A letter from… Luhe, China
Jimmy Lam reports on Christmas in rural China
Christmas in the rural communities of Luhe reminds me of Psalm 96:12: “Let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” The senior pastor of the main church in Luhe, which is a farming district in Nanjing, is the Revd Liu Xiaofan. In 1982, when China allowed rural churches to reopen after the Cultural Revolution, he, together with 100 Christians, went to reclaim the church, which was then used as a cinema, and hunted down the pews that had been removed. Returning Christians had to rely on the few Bibles that were not destroyed during the revolution, some of which were hand-copied. But God has blessed them: In 1982, there were 120 Christians in Luhe; today the district has 44 churches and 40,000 Christians.
The church, however, lacks resources. There is a great shortage of leaders, as all those Christians share three ordained pastors. At Christmas, the three of them move from church to church to celebrate the season, and churches take turns to celebrate Christmas before the actual day…
Jimmy Lam is a photographer; his images of Chinese Christians are published in The Bible Comes Alive: Window into the Christian Church in China (Marshall Cavendish, 2014) in partnership with the United Bible Societies. For more information about the work of UBS, visit www.unitedbiblesocieties.org
This is an extract from the December 2014/January 2015 edition of Reform.