Approaching Northern Courtyard Church Founded 40 Years Ago

The inside of Elim Church in Yaodu District, Linfen City, Shanxi Province
The inside of Elim Church in Yaodu District, Linfen City, Shanxi Province
By Xiaohua Zhang, Thomas ZhangFebruary 8th, 2023

In China's northern Shanxi Province, there is a village with a quadrangle church that is in an alley. It has become a local landmark. 

Based in the southern suburb of Yaodu District, Linfen City, Elim Church has an office room and conference room in the east of the compound, as well as a reception room and kitchen in the west. There are stainless steel handrails in the corridor, as well as accessibility ramps for the elderly and disabled.

An elderly female believer named Zhang Jiaozhi, who is in charge of the church, guided us to the basement, which is directly beneath the church. The basement, which was once a low-lying pit, was later designed as a dormitory and prayer room for staff workers during gatherings.

A senior female Christian named Zheng Ailian first became a Christian in the church founded over 40 years ago, sharing the gospel in the village and leading some people to Christ. I had just become a pastor and was preaching on a bicycle at the time. Opening her home for three or five believers to gather, Zheng was appointed a deacon.

After Zheng passed away in 2006, Zhang was engaged in church management. During one service in 2007, a nonlocal believer had the idea of purchasing a place, as the church leader intended to rebuild the church. Then, the male believer donated more than 20,000 yuan to buy a yard for the church, with a contribution of 100,000 yuan from Elder Wei Chengen in Linfen.

Besides donating money, believers in the surrounding areas contributed their labor and materials, with the church being completed in 2015. It was named "Elim Church," which meant going from bitter to better.

In regard to her experience of faith, Zhang said that she had been in poor health at first, but the cause of the disease could not be found. And it was useless to worship Buddha and burn incense. After marriage, her husband picked up a Bible by chance when delivering sand. He recommended it to her, as he felt good after reading it. "It is a good book that may be useful to you." So Jiaozhi began to read this wonderful book and made a prayer of confession as she was moved by God's great love. Attending church services, she learned the truth humbly and served willingly, being healed miraculously.

Apart from support from her husband for her ministry, her daughter also participates in a short-term Bible study class and devotes herself to the Lord.

In the past three years of the epidemic, she had organized online Bible studies and prayers, often paying visits to weak believers.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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