"How can I not dedicate myself wholly to the Lord, who loves me, chose me, and has given me so many blessings, though I am old and know that I am not capable of serving Him," said Guo Zhen, a female pastor.
The 77-year-old pastor has preached sermons in the local church for more than a decade, opening her home as a gathering site. In the simple house, there are many bibles, hymn books, and a notebook full of notes.
Suffering from heart failure, she is still in high spirits, full of gratitude to the Lord with a heart of living for the Lord.
She said that before she came to Christ, she felt God’s special love for her, as she always got the flat land next to the well when the land was divided by lot. Only later did she find out that God had chosen her. Afflicted by several ailments before she accepted Jesus, she had pains in her stomach and limbs all the year round, but the doctors could not identify the problems.
By that time, her mother and younger sister had already been baptized. One Sunday, her sister said, "Aren't you sick? You may be healed if you go to listen to the sermon of a pastor from out of town." She waved her hand, saying, "I won't go. There is not any God who can cure me." Later, perhaps inspired by the Holy Spirit, she came to the church voluntarily. Hearing about how Jesus was sacrificed for the people and buried, she started to shed tears, feeling an inexplicable joy and peace after making a prayer for confession. Later, she kept attending church services and was baptized, with her body gradually recovering.
Later, following her husband who worked in a coal mine, she went to live in a mine more than 100 kilometers away, where there was no church at that time. So they had to walk more than 10 kilometers along the railway line every Sunday to another town to worship God. Once hearing that her neighbor planned to sell a house, she told an elder who later paid a visit there, paying the deposit of 50 yuan. Then, the church spent 8,000 yuan buying it which cost more than 8,500 yuan in total. So in the mine lot there was a church, where she served and the number of believers increased.
She came back to her hometown with her husband when he retired. Appointed by the church since 2004, she began to preach sermons. She reads the Bible and takes notes every day. Besides looking up the dictionary, she asks her children when she fails to understand the text, as she is poorly educated. Being familiar with the Bible, she bears testimony boldly to God relying on Him through prayers. She not only preaches at meeting points in the city, but also leads the worship in surrounding towns.
Two years ago, the church announced that the pastors aged over 70 could retire, but she was not reconciled, thinking that she could still work for the Lord. But at an old age, she realizes that she should give the opportunity of serving God to younger people. But she is not slack in doing daily devotions and prayers.
As in-person church meetings have been suspended during the last two years due to COVID-19, she gets up every morning at four o'clock to read the Bible, pray and praise. Apart from praying for the churches in different places, pastors, the children, sick and weak believers, she is sharing the gospel with her neighbors, regardless of whether they believe or not. After reading the Bible and praying at night, she listens to audio sermons when she is unable to sleep.
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times.)
- Translated by Abigail Wu