Aan's mother was sentenced to more than ten years in prison on charges of fraud. A few days ago, she was released from prison. On hearing the news, Aan felt very happy!
Originally Aan’s family lived a privileged life and was envied by others, but because of distorted values and an indulgent lifestyle, Aan’s family was ultimately destroyed.
It was late at night more than a decade ago when I got a long-distance phone call. On the other end of the line was a youth who kept on talking but rather incoherently and nervously. I knew it was Aan, a kid who constantly contacted me for answers on Christianity. I had preached the gospel to his parents too, but Aan's father always refused to accept it. Yet his parents weren’t resentful towards Christian faith. It was very hard to preach the gospel to them because they were both teachers so they were both deeply convinced of atheism. Although our beliefs were different and we were located in two cities, our relationship was very good.
I'd always felt I owed them much because whenever I was in need, they would help me generously, and I couldn’t do anything for them as they were very independent. The only thing I could do for them was to mentor their child, Aan, with my Christian faith.
The child was very disciplined and sensible. He was almost the same age as my child, so I treated him as my own.
Listening to Aan on the phone, my intuition told me that he had something to tell me but was hesitant to express it. With my encouragement, he told the truth.
Aan's mother had been arrested. She had lost more than two million Yuan while gambling and then cheated so she could borrow money to pay the debt. Unable to pay her loans she committed fraud with the money!
Early the next morning, my wife and I rushed to Aan's house. I knew there was nothing I could do about it. The only thing I could do was visit them and pray for them.
Things were worse than I thought! After Aan's mother’s arrest, Aan’s father was diagnosed with terminal stage rectal cancer. Money cannot atone neither can it buy health and life. At that time the greatest feeling I got was that peace is truly a blessing!
When I saw Aan's father, I couldn't believe my eyes—he was so skinny and feeble that it appeared the wind would knock him over—I could hardly recognize him.
From talking with Aan, I learnt that his mother’s arrest was a hard blow on his father. The emptiness his father felt had made him give in to lust. After his mother’s sentence, his father started another family with another woman, so Aan and his relatives had little contact with Aan's father. Not until Aan's father got cancer did he inform Aan.
Aan felt bitter towards his father because he found he was living with another woman. In his mind, it was because his father did not love his mother enough that she was arrested. As a result, Aan's relationship with his father was particularly bad, and the father and son often quarrelled.
The richer a family is the more complicated it can be to handle matters. Aan's uncles (his mother’s brothers) often came to see whether Aan's father would divide part of his property with the woman. And the woman refused to leave so she could take care of Aan's father. What could I do as an outsider? I had to pray to our Heavenly Father: "Help me!" They used to be people who had helped me a lot. “Lord your mercy on them is your mercy on me, your child."
To my surprise, the Lord's method of handling matters wasn’t as difficult as I thought.
One night, Aan's uncles, aunts and some others came together to Aan’s house to see his father. Actually, they wanted to see who I was. Everyone sat in the living room chatting. Because they all knew I was a Christian, one of Aan's uncles started to compliment me. Then he asked me what I thought of the improper relationship between men and women in today's society from Christianity’s point of view.
Even a fool could see that this was an attack on Aan's father by borrowing comments from my mouth. Aan's father was lowering his head—he was too weak to speak a word. I felt sorry for him! I really couldn’t bear to see him being judged anymore. Even though I didn’t have the words to answer that question, the Lord reminded me of the account in the Bible of the woman who was caught in adultery.
I told them God hated everything unclean, but God loved more than He hated. So I told them the story of the woman caught in adultery and how she was brought to Jesus to be judged. When I quoted what Jesus said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”, all my listeners from old to young did some self-reflection and one by one they left in silence. Christianity is not about the Law alone, in Christ God has more mercy and love for humanity...
After I finished telling the story, the living room became absolutely quiet. Soon everyone had an excuse to leave.
Aan's father, with tears in his eyes, said to me, "I never thought I’d be relieved from the mental shackles of mine. Now I'm freed." Beyond my expectation, Aan's father immediately accepted the gospel. The more wonderful miracle was Aan's relationship with his father was restored. Aan has been with his father ever since.
Once referring to me, Aan told his father that he thanked God for sending them an angel. In fact, in all things God works for the good of those who love him. I learned a lot from the changes in their family, and it had also changed me.
I lived there for half a month and saw God's mercy and love with my own eyes.
Unfortunately, Aan's father died in the end, but he accepted the gospel and his soul was saved. And my wishes of helping them were fulfilled.
Today, after learning of the return of Aan's mother, I recalled this past experience. I adapted the story into a gospel novel of mine, but I have never shared this true testimony. Now, I share this story with you and my prayer is that my fellow believers will treat our faith with the right attitude. Without God's love, fame and status are clouds. Only peace is the greatest blessing in life! And the peace of God for us is eternal. Not anyone or anything can take it away from us.
- Translated by Charlie Li