In her early twenties, Sister Z is a typical post-90s sunny girl. In her adolescence, she was labeled as a rebellious, ill-behaved, and bad student. However, it is hard to find any trace of past rebellion in the smiling girl.
She serves in a church -- the only young person in her twenties on a team most of whose members are middle aged or older.
Z told CCD, "I couldn't imagine what a prodigal I was. I've no idea where I would be or what I would do if I didn't know God. Neither do I know what I would be... but I wouldn't do very well at least."
Below is the testimony shared by Z:
My grandmother is a devout Christian. She got up early every morning to read the Bible and pray. Actually I didn't know the significance of "prayer." I didn't know until some time later that she kept praying for me every day since my birth so that I could be chosen by God and become one used by Him. All I knew was that I didn't like living with her at all because she always taught me what should not be done according to the Bible... Such a grandmother was totally different from others who spoil their grandchildren.
She took me to the church on Sundays when I was a pupil. However, I hated going to church -- it took my playing time on weekends.
In middle school I made a "bad" friend named "L" who was good at having fun. To play with her I gave up a good high school and went to a school of ordinary quality. Moreover, to escape attending church services I lied to my grandmother that I had to take remedial courses at school on Sundays. From then on, I started to play hooky, get tattoos, smoke, and drink alcohol.
Notorious in senior year, I became a "bad student" in the eyes of teachers.
My parents, who were seldom at home because of their businesses, didn't notice my change while my grandmother saw something strange with me and asked why I was recently attending remedial classes frequently instead of going to church as usual on Sunday. Her question didn't scare me for lying was my usual practice at that time. I answered that I had a part-time job in a bookstore to experience life and working there for two hours in the evening resulted in my arriving at home late. Unable to discern whether my words were true or false, she thought that I had grown up and become sensible.
The ease to deceive her made me unscrupulous. To hang out, I asked my parents for money in different ways and claimed that it would be used for my study. My parents didn't doubt me but totally believed in me.
When I was a high school senior I had the worst reputation, becoming a "bad student" in the eyes of teachers and a "gangster girl" to classmates. There were no excellent students in my circle of friends. They and I usually ate out and had fun together. Smoking and drinking became a daily occurrence and I was skillful at lying.
Once a male student bothered me, I was so angry that I cut him with a knife. Despite his attacking me first, I panicked at the sight of his bleeding... I was brought to the church by my grandmother. She taught me with the Bible: You must believe in God no matter what you wanted to do in the future, otherwise you wouldn't know how to tell right from wrong; there is truth in the Bible; was it right to do this thing?
Recalling my growth in the past several years, I realized that I had achieved nothing except indulging in gluttony and pleasure-seeking with L. I did poorly at school and didn't have good friends... Seeing me silent, she said, "You continue to go to church with me. We will read the Bible and pray together, and commit the rest to God, who will help you disconnect with the past."
From then on, I attended services with her. I also joined an evening Bible study held by a church group. I was the youngest one in the group and the other members were mainly middle-aged and elderly. Since I was there for every study they praised me, "Thank God that you have good faith at such a young age." Hearing their words I felt ashamed and inadequate, remaining silent.
As I walked in deeper faith, I gradually tasted the joy my faith brought to me. When it came to Bible reading I felt that I never heard of the wise word that seemed pretty sweet to me. After I took the gaokao (the National College Entrance Exam), encouraged by my grandmother I was baptised and started to serve the church even until now.
Sister Z kept smiling during her testimony. It was really hard to see any "rebellious" signs from her smile --- lying, cutting classes, smoking, drinking, and bubbling Internet cafes... Speaking of these bad things she didn't feel humiliated. Instead she said, "As a matter of fact, many people have gone through rebellious teen years. Maybe some people regard it as nothing for we have grown up and become sensible, moving away from rebellion slowly. However, I give thanks to God that I knew him through the rebellious days. If I didn't know God, I might not have been rebellious when I grew up and turned sensible, or become more rebellious... who knows."