First Ethnic Bible School for the Minority in Western Yunnan

The first Bible School for the Minority in Yunnan
1/3The first Bible School for the Minority in Yunnan(photo: CCD)
The first Bible School for the Minority in Yunnan
2/3The first Bible School for the Minority in Yunnan(photo: CCD)
The first Bible School for the Minority in Yunnan
3/3The first Bible School for the Minority in Yunnan(photo: CCD)
By Yi YangSeptember 27th, 2016

The Bible Training Center of Longchuan County is the first ethnic group Bible school in western Yunnan Province. It is located close to the Sino-Burmese border region.

At first, there were only seven pastors in the center. Now, the training center is responsible for the evangelism of the Lisu ethnic group. After 27 years, a new teaching building of the training center has been set up to support the growing following in the region.

The founder of the training center, Pastor Cao, grew up in Burma. He came to China for evangelism at the age of 29 and later settled in Longchuan County.

He said that there were a few believers from the Lisu ethnic group in the 1980s, but some dared not to publicize their beliefs due to possible discrimination. Pastor Cao founded the training center in 1989 to satisfy their needs.

Training center now runs three-year and four-year theology classes. There are also short-term training classes for youngsters, women and pastors. Lectures on scientific knowledge or modern agriculture are also regularly held.

The Bible Training Center has never given up its theological teachings regardless of any difficult situation it faces. The training center has fostered a lot of pastors for surrounding areas. In addition, the training center also actively carried out social services for the people. They have helped many college students continue their school work and repaired damaged roads around local schools.

Many refugees speaking Lisu language still lack food and clothes. The pastors and teachers of the Bible Training Center often visit them to give them food or teach them Chinese.

According to Pastor Cao, the Bible school used to receive students from seven different ethnic groups such as Yi and Miao. Now, there are also Bible training centers in Baoshan and Yingjiang of Western Yunnan Province.

As a result, the Bible Training Center of Longchuan County mainly cultivates pastors of Lisu ethnic group at the present time. The students in the center are from Lijiang, Longchuan, Burma and so on.

The teaching language of the training center is in Lisu language. The students usually go to the church in the school hall while pastors go to two nearby churches for evangelism.

Currently, there are more than 2000 believers from the Lisu ethnic group and about 2500 believers from the Jingpo ethnic group in Longchuan County.

The training courses include Bible Projects, Bible Geography, Church's History, Music and Religious Laws and Regulations.

Mr Li has been teaching here for 10 years. He graduated from the school. He grew up as a believer but he didn't quite understand gospel. Li overheard more than 100 pastors singing hymns with joy at the training center one day. He was moved and decided to teach at the school.

Li recalls that the condition of the Bible school was very hard in the past. Students had to live in believers' home. With the help of the China Christian Council, church workers and students moved into an old house in 1994.

"At that time, the ground was full of dirt. Mice went up and down as we sang hymns. We have even encountered earthquakes and debris flow." Li said.

The new teaching building was built in 2015 under the persistence of the pastors and the dedication of the church.

Mr Li used to teach Exodus, but now he also teaches the book of Revelation. His teaching work has never been paid. The Bible Training Center and the church have tried to give teachers salaries, but they failed due to the lack of fund sources.

How does the training center cover its daily expenses? Besides church dedication, the principal, teachers and students do farm work to solve the problem of livelihood.

The students are divided into six groups. They get up at six in the morning and take turns to prepare for breakfast and lunch. The pastors in the training center always pray that someday they could give teachers salaries and have more religion books to help teachers and students grow better.

At 7:30 in the morning, the teachers lead the students to pray as usual. The school hall is filled with praise in Lisu language. Students from ethnic groups are very hard-working. They actively learn Bible knowledge, as well as musical Instruments.

According to Cao Lide, Pastor Cao's wife, the training center used to receive some people who couldn't read or write. Now, more than 1500 students have graduated from the school, including offspring of refugees.

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