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Hope in Pain: Believers of Fu'Ning Church Stick to Worship after Calamity

Hope in Pain: Believers of Fu'Ning Church Stick to Worship after Calamity

Dalou Church Dalou Church
ByYi Yang July 06, 2016
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It is not easy to imagine how much power the tornado that hit the area of Fu'ning on June 23 had as it blew away the neatly arranged plastic sheds and homes on the side of the road in ease. 

However, the writer saw how the Tu Qiao Church – which can accommodate 200 people – turn to ruins in an instant because of the tornado. Believers tried to pick out the wooden cross, standing in front of the church ruins and placed it in their temporary shelter and made a small gathering place. 

On June 23, at half past 2 pm in the afternoon, the area of Fu'ning was besieged by a very heavy storm and a tornado later appeared, ravaging the areas of Shuo Ji, Ban hu, Chen Liang, Xin Gou, Jin Cha Lake and the development zones of almost 8 counties. 22 villages have also suffered from the storm and tornado, causing large casualties to be reported and heavy property losses. At least 98 people were killed and 846 people were wounded as of June 27. 

CCD reporter immediately rushed to the disaster area and visit affected churches with some employees from the FuNing of National TSPM.

The damages in the Tu Hong Bridge was so serious that cars cannot get in: people could only enter by walking or using an E-bike. Trucks were also very scarce and only villagers were seen entering the villages to get their things. They all transferred to find new residences with the assistance of government subsidies. Some may have setup temporary tents as their new shelter. On the way to the church, tree trunks were broken and scattered, tiles were littered around the ground, walls were dilapidated and everything was very quiet and desolate. 

On June 29, a few co-workers from the church can't find the wall body. The red benches have changed shape, mixed with the red bricks, iron guardrail, white concrete and yellow wood planks. The benches that could use had been moved to the flank of the shed. It is said that that was the car parking which was fairly solid and only the roof tiles were blown away by the tornado. Parishioners had bought blue plastic to cover the top of the parking and used it as a temporary gathering place. A black and white keyboard piano was also in the corner which was worth 15000 yuan, but now, it is unusable. 

According to a pastor in ChenLiang, in the first Sunday after disaster, he gathered the people in the shed which reached up to 60 believers and he shared the Christian's attitude to overcome the impacts of the disaster. “The Christian faith and love show the truth and false faces in the disaster”, he said, "because the worst-hit brothers and sisters could not help but shed tears and mood is very heavy. There are a lot of loving people such as church workers to assist everyone even if it is very hard.”

He told our reporter that they had gathered in Tu Qiao church. In the beginning, they worshipped in a sister’s home. Although disaster was serious and the believers are homeless, they still worship in the ruined church.

Yin’s brother and his wife was almost killed by the disaster when preaching. On June 23th, as the tornado swept and the wind is too heavy to close windows, they prepared to close the door, the door suddenly fell and the girders of the room fell sideways, forming a narrow space. It then became a couple of shelters and the strong winds blew a little more than two minutes.

"Then the wind got too big to the point that I cannot breathe.” the old sister said, "Lord, you saved us, and we have lost no life." Suddenly she held her hand holding a laced bead from her rosary, eyes filled with tears showing fear, then squatted down sorrow for almost a half a minute of the time. 

When they shared their experiences in disasters, an old brother expressed that God preserved us. When we came out, I told her about Job. He said “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear. But now my eye sees you.” He pointed to a tree and said that they have all broken because of the wind. Recently, the family had lived in a tent and ate boxed lunches as they have lost their home. 

At least nine people were killed and 212 were injured in the disaster in the area, with 200 houses collapsing because of the wind. 

To introduce the situation of the old brothers and to also create a smoother mood, Zhu said that he did not doubt God and further believed in Him. Witnessing the disaster was not something they would have liked to see, but it had showed them that even if the tornadoes were very strong, the church remained strong, it did not have any obvious cracks and remained upright. Outside the church, there were broken homes, very thick trees were broken and even some were even scrapped to different locations. Some believers showed the pain of their loss as they were rendered helpless and homeless, Zhu mirrored it as seen in his red eyes full of tears. 

"The church had no electricity, and they do not have instant noodles or heat blisters. Everything can only be eaten dried, and then drink mineral water." With the Funing  disaster, Sister Cui told the Gospel times about the church workers. Some were send to locate food such as cookies or flat surface so that a lot of people can live in tents temporarily.

Then we went to the backyard where they found the vicinity where the iron guardrail was blow down. The concrete also blown away a few meters away and some parts of the steel bar was bent. The blue steel was lifted from the top of carport and curled up on the ground. Out of the church, I saw an elder still sitting on the side of the road next to a motorbike, table and other items. I remembered entering the church and saw him sitting there smoking a cigarette, breathing deeply with an expressionless look as he watched the passers-by. When I thought about it, this was the disaster area; however, when I went to the church, I saw a lot of followers insisted to gather in the place where they felt safe. This is a testament of faith."

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