Testimony of a Rural Female Preacher: Understanding God's Will Through Suffering
By Elsie Hu, November 07, 2017 09:11 AM
Job, the epitome of suffering in the Bible because of Satan's attacks, became closer to God after going through trials and God blessed him double what he had lost.
Therefore, many preachers like to say "Suffering is a blessing in disguise."
Sister M has also gone through various hardships in life. She used to be rebellious and departed from God, but eventually repented and stayed close to God.
The following is Sister M's testimony:
I learned about Jesus Christ when I was little because my grandfather was a devoted Christian. Even though I knew the hymns, I didn't believe completely, let alone attend church. My interest in the faith became weaker when I started going to school.
My grandfather hoped I could be a Christian, so he prayed for me over the years. My little sister soon accepted Christ under his influence and started joining the choir. However, I still couldn't understand.
When I got married, there were many Christians in my husband's village, including his grandmother. Somehow, there was always something off with me that I was not as good as others. I had very low self-esteem. My husband kept getting into trouble and it upset me even more. Though my mother visited sometimes, she couldn't really help me, so she suggested that I "believe in Jesus."
I felt like I had someone on my side since my sister-in-law didn't believe either, even though her grandfather believed. But it didn't last long. One day she told me she believed in Jesus too. I couldn't believe it. I used to wonder why she was so joyful working in the field, singing songs. Faith never crossed my mind.
It was the same year that many strange things happened in my family. My husband kept having motorcycle accidents. After several incidents I decided to attend church with the believers to keep my family safe.
Illegal business going on in the village
My faith journey was slow, but God never gave up on me. He arranged the right person to help me-my old neighbor sister. She was so passionate that she cared about God's family more than her own. she guided me and encouraged me.
Prior to my conversion, it was mostly senior believers in my village. Over the years, there were more middle-aged believers like me. Almost all of the 40 households believed in Jesus. There were more young believers in the church, and it was magnificent seeing everyone singing praises, old and young.
At the time, the church was greatly blessed and the brothers and sisters attended church everyday. However, the village had its dark side. Many sisters' husbands were involved in illegal business, including my husband. I tried to stop him but failed. As the time went, I didn't think it was a bad idea.
Though I claimed to be a Christian with my son and daughter attending Sunday school and singing in the choir, I never set any rules for my husband and myself. I just didn't fully understand what "the faith" is.
Building the new house was my U-turn to God
In 2000, when my husband was caught in prison for long-term illegal business, the heavy family burden fell on me. I thought to myself: should I take over my husband's business?
Learning my thought, a sister from our church came to me, saying "we can't do things that doesn't please God; otherwise, God will discipline us with many things.' Then someone in the village approached me about this job. I struggled. As soon as I got home, I knelt down in my room and prayed to God for His direction. He told me "not to follow my own evil desires." That night, I dreamt about policemen holding guns on those people. I turned them down the next day and felt light and settled like never felt before.
Soon after that, they were arrested.
My next challenge was building a house with only 10,000 yuan (approx. $1,500) on hand. My children grew up and we need a new house. Once again, I prayed to God for His help. That night, I had a strange dream where I was lying on the ground and two sisters came over and said "Reach out and let me pull you up." However, I didn't want to.
This might be a vision from God to ask for brothers and sisters for help. And the two sisters did lend me the money.
The house was successfully built. During the construction, my mother-in-law suffered from cerebral thrombosis, which needed special care. My hands were so full with my husband in prison and two children to take care of that I couldn't participate in the construction. However, God was there for me. Nothing went missing from the building materials along the road and our neighbors helped take care of guests.
I still wasn't that close to God even after a series of difficulties. I learned to take a U-turn to God and an idea started growing inside of me: do not rely on yourself, but seek help from God.
My daughter was addicted to weight loss drugs and divorced
My daughter had been taking weight loss drugs for ten years. I thought it was like an addiction. She kept taking them despite the fact that she was already very bony. She spent all her money purchasing these drugs and sometimes she took money from home for them.
Seeing me take care of two children on my own, people in the church suggested I find my daughter a husband. I prayed to God to prepare a brother that was right for her.
My thought back then was to marry her off, but the rest of our family were against the idea, saying a hasty marriage wouldn't be happy. I felt in between. I kept praying to God for an answer, only at the time I couldn't tell what God's will was. Later, a villager introduced a date for my daughter, a excellent young man whose family were Christians too.
The other family promptly agreed to the marriage. However, my daughter's condition worsened after they were married. After a while, they divorced. I didn't set her up for anymore dates for three years while she was back living with me. I even turned down some matchmakers because I was afraid her "addiction" might be a scourge for the other family.
Over the years while my daughter lived with us, she remained oblivious all the time. She cried for those drugs. When she was denied, she stole items from our home to sell in order to stay skinny. I prayed for her everyday, hoping God would cure her.
My son was in a severe car accident and my daughter remarried
Before long, someone else set up a date for my daughter. She agreed. Her fiancée's family sent 20,000 yuan as a betrothal gift, but it was all used in my son's car accident. My son bought a car and drove home from where he worked. He had a car accident on his way to a friend's and it caused two adults to be severely injured and killed a child.
Bad things come in threes. My daughter suddenly said she didn't want to get married when the big day was just around the corner. I didn't know what to do, neither did I have someone to rely on or talk to. After a good cry, I believed that what God prepared for me was all good and He would help me overcome difficulties. Life couldn't be all bitter.
I fasted for 14 days in search of a breakthrough in my family. Turned out it was not as hard as I thought. I was actually joyful, singing hymns and praying with peace and hope. One day, my daughter told me she agreed to the marriage.
I always wonder how our family ended up like this: my husband is in prison, my son in detention, and my daughter with this strange disease. Even my devoted daughter became angry at God after the accident, questioning "Why has Jesus deserted us?"
There were some rumors going on about my family because of all these situations. Some idol worshippers even came to me and said: "Look, these things happened because you had to believe that Jesus and not my god."
I didn't really care, but when I felt helpless in the mess, all I could do was to cry before God and seek His help.
God brought our family back on track
Recalling those years, it was indeed the most difficult time for me. However, no matter how bad the circumstance was or how people judged me, I firmly believed in "Relying on God and seeking His help."
Gradually, God did open a way for me. My daughter was healed of her addiction by God's grace. Though her husband's family doesn't believe in God, they're very nice people. They slowly warmed her heart so she could change little by little. She even gave birth to a beautiful girl.
My son also returned home on parole and I tried my best to make amends with the victims' family, even when it was beyond my ability.
My son's accident brought enormous financial burden to our family. The villagers call me a jinx that can no longer get back up. But God gave me grace and I got back up because of him. I worked as a maternity matron for four years to pay the debt. God also took this opportunity to show me what I lacked in human nature. He helped me through all the babies I took care of to shape my personality so that I would become more humble, soft, and loving, more qualified for the job. And there was no compliant about me.
Furthermore, I used to have a slipped disc. My whole body was so crooked that I couldn't stand half an hour leading the worship. People declared that my back couldn't heal, but God made a miracle. Now my back is straight and I have more strength to work than younger people.
-Translated by Grace Hubl
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