Pastor Shen experienced sudden paralysis overnight at the age of 21. When doctors were unable to provide a cure and even expressed doubt that he would ever wake up again, his family sought the assistance of a local healer. However, miraculously, Shen regained movement the following morning. Within three days, he was able to descend the stairs and purchase breakfast. This remarkable event marked the beginning of his challenging journey of ministry.
Pastor Shen, now 63 years old, is a native of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. At the age of 21, he fell critically ill, and despite exhaustive efforts, doctors were unable to diagnose his condition. Even bone marrow extraction proved futile.
Several elderly believers prayed for Shen, saying, "God, this child is sick. Please heal him." Remarkably, following a brief prayer, Shen awakened at eight o'clock that day.
Soon after his recovery, Shen commenced preaching at the church. Despite considering himself barely literate, he received positive feedback from the congregation about the quality of his sermons.
Shen arrived at the church and began preaching the second week after he was healed. He said, "I'm almost illiterate, but the believers said that my preaching is quite good."
While holding a job, Pastor Shen actively engaged in church activities. In his youth, he faced illness and incurred debt due to wedding expenses. Initially employed as a decorator, he later transitioned to selling clothes. However, his commitment to service often resulted in delays in his decorating work, leading to a decline in job offers. Consequently, Shen made a vow to God, promising to work for two years to repay his debts before dedicating himself fully to the ministry.
Unfortunately, he lost all his money during the first year of his business venture. The second year proved equally challenging, with frequent hospitalizations in various provinces and cities.
Subsequently, due to possession of a Chinese and English Bible marked with the blue seal of the "Taipei Christian Church," Shen was wrongfully imprisoned as a spy.
At the time of his imprisonment, Shen's son was merely two years old. He prayed to God, "God, please let me out. I would continue preaching, and I'm going to stop doing business." Astonishingly, three days later, he was set free.
Vowing to abstain from preaching any further
Shen entrusted the care of his two-year-old son to his fellow believers. Consequently, Shen and his wife embarked on separate paths of service throughout China. Each time they returned to visit their son, he clung to their legs, unwilling to let them depart. As a result, Shen's wife opted to remain with their son, securing employment to support their family, while Shen continued to preach independently.
Consequently, the couple lived apart for an extended period, which strained their marriage. Determined to reconcile with his wife, Shen eventually left the ministry after four additional years of service. Unfortunately, they ultimately divorced when their son reached the age of 13. At that point, Shen pledged to renounce preaching, believing that God had failed to protect his family. Instead, Shen resolved to earn money to support other preachers.
"Come back to me, and I will heal your wife"
He started to do business again and made some money. Then he contracted for five acres of land at a low price, and he decided to support two preachers with the money he earned. But in two years, he lost one hundred thousand yuan and got no harvest from whatever he planted. Uncle Mao, an elder who often helped the church Shen was working in, advised him to continue to serve, just as Elisha, who was called by the Lord, got to serve when he was working in the field.
Resuming his business activities, he accumulated some wealth. He then secured a contract for five acres of land at a low price, intending to support two preachers with the proceeds. Nevertheless, over the course of two years, he suffered losses amounting to one hundred thousand yuan, with no harvest to show for his efforts. Elder Uncle Mao, a frequent supporter of the church where Shen ministered, encouraged him to continue his service, drawing a parallel to the biblical figure Elisha, who was called by the Lord while working in the field.
Then Shen beseeched God in prayer, saying, "If it is indeed Your will for me to return to Your service, please resolve my thirty-year land contract and the debt of one hundred thousand yuan. Only then will I be convinced of Your true calling." Three days after his prayer, a brother entered into a contract to purchase Shen's land at a rate of approximately three thousand yuan per acre, completely settling his debt. However, attributing it to mere coincidence, Shen proceeded to Jiangxi to secure a land contract for 165 acres, intended to support ten preachers.
After two years, a destructive tornado ravaged all of his crops, plunging him back into debt. Upon learning of this plight, Uncle Mao arranged for an interest-free loan of three hundred thousand yuan on Shen's behalf. Shen's only responsibility was to complete the necessary paperwork. However, during this time, his second wife fell gravely ill, enduring a high fever for over ten days. Regrettably, hospitals refused to provide treatment, as the doctors deemed her condition beyond their capabilities. Shen turned to God once more in prayer, receiving a divine response, "Return to Me, and I shall heal your wife." Consequently, he terminated his land contract and sold his family's provisions to fellow believers at reduced prices. Astonishingly, his wife's fever subsided, and her pain vanished.
Following his wife's recovery, Shen journeyed to Jiangxi with his four-month-old daughter to resume his ministry. News of his story reached a Christian businessman, who generously rented a home for Shen's family, covered the child's educational expenses, and provided a monthly living allowance of 2,000 yuan. From that moment onward, Pastor Shen wholeheartedly dedicated himself to his calling.
With over ten years of missionary experience, including more than five years of service in Northeast China, Pastor Shen pondered his own experiences and questioned, "Why must I endure such trials?" Through the example of his own failed marriage, he aided numerous families in preserving their unions. He openly confessed, "Failure itself is not the true adversity; rather, the true adversity lies in one's inability to rise again after failure."
- Translated by Nicolas Cao