In these years, the living conditions of pastors in grass-roots churches has been a hot topic. Among many voices, it is a mainstream acknowledgment that the church should take more measures to raise the salary of grassroots pastors. However, due to the differences in local economies and the actual development of the churches, this expectation is actually not easy to fulfill.
In society, we occasionally hear spontaneous stories of believers supporting pastors, but after all, insisting on sponsoring pastors for a long time is not a small expense for the supporters. More so and really very commendable if it is a support to a total stranger for years.
Recently, a sister has given continuous support for a rural pastor for two years. Gospel Times, a Chinese Christian newspaper, interviewed Sister Wang to share the story of full of warmth and love.
Gospel Times: What was the opportunity for you to support pastors? Were you somehow touched or called to do so?
Wang: The opportunity for me was actually Gospel Times. More than two years ago, I saw a series of testimonies written by a young rural pastor on your website. The pastor described his experience of being chosen by God and his service in rural churches for many years, which greatly touched me. I came up with the idea of offering some help to the evangelist who was at the grassroots level.
However, as I was not very talented in speeches, it was difficult for me to preach the gospel myself, so I contacted the staff of Gospel Times to indirectly help the evangelist.
Gospel Times: Besides supporting the pastor, have you made any other contribution to supporting church ministries? In addition, do you have a detailed understanding of the pastor you sponsored? What are your expectations for him?
Wang: I am an ordinary believer. Apart from my daily work and life, I focus on the church to which I belong at present, so I usually do some service work for my church according to my gift.
As for the pastor brother whom I supported, we only had a simple communication on WeChat through which I got some knowledge about his belief. In terms of expectations, as we all work for God and act according to our conscience, I also believe that this brother can firmly go on the road of serving the grass-roots church under the conservative care of God.
Personally, I hope that the loving God will bless the land of China and the Chinese nation, keep and lead more Chinese children to believe in and return to Him. With God's blessing and conservation, our country and church will peacefully and prosperously take the road of development.
Gospel Times: You have given financial support every month for two years. Would such uninterrupted dedication bring you some pressure?
Wang: I work in the logistics industry and my income is not bad. Therefore, it is acceptable for me to give a part of my monthly salary to the pastor. It did not have a great impact on my daily life.
Gospel Times: If the pastor is capable of taking care of his church and daily life in the future, what are you going to do next? Are there any plans to continue to support other pastors?
Wang: As an ordinary believer, I won’t make any grand statement, but as long as it glorifies God's name and is helpful to the evangelical ministry, I will try my best to stick to it. Because this work is done for the Lord, I don't care which pastor in which area it would be. If this brother isn’t in need anymore, which is great, I will continue to help grassroots missionaries from other areas.
Gospel Times: Can you talk about your faith experience and what led you to the road of supporting evangelical ministries?
Wang: I come from Xi 'an, Shaanxi Province, and was born in a single-parent worker family in the 1970s. My parents divorced when I was very young and I lived with my mother.
Because my mother's mental state was unstable, I didn't have happy memories of my childhood. Under the influence of my family, I gradually grew into a pessimistic and lonely person who was once full of complaints about life and living. However, God reveals Himself in different ways. By chance, God made me know Him through a brother in the Lord.
When I felt that life was just like this, I looked up under a tree in pain and asked, "God, if you really exist, let a leaf fall on my face!" In an instance, a leaf turned down and slowly landed by my side. I burst into tears at once. It turned out that there was really a God who was caring for and protecting me. Later, I asked my brothers in the Lord why God didn't let the leaves fall on my face as I asked but by my side. God told me through the brother's mouth that he had revealed Himself to me through the leaf and it was my own choice whether I should pick up the leaf or not, and believe in or not believe in God.
After experiencing this miracle, I made up my mind to repent before the Lord. On March 31, 2012, after the music sermon of OCT Church, I took to the stage and decided to believe in the Lord. The night before my decision, I had two dreams. Both are related to Jesus Christ.
With the spiritual growth, my original strong and strict character gradually changed, and my passion and hope for life have gradually recovered. Besides, I also thank the Holy Spirit for his work in my family, which is getting more and more harmonious because of God's blessing.
After really feeling God's love and the real changes happening around me, I gradually came up with the idea of doing something for the Lord. However, I am not good at speeches and can't preach the gospel to others like other brothers and sisters, so I thought about the possibility of indirectly contributing my own strength to the evangelical ministry.
Perhaps there is a good intention of God. Soon after, I saw the testimonial story of this rural pastor brother on the Gospel Times website, and everyone knew how things unfolded afterward. With the help of colleagues on the website, I began to give some money every month to support him until now.
If you want me to talk about my initial intention about aiding the pastor, I really have nothing to share. My initial intention was very simple, that is, I simply hoped to support the evangelical ministry and honor the Lord's name - that's all.
- Translated by Charlie Li