Testimony: Blessed Journey of Woman Pastor Serving in Church After Divorce

A woman prays at sunset.
A woman prays at sunset.
By Esther TianDecember 19th, 2023

Despite the struggles and tears, the Lord's grace has been with Pastor Zhang (pseudonym) along the way of her 20-year ministry.

The start of Pastor Zhang’s dedication to the Lord was unique.

Born into a comfortable family, 28-year-old Zhang had to divorce and leave home for work alone because of her drug-addicted ex-husband and separation from her only son.

During work, a young female believer preached the gospel to Zhang, leading her to a local church. Coincidentally, this happened during the seminary admission, and the church advised her to study theology, which she refused at first because of financial problems. Being promised a supportive fund of 400 yuan a month, equal to her monthly salary from work, Pastor Zhang, who had little knowledge of the Old and New Testaments, agreed to pursue theology in 2000.

Despite first arriving with little basic biblical knowledge and a low level of education, which led to her incomprehension of the course, Zhang, driven by her tenacious spirit, insisted on studying hard.

Once, a pastor referred to sheep without a shepherd, which reminded Zhang that she was the lost sheep. There has been a qualitative change in the relationship between her and the Lord since that day, motivating her to study more diligently and actively. After graduation, she accepted a mission to preach in the challenging Western Chinese area with another young female believer.

Meanwhile, Zhang had been praying for her son's return. Zhang's fortune-telling father, on the other hand, was strongly opposed to their reunion after a two-year separation, claiming a disaster if she was with her son when she was thirty-four years old. Zhang first failed in her attempts to preach to her father. Her father was determined to find breaches in Zhang’s belief in Jesus and read the Bible twice in one breath. Learning that the daughter and grandson had both safely passed Zhang's 34, her father believed that God was the true God. Moreover, under her influence, Zhang’s mother, brother, and sister all believed in the Lord.

However, it wasn’t easy to begin missionary work in an unfamiliar place. At first, no one was willing to hear about the gospel for over two months. Pastor Zhang and her partner were limited to praying and reading the Bible. Fortunately, the Spirit led them to a Bible-reading fellowship, where Zhang met her current spouse. Her daughter was born soon after her remarriage. Zhang founded a small church of six.

Pastor Zhang has been a full-time missionary for 21 years, since 2002. Except for a little support from her home church at the start of her mission, Zhang had to rely solely on God. During the development of her church, there has been harassment from heresies and internal conflicts. She realized that the staff workers who had previously opposed her gradually turned to be in unity with her as her focus remained on what pleased God.

What makes Pastor Zhang most grateful and proud is that her whole family serves in the church. Her husband has been very supportive of her service, though he is not a full-time church worker. Additionally, despite just being volunteers, her son, daughter, and daughter-in-law always prioritize the needs of the church. As a graduate of the theological seminary, Zhang’s daughter-in-law can also preach sermons in the church. Pastor Zhang’s brother and sister couldn’t understand her dedication to the Lord at first, even though they are believers as well. However, they understood God’s blessing after observing the changes in Zhang’s family.

What matters most to Pastor Zhang is that there is now a lovely family fearing and serving God, in contrast to having nothing at the start. Though the young Zhang once complained to God about the church's limited subsidies, she was determined that "Even if I don't get any salary, I will still work for the Lord!" when she was touched by the Lord again. She is already past 50, and her husband's salary is modest. Her faith in the Lord gives her no worry about life after retirement. She also pictured herself and her husband traveling to the land of "unreached peoples" in the future to bless the people there.

Zhang’s son used to think that taking belief in the Lord was enough, but today’s confession is, “There must be a dedication to the Lord with the mission.” His son often exhorts his children to serve the Lord in all circumstances.

- Translated by Poppy Chan

related articles
LATEST FROM Church & Ministries