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Elder Yan Guiying’s Story of Serving God

Elder Yan Guiying’s Story of Serving God

The elderly fellowship of Yaodu District Church in Linfen, China's northern Shanxi Province The elderly fellowship of Yaodu District Church in Linfen, China's northern Shanxi Province(Zhang Xiaohua)
ByZhang Xiaohua December 03, 2020
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A few days ago, Elder Yan Guiying, the head of the sixth pastoral district in Yaodu District, Linfen City, Shanxi, shared the gospel with a disabled person and his mother in the hospital ward. Though she was always in good health, the doctor diagnosed her with a mild cerebral infarction, experienced the year before last, so she had to be hospitalized every year.

"You see that God is really gracious to me, as I also can work for God in the hospital. In addition to praying with a few sisters these days, I debated with a person influenced by a cult, and defended the truth with believers who know little about the Bible. Now, I found a disabled person and his mother, so I shared the gospel with them. We can see that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him."

After years of the vicissitudes of life, Elder Yan was immersed in the memories of her own faith and service.

She was a native of Hongdao Village, in Zhentou Township, Yaodu District, which was located in the foothills of the Lvliang Mountains. Suffering hardship as a child, she only studied in primary school for two years. Her mother died when she was 15, and within a year, two younger brothers and her grandmother died. So she developed a stubborn character because of growing up in a difficult environment.

Her father was one of the first village government cadres in the Zhentou Management District, so she worked in the village since she was a child. When she was grown up, she led women to smelt steel. And once she carried the ground grains on her back and walked for a day to build a reservoir 80 miles away in Guoxing Village.

After getting married, the life of her family improved. But her physical condition was getting worse and worse, and she felt uncomfortable all over her body. The doctor diagnosed her with hepatitis, heart disease, a gastric ulcer and other diseases, which caused her pain.

At this time, her younger sister, Jin Ping, came to visit her and said that she had a lot of hair loss in the first month of the past year. But when the Sunday service was held in the church, she went to listen to the sermon and believed in Jesus, and then she never lost her hair after that. She encouraged Elder Yan  to go to church and believe in Jesus.

"If there is a god who can cure my diseases, I just try to believe it." So she began to pray to God with her sister, asking God to heal her diseases.

A few days later, Elder Zheng Fengying and a sister from Xiyi Church came to preach at the Yuanshang gathering point. During prayer, the Holy Spirit reminded Elder Yan that there were false gods in her house, such as the kitchen king and door god which must be completely eliminated. After the service, she came back home with the elders to get rid of all the idols. She also prayed earnestly and confessed her sins, and she received unprecedented joy and peace from God.

After believing in the Lord, although she couldn’t read much, she also tried hard to read the Bible. And she saw God perform miracles with her own eyes.

When her eldest grandson was one year old, he got a strange disease. At home, he was ill, but he was not uncomfortable and they could not find any problem in hospital. The family also burned incense and kowtowed to false gods, but these didn't work. Later he received a miraculous cure because of her belief in Jesus, and she determined to dedicate him to God.

Another year, her young granddaughter accidentally got a bean stuck in her throat while eating. She choked and her face became red because she couldn’t breathe properly. She and her family knelt down to pray, and later took the child to the city, but the hospital was closed. She went to the church to ask elder Fan Huizhen to pray when the child was almost out of breath. And after praying together, they felt safe. In the evening, they went to Shansheng Hospital and asked Elder Cheng Shuen, who was on duty at the church, to pray for her. Then Elder Cheng asked the sister of the church who worked in the district hospital to find a doctor in the hospital. The doctor looked at her overnight and said that if she could be saved before midnight, she would live, otherwise she would die. So she and the sisters of the church earnestly prayed to God with tears, and He really answered the prayer. In the second half of the night, the child recovered wonderfully. The doctor asserted that there might be further complications, but the child was completely cured. Later, she was admitted to the law department of the provincial capital university. Another child had the same experience, but she never recovered and remained in a vegetative state. The whole family praised the real and living God.

With a grateful heart, she determined to serve God. Soon after her baptism, she signed up for a month-long training class for pastors in Xiyi Church in Linfen. First working in the kitchen of church, she later spent spare time auditing courses and studied the Bible day and night. Later, she was so familiar with the Bible that she could quickly find scriptures. The other pastoral co-workers were surprised and asked why she was so familiar with the Bible, she said with a modest smile that it was God who helped her to memorize.

After the training, she was asked by the church to give a sermon. Although she had participated in the training, she didn't know how to preach. Sometimes when she set off in the morning, she still didn't know what to share that day. So on the way to the church, she sang hymns and prayed to God. In the service, the words she shared were exactly what everyone needed. So she praised God for his wonderful work.

For more than ten years, she and others from the church have walked around the nearby villages, often serving and sharing the gospel, and successively established gathering places in Zhentou, Cao Village, Majiazhuang, Hetaojian, Maijiao, Dianerao, Shanggeduo and Zhangwayao. In some small mountain villages, the whole village believed through the work of Holy Spirit. There were two meeting points in a village, together they couldn’t hold 300 believers.

The believers gathered at her house, but it was small, so she planned to build a chapel. She dedicated her cattle pen as a foundation for the building. Later, the cattle tied outside were stolen, but she didn't complain and care, and started the construction with the 8,000 yuan donated by the believers. Because they didn’t have wood to make benches, she asked the workers to cut down the trees in her yard. A carpenter from Shandong province felt the great love of Christ during his work, and later believed in Jesus. He didn’t accept payment and regarded his work for the church his gift to God.

Every time after the service, she dedicated the food and vegetables from her field and let everyone eat and drink. She did this for many years. She also felt that the more she gave, the more God blessed her, and the food she harvested every year could not be eaten up. "In the Bible, it is said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. God has never let me lack anything. The more I give up, the more blessings I get."

After years of continued service, she built churches in the Lvliang Mountains and served with a full heart. She enjoyed preaching sermons, shepherding and visiting the believers. She knew the situation about each local church and set a solid foundation for the faith of the believers.

She was ordained as a deacon and later as an elder in 2009 by the church. She also served as the head of the sixth pastoral district and a member of the Standing Committee of the district CC&TSPM. She prayed for many of the church members every day and was concerned with their spiritual life. It was because of her and her colleagues' persistent prayer that the believers in the Six Pastoral Area have a pure faith and a growing spiritual life and can resist various cults.

(The article is originally published by Gospel Times.)

Translated by Abigail Wu

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