It has been said that the greatest miracle in this world is the true repentance of a sinful man whose heart could be so stubborn to resist God’s reign over his life to death since the greatest challenge is for a sinful man to change his heart back toward God with his free will. Only in the love and call of God can a man find out his true image and his innermost desires.
Recently, the Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, interviewed Pastor D. and learned about his testimony of faith. He used to be a street punk collecting protection money, but now he is doing pastoral work in a city in southern China.
Here is an excerpt of his testimony about how he turned his heart back to God and became a pastor in the first person.
My parents have become Christians, but I didn't see any good behavior from my mother in faith at home, who was always busy with her work. Seeing that I did not honor her with my studies, she often beat and scolded me. Therefore, I did not want to accept the Christian faith.
Since the age of 12, I left school and entered the underworld in society, constantly running into fighting and killing, collecting protection money, and seldom going home.
After coming to the town to study, I became an active member of a small gang in my 8th grade. Since the 9th grade, we have been fighting with high school students until one day I read a report about a policeman who survived a stab. The news made me wonder, “If he died, how would it affect his family?” At that time, I began to question whether I should go home. Meanwhile, I heard the hymn "Where are you, lost sheep?" sung in my ears and began to cry. My unexpected tears gave me a great shock because we had been trained by our fighting life not to shed tears when others stabbed, punched, and kicked us even to the point of bleeding. But when I uncontrollably started singing the song, tears came to my eyes. Later on, more than 20 of us young people went to KTV singing songs and after the party came to the end, I felt very lonely inside. Once on the way home, the praise song "The Soul is Most Precious" I sang in a taxi made me cry again.
Upon coming home, I asked my mom about my unexpected tears and she said that was God’s answer to her five-year prayers for me. Actually, my mom had great faith in God. After I had stayed in the underworld in society for ten years and experienced these heart-touching moments, I was determined to live a different life.
I didn't have a proper job until I was 24 and then I found a good job with a high salary up to 8,000 RMB a month though, in 2000, the average wage was about 500 RMB. And at the age of 28, I went to a seminary to study. Once we went to visit a 90-year-old sister, a missionary. She said to me, "I saw you, you are going to be a disciple." When I heard that, I felt puzzled and asked, "How could I be qualified to become a disciple?” I asked her to give me a solid proof and she said, "When you go home, pray to God earnestly, God will give you the proof.”
When I went back in the evening, I was deeply touched by and filled with the Holy Spirit in prayer and I cried desperately to God, "God, if you send me, I will go, please send me."
At that time when the senior pastor only got a salary of 200 RMB per month in the church, the old missionary said to me, “I will give you 5,000 RMB to help you complete your theology study.” However, I actually spent nearly 10,000 RMB till I finished my study, and most of the money was spent by me on buying textbooks in theology and devotional books. Afterward, I went back to the seminary for further study of theology for another four years and spent more money, mostly on buying devotional books as well. Though I had such a good salary and job at that time, the word of the old missionary truly changed the rest of my life, making me give up on the job. In spite of the old missionary’s strong desire for her two sons to inherit her ministry, they were unwilling to lay their job down and refused to serve God.
After I came back from the seminary, the old missionary went to her heavenly home when she was 96 years old.
Pastor D. has planted many churches in various places and has also given some churches he planted to his former seminary classmates to lead. He would often help missionaries and their families with financial difficulties. He said, "My strongest desire is to plant more churches so that more people may have the opportunity to come to church, put their faith in Christ and attain salvation and become family members in the big family of God."
- Translated by Alvin Zhou