Torrential rains and flooding in Shanxi province were described in a post in the ChinaSource Blog last week. In this article from the Gospel Times, we hear of how a church in Jie Xiu responded to the needs of believers in the effected area.
How Did a Church from Jiexiu, Shanxi Province Show God’s Love to People in the Floods?
Between the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese National Day, the central and southern parts of Shanxi Province encountered strong and continuous rainfall, which caused various secondary geological disasters such as landslides and floods. The rainy season is now over, and intense reconstruction work has now begun. Local churches across the region have also started to collect disaster statistics and visit people in need.
Gospel Times recently interviewed Pastor Fan Wanmin of the Jiexiu Christian Church to learn about the work they have done.
From October 14–16, staff from Jiexiu Church visited rural gathering places surrounding the city that had been more severely affected, and also visited some believers’ homes.
One of the gathering places is a cave dwelling located in Shitunnan Village of Yitang Town (which is the only village gathering place which has obtained an official license in Jiexiu City). Because of the rainfall, the top of the cave suffered serious water leakage, and large cracks appeared on the outer wall. Prolonged soaking by the rain, caused the dirt on the wall to become loosened and the whole cave is currently in a dilapidated state and cannot continue to be used.
On October 14, Pastor Fan and some volunteers from their church went to the cave dwelling to verify the disaster situation and sent condolences to the local believers.
Why did they choose this cave dwelling as their first visit? Pastor Fan said that there are two reasons. First, they wanted to encourage believers there to keep the faith in seeking and relying on the Lord, and to keep meeting as well. Second, they met with the village committee, hoping to find a replacement venue so that this legal gathering place could continue meet.
After visiting the cave dwelling, they hurried to the next family and visited a sister-in-Christ who lived beside the road. Due to low terrain, the basement of her house was flooded and appliances including the television were damaged. Fortunately, the main floor was not affected too much.
However, because she also has health problems, the flood caused a spiritual blow to her. Pastor Fan and the volunteers used the Lord’s words to encourage her, and also gave her some rice and 200 yuan. They also offered fervent and constant prayer. This elderly sister was very grateful. She praised God, thanked him for the love of church members, and testified for the Lord.
Later Pastor Fan and other volunteers visited two more families and led everyone to pray together, to fellowship, to encourage each other, and strengthen one another in the faith.
The homes of Sister Song, who lives in Song’an Village, Songgu Town, and her relative Sister Wang, were flooded with water during this rainfall. The water in Sister Wang’s house reached 1.5 meters at the highest point. Sister Song’s house was old to begin with, and with prolonged soaking, the chimney collapsed, the foundation sank, and walls were cracked. It is currently uninhabitable. Even worse, Sister Song’s family had no time to get daily necessities such as clothes when they evacuated from their house, and they could only live with relatives temporarily, which was hard for them.
On October 15, while the vice chairman of the Shanxi CCC&TSPM and others visited Jiexiu City, Pastor Fan and other volunteers took them to visit some believers, including these two sisters whose houses were severely damaged. They asked about their situation and gave them some financial support.
Before the vice chairman’s visit, some co-workers from Jiexiu Church had already gone to these two sisters’ temporary housing and had given them thick clothes, noodles, oil, and other necessities.
Pastor Fan said:
Our church plans to continue following up on the believers who were severely impacted. And when the local government and village committee have reported the level of damage to the houses, we will provide assistance and cooperation as we are able according to actual needs during the rebuilding.
Besides the rural areas, the church in Jiexiu City also suffered damage. Pastor Fan said that of the four rows of old houses that were affected during the rainfall, two dilapidated houses in the first row have already collapsed. Currently, they plan to demolish the houses near these two for safety. In addition, the walls inside of the church and some attached rooms, such as the choir room, also suffered varying degrees of leakage and follow-up repair work has yet to be carried out.
Why did they visit and encourage believers who were affected by this rainfall? Pastor Fan replied with deep feeling:
Visits and encouragement are only one part of our caring work. In reality, visits cannot truly solve believers’ financial and other difficulties. However, the church’s duty is to pray, preach, and spread the gospel. So, the purpose of our visits is to bring confidence and hope to believers, so that they can keep their faith in God when facing various difficulties, regain their strength in faith, and give all glory to God.
Jiexiu Church will continue the visits and encouragement and bring God’s love and warmth to more believers.
Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
May the merciful God watch over Shanxi province, so that though his children walk through fire and water, they will know the only true and living God and keep strong and courageous through him. And that they will live abundantly even though going through trials. At the same time, I also express my deep respect to the pastors and volunteers from Jiexiu Church. May God remember your hard work and dedication! May believers and others affected by the rainfall overcome the difficulties and rebuild their homes as quickly as possible!
(Thanks to Pastor Fan Wanmin of Jiexiu Church for providing the pictures.)
Header Image Credit: Picture of Yangqu County, Shanxi, courtesy of a friend of ChinaSource.
Text Image Credit: Gospel Times.
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