Bible-based Literacy is Making a Difference in China
May 1, 2020
Esther, Bible League International’s Director of East Asia Ministries, tells us that although most Bible-based Literacy classes in her region are not physically meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team is busy helping teachers continue their outreaches online.
She reports, “Unexpectedly, the responses from students are very good. They are very excited to learn new methods, things like teleconferencing through Zoom and WeChat.
“The teachers are also encouraged,” she continues. “Most responses from their students are showing their appreciation for the extra work their teacher is doing.”
Esther goes on to explain that in Chinese, the word “crisis” is made up of two characters—“danger + opportunity.” She notes, “While we face this current danger, we see new opportunities. We are looking forward to exploring those opportunities for the kingdom.”
Until then, she’d like to share what was happening before the pandemic at Zheng Sheng, an educational rehabilitation center in Hong Kong. The center introduced Bible-based Literacy to its program about a year ago. Esther shares:
Zheng Sheng is the only educational rehabilitation center in Hong Kong. Zheng means “turn back from wrongdoing,” and Sheng means “born again.” It was established by a Christian organization in 1985 as a drug addiction treatment center and registered as a private school in 1998. The school dedicates itself to reforming teen drug addicts, drug traffickers, thieves, smugglers, and criminal offenders. All students are transmitted here through a court order.
A boarding school, Zheng Sheng is located on an isolated island, accessible only by small boat. Students generally stay here for an average of three years, depending upon the verdict. They help in daily chores like cooking, washing, and maintaining the school premises.
Every student must stay for at least two years or until they complete their terms. The school uses a model that combines the essentials of Christianity with modern educational psychology, which includes community interaction, work labor, academic learning, and spiritual living.
Emily, the school’s only English teacher, notes, “We are focused on the attitude of learning and consistency.” The students take part in vocational training that prepares them for a renewed life. According to the school’s principal, 90% of the graduates do not return to drugs, and most can find jobs with no trouble at all.
Though Emily initially tried to tailor-make an English curriculum for students based on her professional experience in the UK education system, the result was discouraging. Students had no interest in learning English.
Then, in February 2019, she met with Bible League International and introduced Bible-based Literacy. Students’ attitudes about learning English quickly changed.
“Since we began this Bible-based Literacy program, we are eager to learn English,” comments one student. Now students love to read simple Bible stories, and they especially enjoy reading the Easy-to-Read English Bible.
Emily enjoys teaching them as well. She says, “In the past 35 years of my career as a teacher, I was too busy that I had no chance of sharing the Bible. Today, I am still a teacher, but finally, I have the chance to ‘preach’ the Gospel every week. The students are closer to me now ever since I began to use this program.”
Zheng Sheng is a very unique school in China, and God is touching young people here through English Bible-based Literacy. Praise God! The lives of this special group of students are being transformed in a uniquely remarkable way. Thank God that the Bible League is part of it!