Church Planter - China
Jian is a church planter in easetern China. He was converted as a teenager through the example of his Christian mother. He has had many opportunities to serve the Lord throughout China, and he is passionate for the Chinese church to be strengthened in the truth.
Testimony of Conversion
I grew up in a Christian family and my mother’s faith had a tremendous impact on me. In fact, it was through my mother that the Lord Jesus brought me to Himself.
My mother came to faith when I was two. After giving birth, she was seriously ill and became depressed. Although she looked for medical help she did not recover from her sickness. At that time a neighbor shared the gospel with her and she started attending church. Her faith began to grow. With the passage of time, her physical body also recovered and I was deeply convicted that it was the Lord who healed her.
My mother always brought me to church with her and I became awakened to the Christian faith. After a few years, my mother started serving in the church in our village. She was very godly and faithful. Later, the church started to meet in our home. Because of this, I had a lot of opportunities to be involved in the church and had the opportunity to meet many preachers. In retrospect, I did not have personal relationship with the Lord then. I can only refer to Jesus Christ as the Lord of my mother. I truly came to know Him when I was sixteen years old.
Let me first talk about two unforgettable experiences that have profound impact on my faith. When I was born, my mother wrapped me up with cloth and it was summer. The weather was very warm and I began to develop a fever. Due to her inexperience, my mother thought I was having a cold. So she wrapped me up with more cloth. My fever went up higher and I almost died. My mother panicked and was desperate. But thank God, my grandmother came in time to discover my situation. She unwrapped me and I was saved. I believed it was God who sent my grandmother here in time to save my life.
Another incident happened when I was three or four years old. My mom was working in the farm and taking care of me at the same time. However, without her noticing, I wondered away from here and almost drowned in the nearby river. I remembered I was on the bottom of the river and yet I can still see my mother working in the farm from the bottom of the river. I still can remember the scene vividly in my mind. Suddenly, my mom discovered I was on the bottom of the water and immediately she pulled me out of the water. I am convinced it was God’s grace that saved me from drowning.
Now, let me talk about my salvation and repentance. As mentioned above, although I was brought up in a Christian family and in the church, I did not have genuine faith. For this reason, my heart grew cold and I slowly wondered away from the church as I was growing up. However, when I was sixteen, I remember attending a revival meeting and I was moved by God’s Word. Thereafter, I sat myself in the front row and listened intently for a number of days. Although I heard many preachers before, I had never been so attracted by those sermons. On the last day, the preacher wanted us to examine our lives before taking communion. God captured my heart and with tears running down my face I was moved by His love on the cross. At the same time, my heart was gripped by my own sins and rebellion. So I repented. From that incidence onward, I know I have true faith and a new life. I was saved. It is the Lord who brought me back to himself. So I am not lost now. Thanks be to God.
Call to Ministry
My calling to the ministry has to do with my mother. When I was young, my mother used to tell me how great the grace of God was to her. Without God’s care, she would be long gone and both my brother and I would be orphans. Although my mother wanted to serve God fulltime but she was not educated so she dedicated me to serve God instead. I fully understand her feeling and I am also happy and willing to serve Him with my life. Although at that time, I did not know what that means.
After graduation, I started sharing God’s word and began to preach to others. Church workers saw the preaching gift God gave me and recommended me for Bible training. During my course, I learned about God and the Bible. Slowly, I realized what it meant to serve God. My teachers used to tell us there were many churches without preachers and the brothers and sisters were left without spiritual food and shepherding. The sheep are scattered and captured by the heretics. The burden in my heart started to grow and I resolved to serve Him with all my life. Every time I sing the hymns “The harvest is plentiful” and “Lord, I want to serve you,” tears would stream down from my face. What I saw was the harvest without laborers and the lost sheep without shepherds before my very eyes. I raised my hands in response to the alter calls and with tears I resolved to serve God. All I want at that time was to respond to God’s calling and offer my life to teaching, shepherding and evangelizing the lost.
Upon graduating from the Bible class, I was sent to northeast China, as an intern for 4 months to preach to the churches there. Besides preaching, I was also teaching the Bible lessons. The internship was the beginning of my ministry. During this time, I learn from all the experienced pastors on how to shepherd and teach the Word of God.
After returning from the Northeast to my home town, I was sent out to preach in the nearby villages and conduct Bible study among all the young people. That was a sweet time of serving God with pure heart and passion. It was very fulfilling for me. After a few months, the pastors decided to set up a young Bible class, I was appointed officially to be their Bible teacher. All I wanted was to teach them what I had learned such as biblical lessons, basic truth and some topical lessons. In retrospect, I think I was not equipped for that job but at that time, all I wanted was to serve God with a pure and passionate heart. The truth of the matter was that we do not have qualified teachers at that time. Regardless, I grew as I serve in the church.
In the spring of 2002, I was sent to serve in a church for 4 months. My main duty was to preach in various churches. This was my first time in a big city. This was a blessing to me because I had many older pastors and church workers to guide me. It was very different from the experience I had in Northeast of China. I felt I grew tremendously, spiritually speaking. In a later part of that year, I went back to my home town to get married.
In the spring of 2004, I was sent to southern village as a missionary. This was a very poor and rural area and it had a great impact on my spiritual life. Although the people were superstitious, they were hospitable and they are very willing to listen to the gospel. I felt that they desperately need the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ from idols worshipping, foolishness and sins. They needed to know the true savior so that they can have eternal lives.
In spite of that experience, I started a business in my home town after returning from the field. With the passage of time and pressure from businesses, my heart grew cold and I started to distance myself from serving the Lord. This lasted about four years. However, the Lord closed the doors one by one for me. On the other hand, He started to build me up spiritually and brought me back to serve Him again. Looking back to the 4 years of back sliding, I learned that the Lord’s grace does not let me go and that caused me to serve Him more with all seriousness.
