Church Helps Family Abandoned by Relatives and Villagers

By Josiah Li, August 04, 2017 07:08 AM

The church in Ningqiang County

A nursing home.

Brother Cao Manfa, who lived in a village of Ningqiang County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi, was rejected by his relatives and villagers in his final days. However, the church in his county was a great help to his family. At his death, Cao entrusted his deaf wife to the church leader, Elder Zhou Xiuqin.

Cao, a live-in son-in-law, and his wife who can't communicate well because of a hearing impairment, were farmers in the village. In 2010 their son Xiao Cao, a college graduate, rented an apartment for them in the county town and Cao was introduced to the county's church. He sometimes brought some of his fresh produce, such as pumpkins, to the church.

Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with bile duct carcinoma and had surgery in May 2015. The cancer was back on October 8, 2016 and immediately his son asked for leave from his job in Zhejiang to take care of him. The doctor claimed that his disease was incurable, so he had to be discharged from the hospital on Oct. 24. Xiao Cao took his father back to the country they had left six years before. unfortunately, two of their three houses had collapsed. Elder Zhou led the congregation to clean the only surviving house.  Four days later, Xiao Cao's mother fell to the ground, resulting in a cerebral hemorrhage. Xiao Cao took care of the father and the believers looked after his mother in turns.

In his final moments, Cao entrusted his wife to Elder Zhou repeatedly and advised his son to believe in the Lord. He died twenty days after being released from the hospital.

There were rumors in the village that Cao suffered from leprosy in his dying days and after his death, so nobody dared to care for him or even help arrange the funeral. His body had turned yellow and scrawny due to cancer. Worrying that believers may feel scared at seeing his body, Elder Zhou only allowed some church workers to assist in the last rites.

The person who was supposed to put Cao in the coffin fled halfway to the home after hearing the rumor. Only five or six relatives attended his funeral and no villagers showed up. There weren't even enough people to carry the coffin, Cao was buried merely 400 meters from his house. Some villagers opposed that since he was buried so close to his residence.

Nonetheless, the church added a different atmosphere to the desolate funeral. More than 60 believers gathered for the funeral from the county seat and sent flower baskets and a band performed. An elder shared a message about death and the church collected a fund of over 3,000 yuan for the family.

After the funeral, Xiao Cao went to the hospital to care for his mother. A Christian named Zheng Shuming, whose daughter with diabetes was in the same inpatient building, and his relatives often brought meals to Xiao Cao and his mother when they visited the daughter. Xiao Cao was moved by their kind deed. Since Zheng shares the same family experience, he also chatted with Xiao Cao, comforting him a lot. After Xiao Cao's mother was released, the church found a nursing home for her and also visited her.

Back in the workplace, Xiao Cao kept in contact with Brother Zheng who visited his mother from time to time and told him her situation.

"I'm deeply struck by the church's love. It touches me a lot." Xiao Cao said that he goes to church if he is able.  The church's help moved a brother who has been a Christian for one year as well. He said, "The issue showed me the church's love and strengthened my confidence in walking in the faith."

Started by five or six believers in 2007, the church in Ningqiang County has a regular attendance of around 200, owning its church building which was dedicated in 2014. It has been committed to social service and a caring ministry, including visiting believers, nursing homes, orphanages, and patients in the hospital.  

-Translated by Karen Luo

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