Suffering, Loyalty of Grassroots Pastor

A picture shows a flower in a dry field.
A picture shows a flower in a dry field.
By Kristina RanJanuary 26th, 2023

Even though she is going through terrible pain, a female pastor smells of Christ, obedience, joy, and perseverance, just like a flower that grows in a harsh environment.

Y (pseudonym) was born in a rural area in western China, and her father was a truck driver sent by the company to transport corpses in the Tangshan earthquake in 1976. He was also stimulated and had mental issues.

Y said that at the beginning, her mother prayed to the gods and Buddhas to heal her father until someone in the village preached the gospel to her.

After believing in the Lord, her mother moved the family to the city to be a street sweeper when Y was in the fifth grade of primary school. Living in a staff dormitory provided by the company, they still had to pick up leftover vegetables from the vegetable market to eat. Still, her mother took her four children to the nearby church on Sundays. Believers often visited and helped them.

Her mother died of cancer when Y was in her third year of high school, having watched her children grow up one by one.

When it was time to fill out the university application form, she gave up the admission qualification without telling anyone, as her parents had no money.

A person, who visited her mother, who was suffering from rectal cancer, encouraged them, saying, “Your family is going to the seminary, she couldn't afford the tuition fees." Her classmate helped her contact a male believer in Beijing who paid for her four years of tuition.

In addition to tuition fees, she didn’t have gym clothes in a physical education class, but one person presented a set to her on Sunday.

After her mother died, the heartbroken girl suffered gastrointestinal problems, and her classmates began to take turns bringing her food and medicine. Four years later, Y was one of only two college graduates who got their bachelor's degrees without being given a job.

She didn't have a full-time job at a megachurch, but she preached in many places in the city where she lived, becoming known as a grassroots pastor.

A female Christian in the church where Y gathered with her mother in childhood invited her to preach in her family fellowship twice a week, providing her with a room to live in. Later, she also joined a large pastoral fellowship, and they would go to many places to give sermons, worship, and praise. Y was the youngest, working as a secretary and printing CDs. She also went to Beijing to study the post-production of film and TV with a team specializing in gospel film and TV. After the team disbanded, she learned how to set up a cell group in Shanghai and then returned to her hometown in the west to serve due to pregnancy preparations.

Without pay, she received travel expenses ranging from tens of yuan to a hundred or two hundred yuan at a time, and most of the churches she served were a little out of the way. For example, it took her four hours to get to the church she served recently.

Worse than not having enough food was constantly receiving bad news from her family.

Her father, who had not yet fully recovered from the stimulation he had received, became disoriented and walked out when Y was out preaching. He spent a lot of time at home alone himself, and her brother and sister, who lived close by, did not have the time to care for him. The search for him did not end until today.

In 2015, her devout sister-in-law fell ill and passed away. When she was alive, she gave her tithes to Y, who did not have a salary or donations from others. Though her brother’s family was not rich, they never took the initiative to get back the money they had lent to others, some of whom later became rich. When visiting others, she would drink the water with a worm in the glass so the host might not notice after praying and believing the Lord would protect her.

Suffering the pain of his wife’s death, Y’s elder brother should also take care of his daughter, who was shocked to hear her mother had died, and he jumped off the building under tremendous psychological pressure.

When she let the church hold a memorial service for her brother, the family members were told, "It can’t be carried out as he committed suicide."

In 2019, Y began to open a sauced meat shop that was prosperous, with dozens of apprentices, to pay off the debt of building a house in his hometown.

She had the opportunity to serve in a church for a long time, but the church eventually chose another male Christian. After many years, she learned that the church feared her being a burden to the church since her family was so poor.

She has a small business, so she finds that it is most convenient to arrange get-togethers on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. These are the days when she has the freest time. She does not have to worry about money and is therefore in a position to help others who are struggling financially.

Her daughter, who is now in her teenage years, finds it challenging to communicate effectively with her because she has spent so many years working. Y wants to spend more time with her, who doesn’t believe in Jesus.

In 2022, she suffered a broken leg from a car accident, which forced her to stop her service.

Y wished to make a speedy recovery so he could return to duty as soon as possible. She desired to serve as a worship leader for a group of Christians who lived in the same town that she did because they could not get together due to the disease and the distance between their homes and the church.

She believed that as long as God prepared the location, she would be able to assist those she was serving because she could play the piano, preach, and host.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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