Revisiting Zealous Elder in North China

The picture of Elder Zheng Fengying (first from the right)
The picture of Elder Zheng Fengying (first from the right)
By Zhang XiaohuaFebruary 22nd, 2024

Elder Zheng Fengying, aged over eighty, with silver hair and a vibrant spirit, is a kind and amiable figure in Shanxi Province.

Born into a Christian family in Henan, Elder Zheng learned numerous gospel songs from her mother, who was a pastor. These songs later became effective tools in her evangelistic efforts. At the age of 18, after completing junior high school, she came to Shanxi with her uncle, who left her alone unexpectedly in an unfamiliar village, Yaodu District, Linfen, similar to Joseph being sold. Then, she got married, facing a stern mother-in-law even in a foreign land. In moments of helplessness, sadness, and sorrow, she found strength only through reading the Bible and prayer. She never anticipated that God had brought her here with trust and a mission.

During her spare time from working on the farm production team, she shared Jesus with others and sang gospel hymns, sparking great interest. Gradually, more and more people gathered at her home every evening to hear stories about Jesus.

Later, she started evangelism in the mountains, and miraculously, people were willing to believe after her preaching. Sometimes, a large group followed her wherever she went. She captivated people, traveling during the day and continuing to preach by oil lamp at night. The elderly lady reminisces about the fervor of evangelism in those years, which still excites her.

With no vehicles, she climbed using tree branches and weeds, as the mountain roads were treacherous. Despite facing many hardships, she experienced many miracles. Encountering a wolf that was howling and terrifying, she fervently prayed to God, who kept her safe. On one occasion, she found a donkey on the road and rode it. When the donkey fell on a steep slope, she miraculously stood safely on flat ground. Sometimes, sudden downpours drenched her, and with nowhere to hide, she continued walking after drying her clothes on the altar of a small temple.

Her method of spreading the gospel was to share a passage from the Bible and sing a spiritual song. The songs were well-received by rural folks, as some were folk tunes and some were adapted from Western music. Upon entering a household and seeing varied idolatrous figures like mud sculptures, wooden carvings, and the kitchen God, the God of wealth, and the God of doors painted on paper, she would sing the "False God Song" and then the "True God Song," urging people to abandon idols and turn to the living God.

In each new place, she would set up meeting points with guidance from relatives, and many of today's local activity sites are the fruits of her efforts. She also nurtured enthusiastic believers seeking spiritual growth, many of whom have become church leaders or key figures in evangelistic activities.

Over the course of two to three decades, Elder Zheng's footprint covered over 200 villages in more than ten counties. It only ceased when she suffered a spinal injury, which shifted her focus to church construction. Now, Xiyi Village Church, where she serves, has become the second-largest church in Yaodu District, aside from the urban church, accommodating over 1000 people.

In her old age and declining health, she voluntarily resides in the church, overseeing its interactions. Receiving believers every day, she serves behind the scene in God's house as always.

(The Gospel Times was the original publication of the article.)

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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