In 2001 we were invited to consider helping in a distant village in the Himalayan foothills. The Director of Education in our area heard about our service with the local orphanage and wondered if we’d consider partnering with them to help build a primary school. I was very excited for this open door and we took the day to drive three hours, mostly off road, up into a region I had never ventured.
Upon arrival the village leaders greeted us with huge smiles and bottled water. It was very dry and unusually warmer in the dusty, red clay mountains that day. We then walked through the village on dirt paths used by the villagers to move about for daily life and to the surrounding fields for the planting and harvesting of peanuts and corn; some of the only crops that would grow on the steep, rocky slopes.
We were led to an adobe structure with a thatched roof about 12 feet wide and 40 feet long. I’m not sure how old it was but the large cracks in the dirt floor and walls made me feel unsafe in this school room that had about forty students sitting at crude, wooden desks that were all leaning in different directions because of the uneven dirt floor.
After a delicious banquet prepared by the villagers we negotiated and agreed to build a two-story brick school with six large classrooms to accommodate three other villages nearby. This project gave us access to this village and the area surrounding it. The school was completed in 2003 and we have since added a dormitory for the teachers, toilet facilities, a playground and basketball court, and our last project was a clinic completed just a few years ago. We have also repeatedly returned to this village with teams teaching English, hosting basketball and sports activities and fun fair days with games and goodies for the entire village.
Recently I was visiting the village during the Spring Festival when all school kids are enjoying their coveted holiday. I noticed one of the boys sitting in the shade under one of the only trees in the village and we struck up a conversation. As we chatted, I asked Xiao Wang if he believed in God. In all our years I had not met one believer in this village. His reply, “Yes, I believe in God!” I was a bit surprised and asked him what caused him to believe in God since no one in the village did. Xiao Wang replied, “I believe in God because you came to my village and told me about him.”
This confession of faith occurred more than fifteen years after our first visit. Reaching the unreached takes time, patience and perseverance. This village is one of our Priority 31 UPG’s. Please pray for the Miao in China to have their eyes opened and the truth of Jesus revealed to their hearts.
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