An elderly female Christian followed Christ after giving a promise to her dying mother. Since a miraculous conversion nine years ago, she has devoted herself to sharing the gospel with others and teaching the Chinese alphabet to senior Christians.
Though her ancestral home is in Shandong Province, Grace was born in Anhui Province and has been working and living there. She entered the church on April 23, 2014, and has believed in Jesus for nearly nine years. Born in Heilongjiang Province in 1985, another female Christian named Panpan believed in and dedicated herself to Jesus at the age of nine. Having been preaching ever since she received a doctorate of ministry degree in November 2022.
Recently Panpan interviewed Grace about her conversion stroy and ministry.
Panpan: How did you get to turn to Jesus? Why are you so strong and joyful?
Grace: As a devout Christian for many years, my mother brought her in-laws to the Lord one by one, giving them the Bible. Though all my younger siblings followed my mother to the church, I didn’t change my faith since I couldn’t understand why I was a sinner for I thought I was strict with myself as a member of the Chinese Communist Party. My mother’s home was a gathering place, where she and believers prayed to God for me to be a Christian for more than 30 years.
When my mother was in the hospital, she tried her best to persuade me, "All our family members have believed in the Lord, why is your heart so stubborn? In the future, we will be together happily after we die, but how can you enter heaven if you don't believe in Jesus? You are the one I worry about the most!" Taking the Bible everywhere after the baptism, she insisted on reading the Bible in traditional Chinese with reading glasses every day during the hospitalization. On April 12, 2014, I took the initiative to read the Bible to her as I intended to please her rather than listen to her nagging. She first found and let me read the scriptures about the Ten Commandments in the Bible, which she told me to obey and some of which she said she did not keep well. And she sternly warned me not to worship idols or false gods. The next morning, my mother suddenly had no vital signs, and there was a straight line on the ECG paper. I held my mother in my arms and called out to her ear, "Mother, wake up soon! Wake up, don’t fall asleep. You take me to the church, and I will never go if others take me. I will follow you to believe in the Lord..." At this time, my mother struggled to open her eyes slowly and I saw the electrocardiogram return to normal. That night, my mother took out the Bible to let me read it to her, saying, "You said you will believe in the Lord, so you should keep this covenant."
My mother passed away on Good Friday, April 18, 2014, and five days later I entered the church for the first time, resulting in sleeping well. One week after my baptism, I participated in a spiritual retreat in which the pastor explained how to live a spiritual life, including reading the Bible, praying, and praising. After more than 20 days, I experienced three miracles within two hours, understanding that He is the true God.
Panpan: I know that your physical examination results are not very good recently and you have necrosis of the femoral head, abnormal liver function, and joint pain due to rheumatoid arthritis. Although in pain, I see that you have been encouraging believers in the “Mercy House” and leading them in reading the Bible and reciting the scriptures.
Grace: I was not nervous when I heard this result, because I have hope and support. Last year, I participated in a physical examination organized by my unit and found high cholesterol. The doctor prescribed me Hypocol which should not be taken for more than three months. However, I have eaten the medicine for nearly a year, which caused liver disease. Suffering from severe knee pain, I went to the hospital for treatment and was admitted to the hospital.
Preaching the gospel in the hospital, I prayed before the operation for two female patients in the same ward who should undergo surgeries of removing metal plates. They followed me saying prayers sentence by sentence, feeling no pain during the operations and recoveries. I taught them the hymn named "River of Life", often sending spiritual messages to them on WeChat.
After being discharged from the hospital, the liver function returned to normal after taking the medicine for only half a month.
Talking about my testimony and experience to my neighbors, I organize them to read the Bible and sing hymns to praise God.
Thank God for setting up for us the Mercy House in which you and your husband nurture us for the past few years, sharing your Bible reading experience and light. Managing the house, some female believers hosted a worship and praise meeting for us on Christmas Eve in despise of the epidemic.
Panpan: How will you devote yourself to the Lord?
Grace: I am a stubborn, rebellious, and foolish sinner. I converted to Christianity in my 60s, and now I am in my seventies, so I plan to serve God every second I can. I will take care of my body which is flawed, dedicating my best time to God!
Panpan: I am very moved to see some photos in which you were leading the literacy class for the elderly in the church. Could you share this wonderful service with us?
Grace: Thank God for choosing me and using me. Not long after I believed in the Lord, the head of the church asked me to teach literacy skills to the elderly. I told them that learning pinyin (a Chinese pronunciation system) could help them recognize more characters and looking up the dictionary could help them read unfamiliar words.
It took us three months to learn the Chinese alphabet, one class a week, but first-year students should spend nearly two months attending classes every day to learn it.
At the beginning of the class, the female believers of Mercy House provided the elderly with school supplies and a Chinese dictionary.
Senior believers from many other churches requested to join this literacy class. Members of nearby churches begged to learn the material by riding a bicycle in the middle of the night when the course was restarted.
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times.)
- Translated by Abigail Wu