Born and raised in rural China, my childhood was spent in ignorant bliss, although my family was poor. I cherish those memories. I remember coming home from school in the village and finding the door locked, so I would tidy up the area by the door with corn husks and do my homework on the ground there. When I was done, I would fall asleep waiting for Mom and Dad to come home from the field. I remember proudly telling Mom when she came home that I had washed my hair all by myself for the first time, though with too much laundry powder when I was about five or six years old. Around the same time, I started imitating Mom, cooking for the family, working in the field with my parents, and receiving the astonished praise of some of our neighbors.
I liked life until I was hit by the sorrows and evils of life when I was about 11 years old. I grew entrenched in negativity, confusion, and depression when I saw how sad and torn my mother was while trying to take care of sick parents on both her and my father’s side, all the while struggling to give my sister and me a relatively presentable Chinese New Year. My sister bluntly told me the well-known Chinese saying, “人不为己，天诛地灭（Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost).” I felt that no one could understand me when I was trying to find a real purpose to live for in life. Seven dark years passed after I first questioned the meaning of life as an 11-year-old.
Then, in my sophomore year of college, I heard the gospel for the first time from a girl from Arizona, who was studying Chinese and sharing the gospel in China, along with her husband and friends. I began to see that the reason life was hopeless was because all of mankind is fallen and the only hope is in the Savior and Redeemer, Jesus.
As I spent more time with my new Christian friends, I felt I could trust people again, the people who had put their faith and life in the only God. I decided to follow Jesus because of truth and love. Since then, it has been my mission to share the only hope with the people I grew up with and people like them. Amidst many tears and witnessing the wondrous works of the Holy Spirit, I rejoiced as a dozen members of my family found their way to Christ.
Today, a humble house church stands in our village, a testament to the saving and transforming power of the gospel. By God’s grace, I was able to be there for a few months this past summer to be their under-shepherd for a season, as they have none. Even though we are thousands of miles apart now, God has provided some means for me to minister to them and to encourage each other.
My prayer is that the beloved church there will rise up and shine in the darkness with love, courage, and sound truths from above, and that the unattended road in the village that is literally damaging vehicles will be repaired, only to show his glory and love to these precious, grateful and hard-working people whom he has not forgotten.
In closing, I would like to quote Caleb Bislow as an encouragement and admonition to my brethren in this rich and comfortable land who desperately need Jesus: “The Lord revealed to me that the harvest truly is ripe but the laborers seem to have counted themselves out.”1
Have you counted yourself out? If so, why? May we never count ourselves out because of the schemes of “the father of lies” (John 8:44).
The gospel matters more than life.
All images courtesy of the author.
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