Transforming Lives Through Scripture Literacy

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GANSU, China - At nearly 60 years old, Zhao Cuiping stands as a devoted church worker, actively engaging in various ministries over the past three decades.

In 2022, when she began serving as a teacher in her local church's Scripture Literacy Class, a program supported by the United Bible Societies (UBS), she found her heart growing more enthusiastic and her faith deeper.

Zhao Cuiping (standing) teaching elderly believers during the Scripture Literacy Class held at the local church

Zhao's eyes shimmered with gratitude as she reflected on the profound impact of the Scripture Literacy Class: “It's not just about teaching people how to read; it's about immersing them in the divine words of God. The booklets are filled with God's teachings. Our focus is not merely on reading skills; it's about imparting the Word of God!”

“It's not just about teaching people how to read; it's about immersing them in the divine words of God... Our focus is not merely on reading skills; it's about imparting the Word of God!”

Embracing Divine Words

Having undergone two teaching cycles, Zhao noted: "Though doing God's work demands time, I'm grateful for this opportunity. It's an honour to be a teacher in the Scripture Literacy Class even as I myself have received God’s grace.”

"I accepted Christ in my thirties after hearing the gospel and learned that God is the Almighty Creator. I had been reading the Bible but didn't fully understand it," Zhao shared.

With the encouragement and help from her church pastor, Zhao began to read and study the Scriptures. "My faith deepened as I studied the Bible and continued to learn as the Word was taught in church," she explained. "It became more than just a belief. It has become a way of life."

Empowering the Elderly

As a person whose life has been transformed by God's Word, Zhao has been eager to share her experience with others.

She observed that many church members are elderly, and a significant number of them have never received formal education. They are eager to read the Bible but, due to their limited literacy, they could not.

Zhao explained: "Their inability to recognise words frustrate them. Some of their children would read the Bible to them, but some are left without help."

In addition, Zhao’s pastor stresses the importance of reading the Bible to the congregation, and the believers themselves greatly value Bible reading. Thus, the Scripture Literacy Class was formed to meet this need.

Transformation Through Learning

As she served, Zhao often found herself immersed in the study and contemplation of God’s Word. She knew that to teach God's Word effectively, she needed to understand it well herself. Through this process, her own faith deepened, and her knowledge of the Bible expanded. She came to understand that the core of the Christian faith is reading the Bible and drawing closer to God.

The transformation in the students of the class, mostly elderly believers, was equally profound. As they learned to read more words, their ability to engage the Bible improved significantly. They could now read and comprehend the Scriptures with newfound ease.

"Because we teach from the Bible," Zhao shared, "everyone loves it, and they're eager to learn. It's like learning a series of Bible stories for them, and they remember them well."

The students found themselves recalling the lessons during Sunday sermons, hence deepening their comprehension of the Scriptures, and doing so with increased discernment.

The Scripture Literacy Class became a close knit group of believers eager to know God’s Word. (Zhao Cuiping, kneeling at the front)
The Impact Goes Beyond

And the benefits have gone further. "In our Scripture Literacy Class," Zhao explained, "we even have seekers joining us. Through learning how to read the Bible, they have progressed in their spiritual journey."

Outside the church, the newfound literacy brought practical advantages. Students are now able to read notices and announcements in their communities, a task that has previously been challenging. This new skill brought immense joy also to their families as they were deeply inspired by the elderlies’ dedication to learning.

Grateful for the Journey

Zhao marveled at the immense sense of gratitude in her students. She shared, "They often say, ‘Thanks to God's great love! He not only redeemed us and gave us eternal life, but also allowed us to make up for the lack of schooling in our youth. He has given us the opportunity to study and be students again. We are truly grateful!’”

Praise God that through the Scripture Literacy Class, Zhao and her students have experienced the profound impact of learning God’s Word. With hearts strengthened by faith and filled with gratitude, their journey continues.

 

Story: Marcus Xiao
Photo: UBSCP
2024 © UBS China Partnership