Two Hubei Churches Persist in Face of Virus

The network
The network
By Zoe Zhang March 5th, 2020

Every evening, Brother Li leads a Bible study on Kuaishou, a hot video sharing app in China. On average, hundreds of Christians attend it, including non-local familiar believers.

Working in Fuman Church in Yidu, in China's central Hubei Province, he said he started broadcasting Bible studies from last year because it was inconvenient for some believers with physical disabilities or from rural areas to go to church. Afterward, his "online" study suspended for a while as he had to look after his pregnant wife. It was resumed during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Apart from broadcasting Bible studies, an elder from his church presides over online prayer meetings. The Sunday services are also conducted on Kuaishou. 

Li said, "According to my observation, the cyberspace platforms are a more mixed bunch. Cults like Korea Shincheonji swoop in through Kuaishou and WeChat. I think it's easy for mature believers to distinguish cults from orthodox churches in online meetings, but new Christians are more likely to come into contact with heretical, digital resources. "

He added, "That is a big disadvantage of network platforms."

However, some Christians' spouses also follow their partners to join in Bible studies and learn to sing hymns when they stay at home during the epidemic. Li holds that Christians can encourage their non-Christian family members when they initially know Christianity. Families can also establish "worship altars" where Christians can worship God along with their families. 

Li used to serve in a church in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province. In contrast to the Christian population in Zhejiang, Hubei's was much fewer. 

As the Covid-19 broke out in Wuhan late last year, he regarded it as call to all the churches in Hubei: to save souls. 

He shared, "We pastoral workers and pulpit speakers should repent first. Seeing the second coming of the Lord as near and disasters erupting everywhere, each of us needs to be alert. Affected by the present trends as well as money, the relationships between Christians and the Lord have become further and further distant. We all need to be vigilant, otherwise it will be troublesome when we need to give an account to the Lord."

"We hope you would pray for us and that we would pray for each other."

Founded in 1995, Qingshan Church in the epicenter Wuhan pastors its 3,700-person congregation through WeChat groups. According to the Sunday service procedure, the staff send the recorded videos to the groups on Sundays. 

Rev. Gao from the church said, "I keep feeling peace in my heart and pray that the plague would stop and the society and church services would return to normal. I pray to God to protect the frontline staff."

He said that some members were infected with the virus such as two sisters who were getting better. The church has been paying close attention to the infected believers and praying for their healing.

It is said the church attendance is around 2,000 as some members have relocated, moved to other cities, or work in shifts. 

There are two ordained pastors and four non-ordained, one elder, and seven deacons. Every year 60 or 70 people are baptized. 

The pastor shared a prayer request: "Please pray for us that God will protect us. Pray that the Lord would strengthen us that we would triumph over everything with the Lord's help, given that the church has encountersed trials and persecutions in recent years..." 

- Translated by Karen Luo

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