Pastor in Poor Rural Country: Honored to be Used by God

A local preacher Sister Wang preaches sermons for consecutive 42 days with a little subsidy in Henan, July 2016.
A local preacher Sister Wang preaches sermons for consecutive 42 days with a little subsidy in Henan, July 2016. (photo: Photo Provided to CCD)

Sister Feng is one of a few seminary graduates living in the Lüliang Mountain region of the northern Chinese Province of Shanxi.

Serving in a rural church that faces financial difficulties due to limited offerings, she receives several hundred yuan every month but is still determined to work for the Lord.

Her elderly sister and mother accepted Jesus before her. Afterward, her faith started from an article about science and faith that sounded reasonable to her. 

Since then, she gradually felt there seemed to be a ruler of the universe, but knew nothing about who He is and had doubts of believing in Him. 

She was caught between a rock and a hard place: should she believe in Jesus Christ as the Lord?

If she chose to not believe him, the past years actually revealed the existence of a true God, but there was no convincing evidence.

Running a small business, she encountered difficulties. Then she prayed for the first time in her life: “The Lord whom my mother believes in, I don’t know whether you exist or not. If you do, I’m willing to have faith in you, but I do need proof. Please let me at least feel you are the true and living God.”

God answered her prayer, but she didn’t immediately have faith. Another prayer that she prayed in a hard situation was also fulfilled, but she thought it was an accident.

When she was the most upset, God chose her through an article in Tianfeng, a magazine of the Three-Self church in China. It took her eight years to become a Christian.

After praying to follow Christ, she dedicated her life to the Lord and studied theology to become a pastor.

She was stunned at the admission information from Yanjing Theological Seminary. The seminary required Christians to have a high school degree or above and be a Christian for at least one year.

However, the poorly-educated woman had just graduated from middle school, wasting time at that time. Moreover, she had only recently become a Christian, never having read through the Bible. She was in pain again.

Her mother and sister encouraged her with intercessory prayers. Eventually, she decided to take the exam to enter high school, which she took three times. Feng returned to the junior class at her previous middle school.

In 2000, she enrolled in Yanjing Seminary. Her dream came true, which she and her family were very grateful for. 

Imagine God’s trials fell upon her in the early days of college. She was convinced that she would be used in an important way by God. The two years of preparing for seminary enrollment showed that there was always a way for those who helped themselves. But her shallow spirituality blinded her to know what it meant to rely upon God.

She needed to study 11 courses, but she had difficulties in every course.

She tried her best, but the performance turned out to be just qualified (actually her teachers gave her extra credit out of sympathy). She had a poor English foundation, failed to acquire computer skills, and didn’t understand stave. Required books on the Bible seemed Greek to her.

The courses were not easy for other classmates, but each of them was good at one subject. Despair crept into her heart.

Again, another dilemma appeared. Should she quit school or continue even though she was academically incapable of doing the work? She questioned why the true and living God didn’t help her. When she thought of suicide, she didn’t dare to kill herself for the terrible result of suicide. In a prayer, she felt again the presence of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

One Sunday evening when her first year at college was about to end, she prayed to God after not reading the Bible nor praying for six months. She cried out to God, “Lord, I can’t hold on anymore. I’ve no idea how many days I could continue to study or live. Do with that what you will! Arrange for me to do something I can do!” Then peace and joy brought by the Spirit filled her. She couldn’t help but repeating words from Job: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”

It was God’s will that she learned to be humble and depend on him. Thanks to God’s guidance, she completed all the courses for her graduation.

After graduation, she returned to her home county. Her work included preaching, teaching how to sing hymns, and organizing retreats. She often drives a motorcycle to preach in other rural gathering points. Having seen some believers suffer from sickness without enough treatment, she learned massage. As the churches were uniting and the congregations grew spiritually, she was comforted. 

In her forties, she strives hard to please from God. 

- Translated by Karen Luo

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