Miao Village Christian Church in Jiaoding Mountain of Ziyun Miao and Buyi Autonomous County stands on the most conspicuous spot of Jiaoding Mountain Miao Village. During gatherings, 50-60 Miao believers would be seen sitting in benches of many rows, praying in silence or quietly reading bible with a solemn look. At dusk, Church Pastor Yang would like to bring out a chair, wash his hands clean, put on his glasses and sit by the church door reciting the holy bible word by word.
Ziyun Miao and Buyi Autonomous County sets in southwest Guizhou, which is one of the Miao concentrated area. It's close to the edge of Yungui Plateau, with twisted and turned Wumeng Mountains and Miaolin Mountains, making the landform rugged and steep. However, it is in this very rough country of inconvenient transportation and unfriendly environment, that Miao people built some amazing Xanadu-like villages through their hard work and wisdom.
Jiaoding Mountain Miao Village is near Baishiyan Township, which is in southeast Ziyun Miao and Buyi Autonomous County. According to the introduction in Cultural Geograph, this Miao village is a little known place, whose name can't be found on the map. Locals only know it as Jiaoding Mountain, which is only regionally called, and its location is believed to stretch from Ziyun County to several nearby counties, but no name or location can be precisely identified on the map. However, if you have arrived at Ziyun County and asked for the whereabouts of Jiaoding Mountain Christian Church, most Miao people will point at the exact direction, telling you :"It's right over there, just walk along this road......"
In the spring of 2014, the original church welcomed its last Sunday service, for it would be rebuilt after that.
During Sunday service, 50-60 well dressed Miao believers sat in benches of many rows, silently praying or gently recite, looking all solemn. Some women even brought children here, and perhaps they already were familiar with this environment, so they did not cry or be noisy but opened up their eyes wide with curiosities.
A young woman went up stage, and with the company of accordion and electronic organ she led everyone to start singing hymns while conducting. Believers followed her gestures and sang with the beat; after several believers had their prayer, dressed in Miao costume, Pastor Yang went up stage and led everyone to recite the bible, and once a section was done he would stop to elaborate carefully on every single sentence for them.
Church Pastor Yang is over 50, and in this distant Miao village he occupies a very special position as "the most knowledgeable person". Whenever villagers feel confused or frustrated, or encounter joyful or depressing events in their lives, they would go to Pastor Yang, and whether it's a thanksgiving ceremony or devout prayer, he would help them with all he has, guiding them to "walk on the right path".
During free dusk times, Pastor Yang would like to bring out a chair, wash his hands clean, put on his glasses and sit by the church door reciting the holy bible word by word. Meanwhile, men from farm work and women from their chores would like to sit quietly beside Pastor Yang, listening to those wise words pouring out of the bible with their eyes closed. For some playful children, adults would repeatedly admonish them not to play around Pastor Yang, and lighten their footsteps while lowering their voices.
Pastor Yang told us the story about Christian beliefs in Jiaoding Mountain Miao Village. In 1905, Samuel Pollard brought gospel, knowledge and culture to Miao Village, but in 1915 July, a horrible disease spread to Shimenkan, and Pollard accompanied those patients all the time, which unfortunately led to his own infection. He insisted leaving the limited medicines to villagers but he himself was taken away ruthlessly by the sickness. 100 years has gone by, Miao people in Jiaoding Mountain still commit to Christianity and keep going to Sunday service. With the development of our society, the distant Miao Village gradually absorbed some modern elements in their lives. Even so, they still hold the bible in their hands, singing their hymns devoutly.