How the Gospel Turned Quarrelling into Harmony and Changed an Entire Village

By Josiah Li, March 13, 2018 08:03 AM

Miaoyuan Church

Shi Xiangyun

Longshan County is affiliated with the Tujia-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Xiangxi on Xiangxi's northern frontier. The total population is around 600,000 with 71% from 16 minorities like Tujia, Miao, etc.

Miaogou Village, which used to be called Miaoyuan, in Xinglongjie, Longshan is surrounded by mountains. The route under the mountain is 7 to 8 kilometers.

There are 40 households in Miaogou and most of them are Tujia.

The village was once filled with quarrels. They even cursed at officials who came to collect agricultural taxes. However, the situation changed after the gospel was introduced to the village. There are believers in almost every family and quarrels gradually disappeared. Miaogou was also rated as an "Advanced Tax Payer Village" three years in a row.

In 1918, pastor Powell from Finland and Ms. Shi brought the gospel to Longshan and founded the church in 1926.

In 1983, when services resumed, they met at Pastor Li Xiansheng's home.

At the moment there are one church and seven rural meeting places in Longshan. With 1,000 believers, it accounts for half of the entire Xiangxi Prefecture.

The village was rather poor around 1980 and people would steal pumpkins, cabbages, and corn.

According to Sister Zhai Jinyu, 75, "people would curse three days and nights when they lost vegetables."

Back then, it was very common for villagers to quarrel. They even refused to pay agricultural taxes and chased the officials away with curses.

In the 1990s, a relative brought the gospel to Miaogou during a  celebration dinner. At first, only sick people believed in Jesus. Only four households out of forty didn't embrace the faith. Once they had faith, Christians cursed no more even when there was theft. The villagers became very harmonious.

The villagers started caring for their neighbors when they had faith.

Shi Xiangyun, 81, is a leprosy survivor. She lost both of her hands and only half of her feet are remaining. Her children don't live close by. So the local believers helped her with rice transplanting, planting corn, weeding, and harvesting.

Shi broke her leg in 2016 and couldn't take care of herself. Sister Zhai, who was amongst the first believers in the church, took care of her for months, helping her do laundry and cook until she recovered.

Shi now looks healthy except for her missing hands and feet. Not only can she take care of herself, she has a small garden. When asked about her faith, she said: "It's good. Without faith I can't survive. Jesus is my rock."

-Translated by Grace Hubl

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