More than twenty years ago, five people gathered on a heatable brick bed, which planted a seed for a future church.
On the last Sunday of May, a church in Anshan, Liaoning, held a worship service. Upon arriving early at the church in Ganquan Village, Qianshan District, the attendants went about ensuring that anti-pandemic measures were followed, including scanning the believers’ health codes, taking their temperatures, registering, and guiding them to sit one seat apart.
During the service, based on the first chapter of Samuel, Elder Gao Wenxia gave a sermon titled Hannah's Inner Life and Outer Exposure, in which she shared the story of the great mother, telling the congregation to follow her to please God.
Pastor Wang Xiuping, who graduated from the secondary school of Northeast Theological Seminary and is now continuing his advanced studies in the seminary, spoke about the history of the church, which originated from a private house.
Ganquan Village Church derives its name from the village "ganquan", which means "precious waters", according to Deuteronomy 33:13.
More than two decades ago, five persons gathered on the heatable brick bed (kang) in her home with the support of Wang's parents-in-law and husband. In the spring of 1995, they moved to a sister’s house with four rooms. Twenty Christians started to read the Bible, pray, and praise on the kang beds also.
Later, they rented a temporary house for worshipping God, as the number of believers increased. As the house was in disrepair and on the verge of collapse, out of consideration for their safety, another mobile house was built in 2006, which lasted six years.
They began to prepare for a church building, as the activity site could not accommodate so many people.
After praying for two months, they received support and help from church members in Haicheng City and Anshan City. With nearly 800,000 yuan provided by God in time, they purchased an idle workshop, which became present-day Ganquan Church after decoration.
There are now theological students serving as full-time pastors, and six or seven part-time ones, up from the original situation in which there was none.
Starting from several rooms with kang beds, the church now covers a floor area of 260 square meters (0.0642 acres) and a construction area of 900 square meters (0.222 acres).
The church divides the Ganquan Town into five districts of the east, west, north, south, and middle, which are led by the director and deputy director to form cell groups.
Besides gathering, Pastor Wang leads the congregation and fellow workers in participating in community charity activities.
Once, in a village in Haicheng City where an activity site was located, more than 100 villagers suffered floods from the dyke breach while still in their sleep in an early winter morning; more than 50 people were injured, including some staff workers. She decided to visit the affected ones to show sympathy, buying underwear, velvet pants, quilted jackets, cotton trousers, and socks for them, with more than 3,000 yuan donated in cash.
In addition, joining with fellow workers from other activity sites to assist 51 children in a disaster-stricken elementary school, they bought cotton-padded clothes, cotton trousers and gloves, as well as notebooks, stationery boxes, and school bags to replace the ones which were damaged by the flood, donating more than 6000 yuan.
In 2008, in the devastating earthquake in Wenchuan, Sichuan, the believers from Ganquan Church and other sites contributed 5,000 yuan to the disaster-stricken area.
A few years ago, they also helped a believer’s daughter who was attending high school and suffering from leukemia. The family was prepared to give up because there was no money for treatment. But they cared about the sick child and sent her cash. Two days before the child's college entrance examination, his mother died suddenly. They supported the child who was studying in a boarding high school to let her finish the exam and later sent her to Peking University, paying the tuition in time.
Moreover, they also shared the gospel with a handicapped "little bastard". The man was encouraged to turn from evil, given a wheelchair to sit in. Finally, this stubborn and rebellious boy followed Jesus and learned how to play the piano.
The meeting point also financially supported another student in a university, who is working in Beijing after graduation.
- Translated by Abigail Wu