Editor's note: A male believer surnamed Tian was frail and sick when he was a child. Hoping to heal his illness, his mother worshipped local idols, which left a negative impression on his mind as a teenager. Led by his sister to Jesus, he was blessed for working for Him though after a business failure. The following is Tian’s testimony, told from his perspective.
My family lived in a small village at the foot of the mountain at the end of Beiyuan County, Shaanxi Province. My parents gave birth to four children, among which the first three were females.
I was born with poor physical fitness. I either frequently caught a cold or had recurrent pharyngitis. As soon as I got sick, my mother would think that it was because she had offended a "spirit", immediately going to the temple to worship. When I went to primary school at the age of seven or eight, I began stuttering in addition to often being sick.
The "magic medicine" my mother got for me, which was the ashes of burnt paper of Fulu wizardry, really annoyed me. Before feeding me the "magic medicine", my mother would chant me a rune, incomprehensible to me, then dissolve the "magic medicine " with warm water.
Being treated in such a way for many years, I occasionally got better after taking “magic medicine”, which my mother would consider as a "spirit" manifestation. Therefore, my mother was even more motivated to apply this method to treat me when I got sick again.
After graduating from high school, I got married at the age of 23. With my family being poor, I wanted to earn a living in a big city in order to ease my parents’ financial burden.
Arriving in a city, I became a street vendor. Then, unfortunately, I began poker gambling obsessively every single night and kept losing money, over which my wife and I had fights. Affected by my bad addiction, the academic performance of my two children showed a decline.
One day, my eldest Christian sister came to visit me. Seeing the difficult situation in my family, she took me to the church the next day, where I was instantly attracted by the beautiful singing of hymns.
Following that, I started to attend church on Sundays instead of working on the street, which meant I had to give up the most profitable opportunity of the week. As a result, my wife was unhappy about it with criticism from my mother.
My eldest sister came to my house again, saying to me, "Little brother, your wife didn’t understand you, and our mother told you off. That is because you have not shown them the blessing by believing in God." She encouraged me, "Following Jesus can’t be just words, but more importantly taking actions. When they see the changes in your performance, they will change their views on you, not stopping you from believing in Him!"
Since then, besides stopping poker gambling and being freed from my TV addiction, alternatively, I have learned to cook at home. In the winter of that year, I went back to my hometown alone to visit my sick father-in-law. When I left, I quietly gave him 500 yuan (about 78.50 USD) in cash to see a doctor, telling him to take medicine in time.
From then on, my wife did not object to me trusting in God anymore but began to work on Sundays in my place so that I could attend church with a peaceful mind. On Christmas Day 2010, my wife followed me to the church and was baptized into Jesus. Now she has become an important member of the church choir and the pastoral area.
Now, my mother is living with me, becoming a Christian, influenced by our whole family. She said to me, " I shouldn't have believed in those useless clay doll gods if I had known the grace of Jesus." Consequently, my mother attends church services every Sunday together with me.
At the beginning of 2011, I raised more than 300,000 yuan (about 47,100 USD) to open a kitchen and bathroom store in a downtown mall that specializes in furniture. Some were my savings over many years, and the rest was a bank loan,
When it had just opened, a few acquaintances came to shop. Afterward, business went bad.
By the third year, the store was almost shut down due to continuous losses. The 300,000 yuan I invested was instantly lost, out of which more than 100,000 yuan was still owed to the bank. For nearly a month, I was so depressed that I lay in bed, not even wanting to step out of the house.
Every day, believers from the choir of the church that my eldest sister attended, took turns to visit me at home, giving me financial support. One evening, after the believers who came to visit me, were gone, I knelt down in the living room, praying to God. There seemed to be a voice in my ears telling me, ”Suffering is your blessing. The night will be over and dawn is breaking!”
Instantly, with joy I immediately called the female believer in charge of the pastoral area, saying that I would like to host a thanksgiving gathering at home. However, my request was declined at the time. I then called the believer in charge of the church choir for her support. It turned out that over ten members of the choir showed up to the gathering the next evening. We read the Bible, praying and singing hymns together. I cried from beginning to end, talking about my experience and the grace of God. The burden that had been on my heart for more than a month was lifted.
Later that night, the believer in charge of the pastoral area invited me to share my testimony at the group meeting in the area.
After the gathering, the church began its temple building for the third time. With the skills I learned when opening the kitchen and bathroom store, I was in charge of the electrical and plumbing installations of the entire project.
During this period, the elders of the church saw that I worked hard all day on the construction site despite such great financial difficulties. So, on behalf of the church, they gave me compensation which paid for my children's school expenses. Knowing that I couldn’t afford to rent a house, a male believer rented his newly decorated house to me at a very low price of 200 yuan (about 31.38 USD) per month. When I went to visit him to pay rent during the Chinese Spring Festival holidays, his Christian wife refused to receive my money at all, saying that my children could use it for education.
Later, I resumed work on my previous business which was subsequently getting better and better, with the bank loan being completely repaid. In 2017, I got a mortgage to buy an old apartment of 65 square meters (0.016 acres). In less than 6 months, the urban renewal project started, covering my home. The developer pre-allocated me a new apartment of 130 square meters (0.032 acres).
In addition, God has given me a special skill to record videos for church activities and upload them online to spread the gospel.
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times.)
-Translated by Shuya Wang