On June 7, 2020, the Hangzhou Chengbei Church was finally reopened after being closed for four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In more than four months of online pastoral care, the elderly brothers and sisters had the most difficulty in adjusting. They do not have or can’t use smartphones, and can’t receive Sunday information online like young people. So they were very eager to come to the church to worship with brothers and sisters and listen to the Word of God. They would come to the church from time to time to ask, when will the church reopen?" a pastor shared in the sermon.
At 6 o'clock in the morning, the older brothers and sisters who had made reservations in advance entered the church one after another. The hospitality staff helped them find their respective seats according to the reservation number in their hands.
They all sat in their assigned seats. Some concentrated on reading the Bible, and some bowed their heads to pray silently. Some sat for a while, stood up, solemnly walked to the offering box, and put the offering that they had prepared in advance into the box.
An elder sister in her 80s was slightly hunched-back and couldn’t walk well. She got up from her seat. Without taking two steps, she began to sway and fell back two steps. Another sister and I hurried forward to support her. She smiled, took out three thick rolls of hundred-yuan banknotes bound with rubber bands from her pocket. She walked to the offering box, and dropped them in.
In a flash, I was moved. I was ashamed of myself. I hadn’t been to the church in more than four months, but the elderly sister must have prepared her offerings and brought them all.
I saw this old sister at every first Sunday service since I began serving in the Chengbei Church. Every time, her 40-year-old daughter accompanied her. The daughter appeared to have a disability and couldn’t speak clearly, but she often brought her mother to the gatherings. Therefore, the mother and daughter left a deep impression on me.
Whenever the elder sister came to the church, she never whispered and talked to the people in front and back but always sat in the seat and silently bowed her head to pray and concentrated on worship. There was half an hour of worship and praise time before each gathering. In the half-hour of worship and praise, the old sister stood and praised God. She hunched her back slightly, put her hands on the backrest of the chair in front of her, and stood for half an hour without sitting. I was deeply moved by the elderly sister's attitude to worship.
-Translated by Abigail Wu