"In a remote village in Kunming, Yunnan, there is a special choir consisting of people of all age groups, from teenagers to people in their 60s and 70s."
A program launched by Phoenix Television on March 17 told the story of "the choir of Meng'en Miao Church in a Yunnan village". It was shot last winter.
In the beginning scene of the second episode, the crew of C'est La Vie entered the home of an elderly believer in Dapingtan Village, Wuhua District, Kunming. The room was a little dark and there was an open fire pit on the ground. They talked as they walked, saying that the family was preparing for the celebration. Speaking in a dialect, the old woman told visitors that there was on the second floor plenty of corn from last harvest and showed it to them. Her son said the family lived on raising chickens and pigs. She told stories of her family, and how all her ancestors had believed in the Lord.
The brother showed visitors his father's old pedal organ, which his father had used to serve in the church. He said that when he was in the fourth or fifth grade in primary school, the cost of buying an organ was 200 yuan, almost a year's income for his family. His family sold a cow, which was worth 1,500 yuan, for him to buy a new organ and learn to play it. They carried out the organ and played for a while.
He recalled the old school days when his family had to borrow money to get through hard times and he had to have a corn meal at school. There were only two junior high school students in the village, and they were the most educated people in the village. He was a little sad because many of his classmates had gone to school together, but most of them had dropped out halfway.
They looked at the old pictures. Years later, new houses had been built in the village, and the brother's eldest son had already graduated from the seminary. Thanks to their faith on God, the whole family has always had harmonious relationships even though they had lived a hard life.
The picture then changes. Pastor Wang Ziwen had driven the sheep back. He shared that the family had been believing since his grandfather's generation, so he was a third generation believer. During special times, they could not worship God publicly, so instead they sang and prayed in their hearts. He began to organize gatherings in late 1979 and early 1980 after the policy of religious freedom was administered.
"LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!" Faith in the Lord Jesus is just enough, and everything can be satisfied. As one old believer was singing, she beamed with joy as she spoke of her faith in God. She had joined the choir since she was six years old.
The church's Christmas gratitude service was about to start. So everyone got ready and set out. The church people lined up on both sides and welcomed people to the celebration.
Pastor Zhang Shaohui shared that in 1906, the Gospel was brought to the Miao area by missionaries from the Chinese mainland, and the church celebrated the first autumn harvest Thanksgiving that year. At that time, believers from the surrounding churches came to celebrate together. Pastor Zhang recalled the prosperous time when the faithful devotedly provide for the preacher, which was very touching. They carried grain, potatoes and corn on their backs as they went to church for the feast and celebration.
"At that time, there was no Miao Bible, so the preachers first used the Chinese Bible to preach. They told parables in order to spread the Gospel. Then they combined parables with the stories and legends which were well known to Miao people. Many Miao people felt that some of the stories were so similar to the history of their own culture, so they immediately accepted the Gospel." Zhang said.
In the kitchen, the co-workers sang impromptu songs, potatoes were baked in the fireplace and buns were steamed in a pot on the stove. The vegetable-washers, meat-cutters, and other co-workers who were serving randomly sang hymns. “The river of life, the river of joy, flows slowly into my heart...”During the gathering, they cooked meals together and enjoyed a love feast.
In the end, the team filmed the scene of the Christmas thanksgiving service, the pastor's prayer, other activity scenes and the singing scene. The story of a special church choir had been told in all its fullness.
- Translated by Nicolas Cao