Says Shaanxi Bible School student Cheng Jingmei, one of the teachers who went back to her hometown to teach a literacy class in a rural church: “I will first teach the students how to pronounce the words or Hanyu Pinyin. When they are able to master the basic sounds, they will be taught how to read and write, check out words in the dictionary.”
These literacy classes produce amazing results! Most of the students who attended the class can now read and write, 70% of them mastered Hanyu Pinyin, and 50% of them learnt how to use a dictionary.
One student, Wang Suiping echoes her classmates’ sentiments: “When I see the textbooks, Bibles and other materials donated by the United Bible Societies, I felt grateful and praise the Lord for what He has provided. This class draws all brothers and sisters-in-Christ from different places together. We experience His love, grace and mercy as we spur one another on in our learning journey.”
From Singing Wrong Words To Singing New Songs
“God’s love is great! He really knows my needs and my deep longing inside my heart to be able to read His Word. It was Him who allowed a literacy class to be started at my church so that many like me who has never gone to school before, can now learn to read and write,” exclaims Chen Lixia as she describes her delight in attending a literacy class at her rural church in Shaanxi province.
“I used to be so embarrassed when I sang the words incorrectly during worship. I know only a few words and could hardly understand when I tried to read the Bible,” Chen explains. “After attending the scripture literacy class at my church, I can now read the Bible by myself.”
“Teaching the old and uneducated folks like us is not easy. We do thank God for the teachers, their patience and kindness are admirable, “says Student Yao Qingru. “I was taught to read the Bible and at the same time I learnt two new songs from my teacher. Now I can praise the Lord in more ways.”
From Spiritual Growth
“Since the start of the literacy classes last year, I witnessed that the lives of those have participated in these classes have been changed dramatically,” says Teacher Li Peng. “Now they can read the Bible, copy songs and even take sermon notes. Some of these Christian students copied their textbooks to take home to their pre-believing friends so as to encourage them to learn more about God.”
One of the teachers of the Xinzhuang Church literacy classes, Duan Linhong, shared in her reflections: “During class time, we prayed together and sang praises to God. In addition to writing and reciting Bible text, I require students to read the Psalms and Proverbs. The Word of God is the bread of life. Students not only learn to read the Bible, they were also fed spiritually by the Spirit of God through the reading of His Word.”
Prior to joining the literacy class, Feng Bianju was an unwilling student who felt that it was rather a sacrifice for her to give up her farm duties to attend these classes. She changed her perspective after attending the first class as she learnt to read more of God’s Words. “I became more convicted to follow the teachings of Jesus and to share His salvation with others. Now I want to testify to others that I am a disciple of Christ.”
To Church Revival
What a bonus! Literacy classes not only help rural church-goers recognize words to enable them to read the Bible, they also brought about a greater pursuit of the Word of God and truth. Spiritual growth has also led to church revival — teachers claim that students who had graduated from literacy classes last year not only come more regularly for church meetings but they also participated more actively in church ministries. All praise and glory to God!
Written by Pamela Choo
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership