From the Mid-Autumn Festival to the National Day holiday period, Shanxi Province experienced the continuous record-breaking rainfall. Churches in the province carried out disaster statistics and visits, as reconstruction work was conducted in many places for the rainy season had passed. The central and southern parts of Shanxi were battered by the heavy rainfall which triggered geological disasters such as landslides and floods.
Recently, Gospel Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, contacted Rev. Fan Wanmin of the Jiexiu Church in Shanxi to learn about their visits to the flood-stricken churches and believers which were carried out on October 14-16.
The meeting point in Shitunnan Village, Yitang Town, the only site with an official activity license in Jiexiu City, could not open for gathering due to being in a dilapidated state. During this precipitation, the top of the cave dwelling where the meeting point is located suffered serious water leakage, with large cracks on the outer wall. The loess wall was loosened due to long-term soaking in rain.
After learning about the situation, Rev. Fan and the church staff went to the meeting point to verify the disaster situation and show sympathy to the local believers on October 14.
"Our visit this time was to encourage the believers to keep seeking and relying on the Lord in adversity, and not to stop gatherings. On the other hand, we also negotiated with the local village committee, hoping to find an alternative venue as soon as possible, so that this hard-won legal meeting place could continue to operate," explained Rev. Fan.
Next, they visited a female believer living beside a highway that was low-lying. Her basement was flooded, with some appliances such as the TV damaged due to a case of a backwater. But the home on the first floor was not affected much.
The pastor and church staff prayed for her, presenting money and rice, as the female Christian - who suffered from several diseases - was hit by the flood.
On the same day, they also went to the homes of two other believers to pray and communicate.
Jin Yuting, deputy chairman of Shanxi Provincial CC&TSPM, also came to visit the affected believers on October 15, supplying financial assistance.
The pastor and church staff paid a visit to two female related believers again with the money from the provincial CC&TSPM, whom they had visited and given thick clothes, noodles, and oil to six days ago. The two women from Song’an Village in Songgu Township, Jiexiu City, now stay with their relatives together, as their houses were damaged seriously and they didn’t take clothes and supplies when evacuating. The highest water level of the home of one even reached 1.5 meters. The chimney of the other’s old house collapsed, which caused the foundation to sink due to soaking in water for a prolonged period.
"The church plans to continue to pay attention to these devastated believers. After the local government and the village committee verified the results of the houses, we will provide assistance in the post-disaster reconstruction according to actual needs," Rev. Fan added.
According to the pastor, four rows of old houses of Jiexiu Church were also affected to varying degrees during the rain. Among them, the two dilapidated houses in the first row collapsed. And the church was planning to have them and the connected houses demolished to avoid subsequent accidents. In addition, the repair work was yet to be carried out, as the walls inside the church and the attached house for the choir leaked.
- Translated by Abigail Wu