There are thirteen official (state-run) theological seminaries and Bible schools in China, that are recognised by the Chinese Communist Party. Communism theory and Patriotism Education are compulsory courses in these seminaries.
However, in the underground church, thousands of Bible schools and training groups have been teaching sound doctrine and biblical truth. It is estimated that there are more than 100 Bible schools and training organisations in Beijing alone. These schools have educated thousands of believers to become qualified pastors and preachers for the local churches in north China.
A Bible school in a suburb north of Beijing has trained 650 students over the past 21 years. VOM’s support started in 2012 and in the past eight years, 30 students from poor area churches have been sponsored by VOM and have graduated from the school. Of the 650 students who have graduated, 95% of them have become pastors.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has increased its supervision and control of the Chinese people. As a result of this, the school has had to move to a smaller space and split into two sections – the boys in one and the girls in another.
The pandemic has resulted in the churches giving greater urgency to the Great Commission and so in the last month, the school has increased the number of students – there are now 15 more than last year. All of them are from Inner Mongolia and poor areas of the north-east. VOM is supporting nine of these additional students.
The students’ books, accommodation, and other needs are supplied. The only thing they need to do is to focus on studying.
A testimony of one of the students
Max is 18 years old and is from Inner Mongolia. This year, he was due to finish high school with the hope of attending university in 2021. However, in May of this year, his plans changed.
Max’s mother is a Christian. She worked for a clothing factory; her main task was primarily cutting and sewing. In May, the factory manager purchased some machines to produce face masks. As there is a great need for masks, it was decided it would be a good opportunity to make money.
However, the factory was not qualified to produce sterile medical products, so Max’s mother refused to work on mask production.
The Party Secretary (in China every factory, school, even every residence block has the local party organisation member, led by a Communist Party secretary) of the factory came said to her and her colleagues that the masks must be produced, to sell to other provinces and also to Europe.
Max’s mother and another Christian worker said they would never do such an improper and deceitful thing. They reported the case to the municipal government. The mayor’s office said they would investigate the issue, however, a week later, they were fired from their jobs and threatened to not speak of it.
The factory continues to make the masks though they remain unqualified.
We thank God that these Christian ladies stood up for right principals.
When Max’s mother lost her job, the family could no longer afford Max’s tuition fees, at any school. When a VOM contact heard of the incident. He visited the family.
At first, the VOM worker wanted to help with financial support, but Max’s mother and husband said, that they did only what the Lord commanded so they didn’t want to receive money. They needed only prayer, that they would be vindicated by God.
Through his parent’s example, Max was strengthened in his faith. He came to better understand the Scripture “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:19 (NKJV). He prayed to the Lord that he was willing to surrender all to Jesus.
The local pastor and church elders recognised Max’s calling and asked the VOM worker if they knew of a Bible school Max could attend.
Max was told of the underground Bible school in Beijing and was advised to not worry about the costs as some friends from far away would be happy to support a student like Max.
Max passed the entrance test to become a student at the Bible school.
We thank God that VOM has been working with frontline workers for decades. We pray that with the support of beloved and faithful supporters of VOM, the work of the Lord will continue, just like in the time of the Apostles.
Keep praying for His glory in the persecuted church.
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