Testimony of Wheelchair Couple: Life Is a Relay of Love

Christian couple Dou Guizhen and Dong Piao at the national spinal cord injury symposium on an unknown day
Christian couple Dou Guizhen and Dong Piao at the national spinal cord injury symposium on an unknown day
By Katherine GuoMarch 22nd, 2022

A 53-year-old male believer Dou Guizheng and a 43-year-old female believer Dong Piao are a couple living in a 55-square-meter public rental housing suite in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. Both being disabled, Dou rides a trike motorcycle designed for the disabled in order to carry passengers, while Dong knits cross-stitch products at home to earn some income. Each one rides a mobility scooter to attend church services on Sundays. The couple have a good relationship with their son (the child of Dou and his ex-wife). Their first granddaughter is three years old, and the daughter-in-law is about to give birth to her second child.

Speaking of wishes, Dou said that he would take care of Dong as long as he could breathe. He also instructed his son to look after her if he passed away first.

They have two quotes about marriage and faith respectively: marriage is to" hold hands for a lifetime" and faith is to "live to testify for God".

In 1969, Dou was born in a rural area in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province. He ran into an accident at a construction site in Xinjiang when he was 20 years old, which only caused mild inconvenience in terms of his mobility rather than a great negative impact on his life. In 1998, Dou had a serious illness, the cause of which was related to the accident ten years ago. Consequently, he had to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. His wife left him with their four or five-year-old son without saying goodbye at the time. Starting from 2001, Dou embarked on a difficult journey to find his son with his crippled legs. Fortunately, the child was found before the SARS outbreak in 2003. Along the way, he was homeless and miserable sleeping in farmer’s markets and sometimes on the street. When the police came in the middle of the night and tried to stop him from sleeping in these places, he would just find a similar place nearby to sleep without being noticed by the police. "I was like a dirty and messy beggar with purulent wounds in which sometimes there were maggots."

Even with so much suffering, Dou was more willing to talk about the kind-hearted people he met.

The first unforgettable person is Rev. Li Nancheng, senior pastor of Nanjing Mochou Lu Church. "A male Christian rode a tricycle and took me to attend the Sunday service at the carport of Mochou Road Church. I was very dirty, covered with a quilt, sitting in the tricycle which was parked near a trash bin. Rev. Li approached greeting me with care and help," he shared. The pastor's behavior was outside of Dou’s expectations, bringing a huge influence on him, for which Dou opened his heart to God.

Rev. Liu, whom Dou met while passing through Jining, Shandong Province, preached the gospel to him, providing help as well. Once again, he felt the warmth and care from the Lord, completely turning to God.

Dou finished the divorce procedure, gaining the custody of the son in 2004. After finding his son, Dou once thought of giving him away to a good family for adoption. Rev. Zhang in Beijing tried hard to persuade and help him, which saved him from making a lifelong regrettable decision.

After returning to their hometown to live, Dou attended church services with his son. When Rev. Liu from Shandong heard the good news, he bought Dou a motorcycle trike for disabled riders. Since then, Dou has been making money by carrying passengers to support himself and his son to go to school.

People who have been in wheelchairs for a long time are prone to growing cysts. In 2006, Dou had a severe fever and could feel nothing in the body. He prayed to God asking for His help. Next, he touched the pustule with his hand and tore it open with fingernails. As a result, the dirty pus came out, and the fever was gone very soon. Dou shared, "I operated on myself and got cured. Wouldn’t you believe it was a miracle?"

After the fever was gone, Dou was simply bandaged and went out to work again without proper treatment for the wound. The illness affected him repeatedly for a few years. In May 2011, Dou suffered from severe bedsores, for which he was unable to move but could only lie on his stomach in bed. This time the situation was so serious that it was beyond the capabilities of the hospitals in the county and the small city, so he was directly transferred to the hospital in Nanjing.

Dou tried his best and put together a total of 30,000 yuan RMB (about 4,722 USD) for treatment. After being admitted to the hospital in Nanjing, Dou was afraid that he could not be cured, but end up with a loss of both his money and his life. A patient in the same ward told him that the person who stayed in his bed had just been discharged from the hospital a few days ago, who restored to health from a condition much worse than his. He was able to ask her to reassure him if he had any doubts. Thus, Dou got Dong's phone number from the hospital administration and made the first phone call between them. With Dong’s encouragement, he gained confidence in the operation. He was hospitalized for more than 70 days. After being discharged, he called Dong to update her with his status and thanked her for her encouragement. Unexpectedly, they became acquainted with each other, and the more they chatted, the closer they became.

Dong, a native of Fuzhou, Fujian, is 10 years younger than Dou. In 2008, she was paralyzed due to a car accident, completely losing consciousness below the chest. Subsequently, she was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Accompanied by her Christian mother, she attended church activities. Once, her Christian aunt advised her, “Your parents would grow old and leave you one day. Therefore, you should pray God for a husband who can take care of you for the rest of your life.” Listening to her aunt, Dong began to pray for her marriage every night before going to bed. "After praying for over a year, God really gave me a husband." She revealed.

After Dong had surgeries for her car accident in 2008, she suffered from paraplegia, for which she couldn't turn over her body during sleep. But, this motor dysfunction could lead to bedsores that would be difficult to treat. For that reason, she came to Nanjing for treatment in June 2011 and was discharged after 40 days. Dong often said, "Thanks for being afflicted with bedsores, which was healed in Nanjing Ruixin Hospital, God then gave me a husband."

Dou was thankful that Dong gave him a home with warmth. "My mother-in-law and my sisters-in-law are all very kind to me." Dou said.

Dong’s affliction with bedsores for not turning over will never happen again after marrying Dou. Helping his wife flip the body every 2 hours has become Dou’s muscle memory, for which his biological clock has been set to wake up every two hours in the evening. Day after day, year after year, even his son admires Dou, saying: “My dad, a disabled person takes care of my mom as a paraplegic person. He has achieved what even a normal person may not be able to do." Dou is responsible for all the family affairs including keeping the house clean and tidy.

As for Dong, knowing that her son had a girlfriend in college with whom he wanted to marry, she paid the down payment for her son’s house in the county with the remaining compensation received after the car accident, after she had deducted the cost of treatment.

Dong had 9 surgeries for the traumas caused by that accident. She prayed and trusted in God before each surgery, and all procedures were indeed successful.

In 2015, the couple moved from the Fuzhou suburbs to downtown. After settling down, they signed a corpse and organ donation form, willing to donate corneas and corpses after death. Because of this donation, a reporter learned about their story and helped them get on the CCTV program "Going to Happiness".

Rev. Chen, who met them in Fuzhou, bought them each an electric wheelchair, which greatly facilitated their travels. The local government assisted them in applying for public rental housing, which they moved into within four years.

Rev. Li in Nanjing has been in contact with them over the years. Li pays attention to their needs in a timely manner. He greets and cares for them every Christmas, New Year's Day, and Spring Festival. Rev. Liu in Shandong, visited them in their home last month. Rev. Zhang in Beijing has transferred them money to pay for living expenses and children's tuition from time to time for more than ten years. As for a female believer surnamed Dai, she helped with the son and daughter-in-law's finding jobs. The couple would tell Rev. Chen when they leave Fuzhou so that he wouldn’t be worried about them.

- Translated by Shuya Wang

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