In the spring of 2009, I was again sent by the church as a missionary. It has been 7 years since. It was bitter sweet and we experienced the countless grace of the Lord. I grew in my spiritual life, in my preaching, in shepherding and learning the theological truth. In these years, I am more convinced than before about my gift of teaching. The church and other pastors also confirmed my calling and spiritual gift. I truly desired to be a teacher of the truth and I want to train workers for the house of the Lord. However, there was no opportunity for me to receive official seminary training.
In 2010, an opportunity presented itself. I heard from a co-worker that there was an official seminary starting in China. I was so excited and I applied through my church for the Bachelor degree in theology. Finally, I got the opportunity to be trained officially. My heart was filled with thanksgiving. In the 4 years from 2010 to 2013, I treasured every opportunity to attend classes and learn all I can. In these 4 years, some of my fellow students quit due to all kind of reasons. Yet, not once had the thought crossed my mind. It was because I have a calling and vision – to be a theological educator myself.
In the beginning of 2014, the principle of the seminary started a master of art program and asked me to join. Without hesitation, I applied and decided to pursue it. I knew it will be more difficult and there was financial burden, yet I treasured the opportunity to learn. It was the same calling and vision that gave me the much needed strength. Through all these classes, I grew in the truth, my spiritual life and my gift. During this time, I was also shepherding my church as well as involving myself in training others. It was encouraging to be me because I had many positive affirmations for my calling.
Furthermore, I am more convinced than before about the importance of theological education. This was because the house churches had wrong thinking about theology and they have no opportunity to be trained in an official seminary setting. For this reason, there were chaos in the pulpits. Shallow teaching, moralism, experientialism, mysticism had become mainline teaching from the pulpits of house churches. As a result, the church was in a mess. The church had lost its direction. In all this chaos, how can the believers grow in the fear of the Lord? How can the believers respect the truth? How can the believers grow spiritually? How can the church have revival? In view of all these I kept reminding myself that I must do my best to divide the Word accurately and teach it to my congregation. I firmly believe proper theological training is the answer to all the mess.
Thank God that recently, there are more seminaries started classes and many Christians are being trained. However, I notice that most of these theological educators come from outside China. Although these foreign teachers are very knowledgeable, mature, experienced and full of love in teaching the Chinese students, yet objectively, there are still cultural differences and there are limitations in communications as well. For the health of theological education in China, we need to raise up native and indigenous theological educators within China. I am resolved to work hard to be part of effort and may the Lord bless my calling and vision.
Testimony of Missionary’s Wife (Bao)
I was brought to Christianity through the influence of my mother. This was how the Lord chose to save me and it was completely the grace of God for me to become His child.
My mother heard of the gospel through her sister before I was born. During that time, she had anemia and was seriously ill. In the beginning, she believed in the Lord because she wanted to be healed of her own sickness. Possibly, this is how most people believe in the Lord. However, after a few years (when I was still young), she had a serious relapse. But without being brought to the hospital, she was healed after she prayed a prayer. Since then, there have been no more relapses.
My mother told me 40 days after I was born that I had a red spot on my neck. In the beginning they were not concerned. But before long, my whole body was covered with red spots and it developed into blisters. After the pustules erupted, the fluid caused unbearable irritations and pain. I suffered this sickness for 12 years without cure, although we sought medical helps everywhere including countless hospital visits. We spent a lot of money and I had taken many different medicines with no result. I was miserable and hopeless. My mother even prayed that the Lord would take my life in view of my suffering,
During these twelve years, I followed my mother to all the preaching services and prayer meetings in the church. Although I never had a good night sleep due to the irritation and pain, I awoke every morning at 4 or 5 o’clock to follow my mom to all the morning prayer meetings in the church. My mother also took me to all kinds of healing services, but I was not cured. As I was growing up, my impatience with the Lord also grew and my heart kept asking why the Lord did not heal me and take my pain away. Although I had complaints in my heart I still followed my mom to all the church services. My mom and I were sure God was able to heal me.
Regardless, I slowly grew in the knowledge of the Lord, knowing Jesus is the only true God who died for my sins on the cross and He was raised on the third day. I knew trusting the Lord Jesus Christ was the way to heaven. I believed He was the omnipotent God who could heal my sickness. To be completely honest, I do not know when I had repented of my sins and began to develop a meaningful relationship with Him. But I never doubted my faith ever and I am convinced that I am the child of God.
When I was twelve, my mom was desperately praying for my sickness, a name of a village kept appearing in her mind although she had never heard this village before. To be sure, she fasted for 30 days (taking only one meal a day) and one day she heard of this place (called “Gaowan”) from a food seller and he was from that village. He told my mom that indeed there was a doctor who was well known to cure skin disease.
My mom immediately took me there and the doctor prescribed some medicines for me and told me that I would need take the medicines for a one and a half month and it was no guarantee that I would be cured. However, my mom was confident that it was the Lord who brought us there and I would be healed. After returning home, my itch stopped after taking the first medicine. After taking the medicine a second time, all the red spots were gone. Miraculously, I was completely cured after taking the medicines for another 6 days. I believed firmly that it was the Lord who cured my sickness. Since then, I have had no relapse and that was more than 20 years ago.
I am very thankful to the Lord for healing me because the healing took place when I was old enough to remember the grace of the Lord and not before. This was how I come to know the Lord. I will not forget the grace of the Lord and I have decided to give my life to the Lord, to serve Him and to follow Him.
This is my testimony. Thank you.
Note: For security reasons a pen name is used for this missionary.