In charge of a joint choir of more than 50 people from several pastoral areas, Qu is a deacon of a church in Shanxi Province, and he earned the sobriquet "Leader Qu."
Named Qu Guoping, he is 68 years old and currently serves the Jinzhang Church in the fifth pastoral district of Hexi, under Linfen Yaodu District Church.
He has lived in the countryside at the foot of the mountain since he was a child. He used to push a wheelbarrow filled with coal to sell in the city, a round trip of over 15 kilometers. Although he can only earn three yuan, the little Qu was happy to subsidize the family's income, from which he has developed a hard-working and endurance character.
Qu’s faith in the Lord began when he was thirty years old, in the early 1980s. It was his wife who believed in the Lord first. Later, their son became disabled in the legs, so he went to Xiyi Church after his wife to attend services, hoping to get healing. He also sat in on the village’s Wednesday prayer meeting afterward. Qu's heart gradually changed as a result of the Lord, even though he continued to smoke and drink.
Once at work, a rock fell on his back accidentally, which made him fall six to seven meters away. It turned out to be just a small scratch on the back after being sent to the hospital. He affirmed it was a miraculous protection from God and bore witness to the Lord.
After healing from the incident, Qu continued going to church with his wife. At Christmas in the 1990s, he drew the verse from Revelation 3:21, “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne.” Greatly moving and comforting him, this verse became the motivation for his devotion, and he started his journey of ministry.
Once available, he would preach the gospel in some villages in nearby mountainous areas, following elders in Xiyi Church. Among the steep mountain ridges, they had to climb the mountains and cross the rivers most of the time. Even heavy rains, winds, and snow couldn’t stop the joy in their hearts. In every village they set foot in, the gospel was preached and testified.
He would work as a part-time hard laborer to make a living after every few-day preaching trip. Qu was content, though preaching the gospel not only earned zero but also required prices. Their efforts in preaching were effective, usually with every person in a small village believing in the Lord after a meeting. He also learned to serve under the leadership of an elderly pastor.
Later, Qu paid 5,000 yuan for a closed factory in the village, which he spent another 30,000 yuan to rebuild as a chapel. At that time, the number of believers nearby reached 70 to 80 more.
He lived beside the chapel as a watchman, day and night. In Qu’s thought, watching over the church is not as simple as guarding against theft. Spiritual guards need to be alert at all times and fight spiritual warfare. At that time, quite a few pastors left because of harassment from the cult “Eastern Lightning” and temptations from other private meeting points. Some of their leaders lobbied, offered inducements, and even threatened him many times, but he remained unmoved. Qu and his wife prayed every day, and he remembered God’s promise through scripture many years ago to give him victory in trials. He also strengthened the faith of the congregants with God’s words. There are still 30 to 40 people during daily worship.
Subsequently, he reached out to the district CC&TSPM, asking for help. He was appointed as a deacon, assisting in the work of the fifth pastoral district.
Preaching in the Luliang Mountains is not convenient for pastoral volunteers due to its remote location. Qu takes the yoke and goes to the mountain for every worship service to evangelize and preach sermons. In recent years, people in the mountains tend to move into the city, leaving only the elderly, weak, sick, and disabled. He is concerned about how to pastor these believers and has also made many suggestions to the church to initiate trainings on evangelism and staff work.
Within the church, in addition to being in charge of Jinzhang Church and assisting the fifth pastoral district, Qu is also responsible for the joint choir. Outside the church, he even has to take care of believers’ weddings and funerals besides daily preaching, communication, visiting, and serving. He is very happy, despite being tired. He said, "While I still have physical strength, I must run with all my heart for the Lord in order to revive the church and save more souls. This is my greatest wish."
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times and the author reported in Linfen, Shanxi.)
- Translated by Poppy Chan