On November 10, Elder Li Yunxiang, the president of Yangxin County Christian Council, in Hubei, shared that Li Kunxiu, a member of Xin'en Church in the county, passed away at the age of 74.
Sister Li died in an accident on her way to attend the Sunday service on the morning of November 8.
Elder Li said that Sister Li loved the Lord very much. Although she was just an ordinary believer, she played a pivotal role in the establishment and development of the church.
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, Sister Li was born on September 8, 1946, and died on September 23, 2020. She was baptized and became a child of God in 1995.
She was one of the first believers of Xin'en Church. After being baptized, she preached the gospel to most of her relatives, friends and acquaintances, travelling to many villages both nearby and far away.
At first, when sister Li went to preach the gospel to her relatives and friends, her action attracted the attention of the local public security organs who mistakenly thought she was a cult member, as they lacked a correct understanding of Christianity. Once, when she was praying with several believers in her home, some policemen came and took them to the local police station for questioning. After being detained for 48 hours, she was rescued by the pastoral co-workers of the county Christian council. Despite this unpleasant experience, she still walked through the villages to preach the gospel when it was not the busy farming season.
Over the years, she had led her family to believe in the Lord, including her husband, five children, her sister and two brothers, her son-in-law, granddaughter, many nephews and nieces. Thus, her family became a Christian family. At the same time, she also led more than a dozen other relatives or neighbors to believe in the Lord.
Under the influence of Sister Li, one daughter opened her home as a gathering place, and another daughter contributed 30,000 to 50,000 yuan (RMB) to Xin'en Church to every year.
In the early years, after she had led her family and several villagers to believe in the Lord, she set up a gathering place in her home and led believers in worship. Having studied in school for years, she eagerly pursued the truth of God. As a result, she had a good education background and could lead the scripture reading, Bible study and prayer time, as well as teaching the believers to sing hymns.
As several believers lived more than ten kilometers away from her home, she established a large gathering point in a brother's house in the town for those believers. She also led Sunday worship at the larger gathering place and also taught the believers to sing hymns. Later, because this large gathering place was attacked by a heresy (the Cry to be Reborn Sect, designated as a cult by the government), some believers were deceived by their teaching. Sister Li and several other pastoral co-workers defended the truth and led the believers who had not been deceived back to her home and gathered in her home again with the support from the county Christian council.
As the number of believers increased, the gathering place was too small, and she encouraged the staff workers to build a church. But the site selection became a big problem. Because the local villagers believed in other religions for generations and rejected Christianity, they refused to allow a church to be built on their land. In the face of this difficulty, Sister Li and other pastoral co-workers encouraged the believers to keep praying , and at the same time she mobilized her brother, who was a local influential believer, to search for a place. Later, through the efforts of her brother (Brother Li Mingyue), and the support from the local people, they chose her mother’s village as the site for the church. During the period of building the church, her family contributed a lot of money. Not only did she do it herself, but she also encouraged her children, her brothers and nephews to actively contribute. Despite being elderly, she carried bricks and mud by hand with other believers.
After the church was built and put into use, she also held prayer meetings for believers near her home every Friday for many years.
Since Xin’de Church didn’t have well-educated pastors in these years, they invited pastoral co-workers from other churches to give sermons. Therefore, hosting visiting pastors became an important ministry of the church. When gathering at her home, she hosted the pastors every Sunday at her own expense. Though later the Sunday service was held in the church, she still insisted on having them in her home. For a long time, she led a very simple life, reserving the best food for the pastors.
On November 13, Xin'en Church held a memorial service for her at her residence. A brother named Li Shangyi, who was sitting in a wheelchair, said that Mather Li (his honorific name for sister Li) was full of love, as she often visited him at his home to encourage, comfort, and give him strength and help, treating him like her own child.
(The article is originally published by Gospel Times.)
- Translated by Abigail Wu