Speaking of Yang Cheng county of Shanxi, it is well known as the location of the Inn of the Sixth Happiness and Gladys Aylward, where and who "the small woman"did great things for God in China.
Recently Rev. Niu Tianping, the head of the county's CCC&TSPM, tells CCD that its first church will be completed with a seating capacity of 1000 people.
Roughly in 1905, the Lawsons, the British missionaries who evangelized in China for over half a century, preached in Yang Cheng and died in the county. Gladys Aylward who dreamed of doing mission in China at 14, finally arrived China, after overcoming mountains of difficulties, as an assistant to the 73-year-old Missionary Mrs. Lawson. She has left legends: founding the Inn of the Eight Happinesses, assisting the Chinese government to promote foot liberation, and taking in orphans... Her remarkable achievement was that she led one hundred orphans out of the Taihang Mountain invaded by the Japanese army in 1939. However, her subsequent stories were rarely recorded in detail.
Rev. Niu adds that Gladys Aylward fell ill after having sent the orphans to Xi'an and returned to the country after three or four years later. Unfortunately, She had to leave China due to something wrong with the local church. As the first western missionary who became a Chinese citizen, she wished to return to Yang Cheng in her older years but the attempt failed due to the special political condition at that time. She passed away in early 1970 and was buried in a campus of Danshui Town, Taiwan.
The church in Yang Cheng was originated in 1983 when a sister converted to Christianity in Henan and brought the Gospel to six or seven elderly women. At 30, Rev. Niu whose grandmother and father were Christians didn't know Jesus then. Later a 74-year-old woman who served the church with her whole life preached to him at Tianjin and gave him the Bible.
Afterward, the Gospel was introduced into three or four surrounding villages and towns. In 1985 or 1986, Christians were scattered in each region of the whole county. A registered Christian team was founded in 1993 and the county's CCC&TSPM was established in 1998 when the number of the congregation reached over 3000. Affected by social factors like migration tide, there are 1700 believers and more than 4000 seekers. The church in the county seat has about 800 members.
Since the church founding, the congregation has gathered in a rented house with safety hazards. Moreover, the house can't hold so many people to the extent that a meeting room and other rooms are crowded with believers.
With a total construction area of 2835.04 m2 or 0.701 acre, the new church construction to be built on a land of 1.647 acres is estimated to cost 9 million yuan. As of June 27, 2017, the expense reached 2.09 million. There is still a big funding shortfall.
Translated by Karen Luo