Training 40,000 Missionaries Yearly
Christian Aid first began helping Bible schools in China in 1990. Today over 155 Chinese Bible schools have received help from Christian Aid. This story tells how it all began.
Bible school students used to huddle in dimly lit rooms without heat to study God's Word. Now they meet in bright classrooms, and many graduates have started their own schools.
The first Bible School
Brother X struggled to train believers in his village. Born in southern Henan province, he had an experience with Christ on his deathbed. Revived, he went to Beijing to study theology. Then God called him to a place in northern Henan, where he struggled to train workers for his church.
Christian Aid’s Dr. Freddie Sun visited him in 1995 and saw his sincerity and how he was attempting to train 30 students in impoverished conditions. They met in shabby huts and had no electrical power; they had to use candles even in the daytime.
When Dr. Sun returned again the next year, Bro. X had 40 students under his tutelage.
"How much would it cost you to build adequate facilities?" Freddie asked.
"$20,000," Bro. X replied.
So Dr. Sun came back to the U.S. and sought offerings to support Bible schools in China. Soon he was able to send Bro. X $20,000.
Bro. X wasted no time and proved himself far more diligent than Dr. Sun had ever imagined. Bro. X gathered his co-workers and congregation and told them, "Nehemiah built the wall around Jerusalem in 52 days. My goal is to build a new church and Bible school building in 52 days."
Students pray in the early morning before classes start, and again at night before going to bed.
They all thought he was crazy, but decided to give it their best effort. On the appointed day 400 workers, mostly men, gathered. They began each day with early morning prayers, worked hard all day long, and conducted an evangelistic worship service each night. Many of the men were not believers and volunteered on the construction project for the sake of their believing wives. Most of them accepted the Lord in these meetings.
Miraculously, on the 52nd day the entire building complex was finished. They had constructed dormitories, classrooms, kitchen, and a worship hall that would accommodate 1000 believers—all on $20,000.
Then Bro. X did something very bold. He invited the Communist officials of his town to the opening ceremony. They were amazed.
"You built all this in 52 days?" they asked. "It would have taken us at least a year."
"You built all this with US$20,000?" another asked. "If we Communists had built this, it would have cost ten times as much."
After 52 days believers gathered inside this edifice that would seat 1000 worshippers. Leaders of the congregation are shown here.
However, the head of the Religious Affairs Bureau (RAB) maintained a stiff position and permission to conduct a Bible school was not automatically given. So Bro. X got permission to run a garment factory. The workers manufactured garments five hours a day—and then studied the Bible for another eight hours!
Eventually permission to operate as a Bible school was granted. Today that school operates a two-year training program. Students gather for morning prayers before 6 a.m. Classes run all day until 10 p.m.
"But the students don't go to bed," Dr. Sun said. "They go off and pray. The teachers have to make them go to bed."
The first class of 30 students graduated in 1995. Many of them began conducting training sessions in their home villages. Today they operate Bible training institutes scattered throughout the top two-thirds of the province. Most of these receive “trickle down” assistance from Christian Aid through Bro. X.—although only the headquarters school is counted in the 132 Bible schools Christian Aid assists.
The second key Bible School.
In Hebei province, Sister Y started a Bible training center in 1991. Dr. Sun Sun visited her in 1992. They were meeting in a ramshackle old building. The walls were crumbling, the floor was broken. But the leader had graduated from an official seminary in Beijing and had a deep theological foundation.
Bible school built with funds provided by Christian Aid.
In 1993 Christian Aid gave her $30,000 and in 1994 she put up a three-story building in three months’ time. After that the school began two simultaneous programs: Full-time students followed a two-year course. Short-term students came several weeks at a time up to five times a year as agricultural chores permitted. All went out to preach every Sunday.
Since the leader was a single woman, a retired and widowed seminary professor came to work with her and provided in-depth theological training until she went to be with the Lord at the age of 90.
This school has now graduated hundreds of students. Many of these graduates conduct training sessions in their home villages, discipling thousands of local church and gospel workers every year.
So Christian Aid’s major investments in these two Bible schools has resulted in scores of training centers with some 10,000 Chinese being trained yearly. It is estimated that through all of the Bible schools assisted by Christian Aid and their satellite extensions, 40,000 Chinese receive training yearly.
Not all Bible schools are created equal, nor do all receive equal help from Christian Aid. Many receive small amounts. Dr. Sun calls it the “drip irrigation” method, a drip here, a drop there, with flourishing crops everywhere.
Some estimate the Chinese are turning to Christ at the rate of 20,000 per day. To disciple this constant influx of new believers takes an army of teachers. So it will take all the Bible schools Christian Aid can help—plus additional funds to supply Bibles and training manuals.
To assist these highly effective Chinese Bible institutes, send your gift to Christian Aid today designated 900 CBI.