Sister Meng Jiumei , age 47, is from Hebei Province and she is a 7th generation Catholic in her family . She came to Sichuan province during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 and she stayed to serve in the Leshan Diocese of Sichuan Province. About 3 years ago, she was asked to serve at Longchi Church, a Catholic church located at mid-way up Mount Emei in Sichuan Province. Although Mt Emei is one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains of China, Longchi Church is one of the two Catholic churches in this area dating back almost 190 years. Longchi Church was founded by a French missionary and used to include a missionary school.
When Sister Meng first arrived at the church, it had less than 50 members. She mobilised the church members to reach out to the villagers in the mountain. Sister Meng takes the local bus to visit houses and share the gospel to villagers. As the villagers are spread out across the mountain, she has to walk along the many narrow pathways to reach their homes.
There is no priest assigned to Longchi Church. Her daily life starts at 3 am with a few hours of prayer and Bible reading. She leads the church in regular Bible reading. She does not have much income and receives love offerings from church members, which may be in the form of food.
Now by God’s grace, Longchi Church has grown to 400 members.
Bible Society staff recently visited Sister Meng who lives at the old church. Many roof tiles have fallen and there are other urgent repair works needed around the church compound. Sister Meng said that once water leaked from the roof and wet her bed and so she had to cover herself in plastic sheets in order to sleep. The room where Sister Meng resides has no heating, so would get cold in winter. Sister Meng struggles to maintain the church compound and raise money for the much-needed repair work.
Sister Meng shared with Bible Society staff from Luke 19 :1-10 about the story of Zacchaeus. “I used to be a proud person, thinking that I am a nun and you need to respect me.” She explained that it wasn’t a pride derived from wealth like Zacchaeus, but from her status as a nun. She said she needs to be submissive and humble like Zacchaeus who obeyed Jesus without hesitation and willingly offered to pay back all those he cheated.
“I need to be submissive and be humble. I am to serve the Lord with my life and lead others to God. That is why I named myself Paul’s Nun. If I did not share the gospel or pray daily, I will feel uncomfortable.”