Editor's note: Baoji, China's northern Shaanxi Province experienced an epidemic storm during this March. Recently, Sister Jing, who went through a 14-day quarantine at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, shared her story.
Below is her testimony in the first person.
"If it weren't for the Lord being with me every day, how could I, a weak woman, withstand this pandemic storm. If the Lord hadn't sheltered me and my family, how could we be safe and sound in the pandemic storm? Thank you, Lord. Your grace is sufficient for me."
Born in 1971, I am in my early fifties this year. When I was 20, I came to Baoji to visit my father, who took me to Shengli Road Church and made me get baptized into Christ. My hometown is in a village over 60 kilometers north of Baoji. My father worked in a factory in Baoji, while my mother led the family by farming, and raised me and three younger brothers and sisters, which was a hard life. My mother got a serious illness when she was nearly 40, and the family burden suddenly fell on me, a 15-year-old girl. My father’s salary was used to treat my mother and buy medicine, with only a little money left. I had to drop out of school to grow and sell vegetables, and help my mother take care of my younger brothers and sisters.
Later, when I grew up, I got married early in order to reduce the family burden and had three children. Forced by the hard life, I came to Baoji alone to find working opportunities in 2000. I rented a booth at Baoji Farmers Market and started a small business selling vegetables. I got up at 4: 00 am every morning, and quickly drove my tricycle in the dark to the vegetable farmers to collect vegetables. Then I went to the Farmer Market before 8:00 am to start selling. I would return home at noon for lunch, then go back to the market, and arrive at home after 10:00 PM.
As I slept very little every night and had to work 17-18 hours a day, I didn't participate in a specific fellowship service in my church, but only had time to attend some annual Christmas and Easter cultural programs and performances organized by the church district.
But for every Sunday worship service, I would give up the opportunity to make the most profit and go to the church to attend it. I often blamed myself for not being able to attend church service every day, but I love my Lord, and He never blames His children.
During the pandemic this March, it was the Lord who accompanied me and my family through the lockdown period at home...
On March 8th, our whole family was quarantined at home for 14 days due to a pandemic infection case in the China Resources Supermarket where my daughter worked two days ago.
Around 6:00 pm on March 8th, my cell phone rang suddenly. My daughter cried and said, "Mom, please come back home. The pandemic prevention personnel wanted me to be quarantined at an assembly site, and I don't want it!" On my way home, I prayed to God as I walked. “Lord, please don't let my child leave me for quarantine. Although she is a grown-up, she is still a child who has never left home! I know that no one can help me at that moment, so I can only pray to you ...”
As soon as my husband and I got home, my daughter jumped on us and hugged us and cried. She said that she didn't want to go to the quarantine site and that the mutated virus was particularly severe. She was afraid of being infected on the bus to the assembly site. I was anxious to pray to the Lord again in my heart.
After the prayer, I comforted my daughter and asked her to be not afraid as it is just collective quarantine. My daughter cried and said, "I'm not infected now, but who can guarantee that I won't be infected on the bus? There are so many people on the bus. I am scared." I said, “Don’t be afraid. We have God, and He is with you wherever you are.”
After my daughter packed her luggage, the whole family sat on the sofa and waited quietly. When it was almost 9:00 pm, the telephone rang. "Are you Pu Huan? There are too many people on the bus today. We will pick you up tomorrow morning." Thank God! God heard my prayer just now. I'm still grateful to let my daughter sleep at home even one more night.
Then I told her to pray sincerely. "God will hear your cry, and He will protect you." In a bad mood, she replied to me with a runaround. I went back to my bedroom, and continued to pray silently with my husband on our knees. At that time, I had only one faith. “God, whether my daughter is quarantined at home or at the assembly site, please bless her and keep her safe. If possible, God, please let her stay at home for quarantine, instead of at the assembly site.”
At 3:00 am, I woke up. I quickly moved to the living room and began to pray again. At 7:00 am, I cooked a meal for my daughter, and then sat on the sofa waiting for the bus to pick her up. At about 12:00 pm, the community worker called my daughter and said, "We discussed it. You just work in that supermarket, and had no close contact with the patient. So your whole family will be quarantined at home, and you don't need to go to the public site." When my daughter heard the news, she threw herself into my arms. "Mom, thank God! I don't have to leave home." At that time, I said to my husband and daughter, "We need to thank God. God does great things, but He even takes care of this trivial matter of our family."
In the afternoon, a sister saw my testimony in a WeChat group. She was moved and said, "Your testimony is really good. Let's pray for pandemic prevention and control all day long for 7 days in a row." From that night, we spontaneously took turns to have one-hour-long prayer for seven consecutive days.
In the home quarantine days, I woke up my whole family early every day and started praying at 6:00 am. After breakfast, I organized them to start reading the Bible. While reading God's word, my daughter and I took turns. After lunch, I would gather them in the living room, search for hymns on the Internet, and sing along to praise God.
Moreover, we had rotational prayer in the WeChat group every day. Everyone would remind the next to pray after they had finished praying. Some sisters would send their prayer audio clips to the group, which gives everyone confidence and the opportunity to learn from each other.
During the family quarantine days, medical staff would come to conduct nucleic acid testing every day.
On the seventh day, we had eaten up our food. On the ninth day, when a brother from the church called me, I told him our shortage of food. He said, "Don't worry, our church won't leave sisters and brothers quarantined at home shortage of food." In the afternoon, another brother brought food and vegetables to us.
When the seven-day prayer was over, I called for a second round in the group. On March 24th, the government news in the WeChat Moments finally said that Baoji society had been cleared of COVID-19 virus for several days, despite sporadic cases in the assembly sites. If it was well controlled, the lockdown would be gradually released from March 25th.
Thank God. My daughter has already gone to work now, and I have returned to the market selling vegetables. Now, I also hope that the church will resume the in-person meeting so that our whole family can worship God.
(The writer is a contributor for the Gospel Times.)
- Translated by Oliver Zuo