblical resources, citing the need for preachers to be better equipped to study, interpret and teach God's Word.
She fervently hopes that she and her co-workers in the ministry would continue to uphold their faith and serve as vessels of the gospel. ”My earnest prayer is to be a positive influence, irrespective of my stage of faith, always prioritising God's approval above human approval,” Fang shared.
Fang's prayer resonates with many, a hope that these invaluable resources will equip God's servants and nurture spiritual growth. UBS is privileged to support the Church in China by providing the CSB to preachers and the students in Bible schools and seminaries. We invite you to join us in this vital ministry, as every contribution makes a meaningful difference.
Story: May Ang
Photos: UBS CP
©2023 UBS China Partnership