An elderly woman was affirmed by her villager, "She is a believer, who never takes advantage of others, but does many foolish things."
An aged believer named Z (pseudonym) is an elderly rural woman who relies entirely on her children for support. Her husband died in his early years. All her children went to other places or cities to work and settle down, while she stayed alone in the village.
The year before, a vendor came to Z's village to buy soybeans. Z also sold some of her own soybeans to the vendor. After receiving the money from the vendor, she went straight home. When she found that she had been overpaid RMB 28, she quickly came back to give back the money. Someone there said, "No one knows if you don't return it. Why bother? You are really stupid to come so far to give back the money!"
Five years ago, she managed to find a job doing cleaning and sanitation in a residential area. As she had to go to work by bus, sister Z would pick up recyclable garbage such as waste paper boards and plastic bottles and sell them to a junk shop, which could make up for her transportation expenses.
One day, she saw some discarded clothes beside the trash can in a lane. Among them was a cotton-padded jacket for an elderly woman. She was reminded that a senior female believer in her village was extremely poor because her son was disabled. She planned to take the padded jacket home, wash it, and give it to her. Then she found a hard-tied package inside the jacket, which turned out to be a thick stack of cash, a bank card, and a passbook.
Her first reaction was to find the owner as soon as possible. She found the depositor's name in the passbook and decided to find the owner with that name. Just then, a middle-aged woman walked into the lane and advised her after hearing her story, "No one knows if you picked up the money, so why bother to find the owner? Just take it back!" But she refused.
Later, she learned that the owner was an old woman. A few days ago, she was ill and in the hospital. Her daughter-in-law found her clothes dirty and had no time to clean them. So she threw them in the trash can while the old woman was not at home. Unexpectedly, the elderly woman secretly sewed the pocket money that her son and daughter-in-law had given into the jacket. The son and the daughter-in-law wanted to thank Z with RMB 200, but she insisted on refusing it.
Every Sunday and weekly group meeting day, Z would put down her affairs and go to church more than ten kilometers away or the group meeting place one or two kilometers away from home to participate in the worship. Others would comment that she was busy doing nothing all day.
On the Ghost Festival, she never burned spiritual money and prepared tribute rice for her passed ancestors. On Tomb-Sweeping Day, she would just clean up the weeds in the graves but not burn spiritual money or worship on bent knees. Whenever her relatives and friends passed away, she would only give gift money and not offer incense or worship to the deceased. Therefore, others would think she was unreasonable and silly.
She frequently sings hymns aloud while by herself at home or in the fields, which neighbors or bystanders refer to as animal howling. In the past ten years, she has been able to basically read the Bible by asking about the words and reading after others. Before she turned seventy, she was a member of the church's elderly dance group.
The year before last, Z felt inexplicable pain in her right arm. After praying for many days, she was not relieved but even got worse. Therefore, she had to go to the village clinic to see a doctor. An elderly man who was having an IV drip ridiculed her for being sick even after believing in Jesus. Z said that God would heal her with doctors' hands and medicines. Later, the doctor in a big city hospital diagnosed her with severe rheumatoid arthritis. After being administered medicine, she felt unbearable pain all over her body after she went back home for half a month and even could not take care of herself. When church staff workers or believers visited her, she always said that she would obey God and follow Jesus to the end, whether God healed her or not.
In the past two years, her illness has sometimes worsened and sometimes eased. As long as the pain was relieved, she would go to the meeting point with a bamboo stick on the group meeting day. Later, she had much more difficulty commuting, so she asked the group leader and team members to gather at her home. Then, the group transferred to her home for the gathering. She often endured pain to prepare tea and received believers.
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times and the author is a pastor in Hubei.)
- Translated by Oliver Zuo