Editor's note: This is part four of the Christian testimony series: the stories of a man who is "stingy" with himself but generous to give and a preacher who regards the church as her own "home". (To see part one, part two & part three)
1. A brother who is "stingy" but willing to give alms
An old brother has been living through a hard time and developed a diligent and simple living habit. He never spends money needlessly or eats frugally. He wears old socks and clothes; even his mobile phone and computer are old models his children did not use them any longer.
However, there is another aspect about him that most people don't know, that is, he is very generous with his usual friendships.
He never worships the Lord empty-handed when he comes to a Sunday Service, and donates all that he should. He donates money once a month all year long to children suffering from incurable diseases for treatment, especially for the help from veterans, from the pastor or believers who have sickness and difficulty. He also donates to the churches in other provinces and cities which suffered losses due to natural disasters. For those who need funds to build churches, whether he knows him or not, he will give them a donation. But he is not tempted by money. He has declined to serve in the church many times and did not accept the salary paid by the pastor.
Five years ago, a sister said her husband was seriously ill and needed money for hospitalization and asked him for help to borrow his money. He said without hesitation that he would give her his entire monthly salary of 3,000 RMB to temporarily solve the urgent needs. He affirmed that it was for her and that there was no need to pay it back.
A child of a church worker planned to study theology, but his family was stuck with financial difficulties. After being told the situation, he gave out 1,000 RMB to them and told the child that if he had any difficulties that he shouldn’t hesitate to contact him.
Some co-workers were sick and hospitalized, he usually gave 200-500 yuan when visiting. He also bought spiritual books for co-workers, Bibles for non-believers, and donated money to the disaster-stricken areas responding to the distress call.
2. A sister preacher, with the church as her home
Originally an accountant in an urban company, a sister is now the head of a village church in a ravine. More than ten years ago, when the chairperson of the local CC (Christian Council) told her that the church in her hometown was on the verge of closing because there was no "head sheep", asking her to take charge of the church, she resolutely gave up her job and returned to her hometown.
In order to rebuild the dilapidated church, going back and forth dozens of times, she went to the town and county to apply for and file for the church construction. Sometimes she went to the office of the relevant department every day to help clean up and fetch water and then sat there quietly, without noise or disturbance. Her sincerity finally impressed the leaders of the relevant departments, and the plans for the church building were approved.
Then, after raising funds and finding a construction team, they started building the church. The sister preacher spent more than ten hours a day working on the construction site with the co-workers and the construction team and taking care of the building materials.
In order to build the church, she took loans and borrowed money in her own name. Her mobile phone was turned on 24 hours a day, because sometimes in the middle of the night or early in the morning, she would receive calls from believers for help.
Feeling embarrassed, she told me, “I regard the hard-built church as my home, but I have ignored the things in my ‘home’”. After she had a grandson, she couldn't help her daughter-in-law to take care of the child. However, fortunately, her daughter-in-law also serves in the church now.
The sister preacher, over 60 years old, has already been over the retirement age. Since the church was poor when the new construction began, she took out all her family savings, so she missed the opportunity and didn't pay social insurance or medical insurance. Therefore, she doesn't even have a pension. A company run by her relatives once invited her to work as an accountant with high pay and guaranteed that she could go to church on weekends, but she refused, saying that she could not live without the church.
(The author of this article is a special contributor to the Gospel Times.)
- Translated by Sophia Chen