Visit to Jiangxian Christian Church in Shanxi Province

The author (fourth from the left) took a group picture with church leaders and believers of Jiangxian County in Yuncheng City, Shanxi Province, during a visit in March or April, 2023.
The author (fourth from the left) took a group picture with church leaders and believers of Jiangxian County in Yuncheng City, Shanxi Province, during a visit in March or April, 2023.
By Zhang XiaohuaApril 18th, 2023

Jiangxian County is located in the southeast of Shanxi Province and at the intersection of Yuncheng, Linfen, and Jincheng.

According to the records of the Jiangxian Chronicle, Christianity was introduced to this county from Quwo County in the northwest of Jiangxian County in 1900. That year, Dutch missionaries began preaching in Dongshan Village, Gujiang Town. The first Christian organization, Wuliqiao Church, was established in Wuliqiao and later expanded to many nearby villages.

This elder is over 60 years old, and he has been the deputy director and director of the local CC&TSPM for years. In 2021, he was elected as the director of the first CC&TSPM of the newly established Yuncheng City.

Chen Yunshan was one of the first batches of preachers working around Wenxi and Jiangxian. In the early days of liberation, because of his faith, he was taken to the town to be criticized and denounced, and then he was about to be executed. His relatives even prepared a carriage and a mat to collect his body. But he was not afraid. After calling on the Lord's name, he attacked the injustice of the old era and praised the wisdom and correctness of the new society established by the Communist Party of China at the public trial. After hearing this, the staff at the trial were shocked. Believing that the man who believed in Jesus was not as sinful as they thought but had a positive and different influence, they set him free. Later, Chen was elected as one of the first batches of people's representatives in Wenxi County.

Zhao Heshan is from Shandong Province. He started to believe in Christ while working as a cook and serving at Quwo County Church. He was baptized and has been serving there ever since. There are four brothers and more than thirty members in his family, all of whom believe in the Lord and have been living together all the time. The sisters-in-law take turns cooking every day. They would pray devotionally every night. If there is a problem between them, they will pray until they confess and apologize to each other.

Zhao once worked on the production team. One day, someone shared with him what he stole. But Zhao said, "We should act morally as we believe in God, and let us not sin against God." There was a widow living in the hills near his home who was mentally ill. She would wander about all day long and be untouchable. For several years, Zhao delivered food every day for her and hid away while she was eating. Then he would clean the dishes when she finished eating, and then deliver the food again for the next meal. A neighbor who saw this said, "That is a true Christian."

In 1996, 1.2 mu of land was purchased in Yinbao Village on the western outskirts of Jiangxian County, and Chengguan Church was established. It became the reception center for Christians and is also where the local CC&TSPM is situated in.

Since 1991, Chengguan Town, Hengshui Town, Sunwang Village, and Dajiao Town have been divided into four districts, namely, the Central District, West District, South District, and North District, with the county as the center. The local church has also gradually moved to the track of standardized management and established and improved the Patriotic Convention, Management System, Gathering System, Workers System, and the System of Making Believers Well-Off, among other 18 systems.

For seminarians, the elder assigned a standard of treatment based on the county's average wage level and gradually raised it year by year to keep them in step with society.

I, along with fellow workers, visited Donghaozhuang Church and communicated with some believers.

The fellow worker who accompanied me all the time recorded many church activities and the lives of believers at any time with a camera in hand. He meticulously sifted through vast amounts of data, gathering extensive records of local and surrounding church histories, notable church figures, and witness cases. Over a six-year period, he devoted himself to crafting the Synopsis of the Bible and the Catechism of the Scriptures.

The synopsis is a summary of each chapter of the Bible in the form of four or eight doggerel sentences.

Pastor Zheng Lingyi, director of the overseer of Taiyuan Christian Church, wrote in the preface, "This book of reading notes covers every book of the New Testament, and each chapter has a poem that summarizes the main ideas of this chapter. It's not just a generalization. It gives the reader a sense of what each chapter is about, but it's also meaningful."

The Catechism of Scripture, on the other hand, outlines a key question for each chapter of the Bible and answers it.

He completed the catechism of the Old Testament in the form of tables in cell phone files. At first, it was just for himself, and then it was forwarded throughout Jiangxian County for believers to learn spirituality and to give everyone great help in spirituality. Especially during the three-year pandemic, people could not attend physical gatherings, but through this platform, they got spiritual feeding. So far, the catechism of 1189 chapters of the Bible has been completed.

(The author is a staff writer at the Gospel Times.)

- Translated by Nicolas Cao

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