Life-Changing Story of Persecuted Pastor, Tribal Family Gathering
By Elsie Hu, May 14, 2017 01:05 AM
At the Tribal Family Gathering in Chiangmai, Thailand on May 4, Pastor Li from mainland China talked about how he made a covenant with the brothers and sisters in the homecoming gathering and how his life changed.
He used the example of silkworms bursting out of their cocoons saying, "I don't want to be caterpillar all my life, I want to change." Li was a very strong person and established many churches at the age of 16. However, he suffered great persecution at the same time. He confessed that although he encouraged believers to "be strong and courageous" during sermons, he had much fear inside. "I drifted away from the Heavenly Father when I was busy with ministries. With the added restrictions of the outer environment, the fear was real."
Li was severely oppressed for a while and both his shepherds and flock left him in fear of being implicated. "Everyone needs love, but when I was lonely, people couldn't get close to me." he recalled, saying that he felt like an orphan at the time.
"Leaders are tough outside but are actually weak inside, so I longed for families to stay by my side. I met a family from this gathering when I was rather desperate," said Li. "Some asked, 'where would this gathering lead us? We don't know.' However, being here is what my heart desires." Once at a gathering in Shenzhen, he was packing up while listening to the message and thought of grabbing his bag and go at the first sign of trouble. It was during that time that Pastor David Demian promised him that if Li was to be persecuted in any way, Demian would bear it with him.
"If you go to prison, I'll go with you; if you are to die, I'll die for you."
"I waited many years for this." Li sobbed several times from the emotion, "No one could say such thing to you." He was always alone in every persecution over the years and he had gotten used to that. However, Pastor Demian's promise made him feel real care from families.
"Pastor Demian made a covenant with us in front of everyone and read a Bible verse, "I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:2) Ever since then, Pastor Demian has been standing with Li in the covenant to suffer with his brother.
"I felt what Naomi felt; that life was bitter. But when I made the covenant with this family, I felt different and my life was changed completely."
Li deeply felt:
"I have a sense of security that I never had before;
I have opened myself up as I never was before;
I have become healthy when I once was hurt;
I have the spirit of a son and not an orphan;
I have become strong from weakness...
walking with the family and homecoming is my top choice. It is not because I became weak or degenerated, but I have shifted from being ministry-oriented to more than relation-oriented. I am life-oriented.
Translated by Grace Hubl
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