Cheng Baixia, an associate pastor of Suzhou Christian Gospel Church in Yongqiao District, Anhui Province, east China, died at the age of 54 at 7:30 AM, Dec. 6, 2017.
She was diagnosed with lung cancer and pancreatic cancer on June 15 this year.
On Dec 8, over 3,000 pastoral workers and local believers attended the funeral. Her body was placed in the pastor's building with an open Bible in front of her portrait. At night, believers volunteered to keep watch over the late pastor.
Cheng was born in the hometown of Chinese calligraphy and painting - Xiaoxian County, Anhui - in April 1964. In 1986, she attended Anhui Theological Seminary and worked as a full-time preacher in Xiaoxian Church after her graduation in 1988.
In 1991, Cheng tied the knot with Pastor Dai Yongsheng, current senior pastor of Gospel Church, and their daughter Dai Duojia was born the next year.
In 1993, the pastor was transferred to Gospel Church. In 1997, she was appointed as deputy director of the Gospel Church and anointed as a pastor one year later. Ever since then, she has been shepherding there.
In light of all her positions, she was also a member of Suzhou's CCC&TSPM (China Christian Council and the Three-self Patriotic Movement Committee) and deputy director of the CCC&TSPM of Yongqiao District.
According to Cheng 's classmate from seminary, she suffered stomachaches even then. "Maybe it was a pancreatic issue," said Pastor Dai. Speaking of this, he warned pastors to pay attention to their health.
"It is a great loss for the church. Pastors contribute the most in their 40s and 50s. When they're young, they explore, study, and struggle. Now they've accumulated much experience and entered a new level in every aspect; however, she left because of health problems," said Dai.
The workers and congregation of the Gospel Church also felt sad, testifying that "Pastor Cheng was a good shepherd, very kind and always smiling..."
"She would ride her only bicycle to visit believers and sometimes she rode several miles," said Li Fengshou, deputy chairman of the city's CCC&TSPM, when talking about the time when Cheng was serving in Xiaoxian Church after she received her calling.
"Pastor Cheng was willing to help anyone in need, Christians or non-Christians."
Moreover, Cheng was a pastor with visions. Pastor Li Fengshui shared, "she had a vision in her prayer to build four branch churches in the city, with the Gospel Church as a center church, in order to radiate small fellowships and develop healthily.
In commemoration of Pastor Cheng, her husband and daughter set up the "Cheng Baixia Theological Education Fund." Its earnings will be used in helping preachers in need. The family won't accept any donations.
-Translated by Grace Hubl