Rural conversion stories

Mr Meng, 37 year old farmer and church worker

When did you become a Christian and how did it happen?

I became a Christian in my teens. My parents died when I was a young child and I was looked after by my grandmother. She was wonderful and kind but we were very poor. We grew some vegetables and would sell them in the market. But the vegetables were not very good and so we only earned a few fen for them. I had to drop out of school because we had no money but I learned to do other things at home and in the fields. I worked hard.

As a child I used to have one leg shorter than another and was told that I would have to use a crutch when I was an adult. I could walk OK but I limped and I was told that it was only going to get worse. I went to church with my grandmother and the people in the church prayed for me. They prayed many times, but one day there was a special prayer meeting and I felt something like warm water flow from my back down my leg. It was strange and at first I thought maybe it was water but it was not wet. I was not at all uncomfortable but I was very conscious of it. It got warmer and warmer but not hot. It was only down my bad leg. My leg grew.

I know that it sounds strange and many people don’t believe me but those who know me from my old village know that it is true. Look. Now my legs are both the same length and I have never had to use a crutch. I was healed because of those prayers and I will never doubt God because I know what He has done.

It was not that day that I had become a Christian though. I would have said that I was a Christian before but it was on that day that I realised how much God loved me and what it really meant to be a Christian. It helps me in difficult times to know that God healed me and is with me.

At 15 my grandmother died and I was left on my own. I had to look after myself. My life was hard but so were the lives of most people in my village. I kept on going to church and then was asked to work as a volunteer in the church. I loved the work. There was a lot to do, and I would preach in the villages and in the homes of brothers and sisters. It was good work.

God blessed me with a room at the church and also with food that the believers would cook for me. I did this for a number of years and then went on a training course in the city. There I met a young nurse who was also in the same class as me. We fell in love. For me it was love at first sight. I don’t know why she fell in love with me. I was so poor and had nothing to offer her, but she has a good heart and God blessed me with her love. God has blessed me so much since becoming a Christian.

How are you involved in the church?

I work as an evangelist in the church. I used to work also as a farmer but the church is wanting to employ me full time so I can leave that work behind.

What reasons do you think there are for the growth?

There are many reasons why the church is growing. Firstly it is because God loves the Chinese people so much, especially people in rural China. We may be poor but he blesses us a lot. Many people used to become Christians because they were healed but now many people come to church because of the evangelism that a church does. People are invited to church and they come and once they hear the word of God being preached they become Christians themselves.

What changes have there been in local society in recent years?

There have been many changes. Because of the Beijing Olympics the world is looking at China. That makes a big difference, not just in Beijing but throughout China. Locally people are much better off than they were 10 or 20 years ago. But although there are more things available and more choices about things, things are in some ways getting harder for people in the countryside. It is expensive to pay for school or for medical care but the government is helping us. We don’t have to pay the same level of taxes as before. Praise God!

Has this affected people’s beliefs?

Of course! People are much more willing to look at faith now, and many people are coming to church. In some villages people are still very against the church. They are superstitious and think we will anger the local folk Gods, bringing bad luck on the village. These people believe in folk religions and think that we are trying to break tradition but that is not true. We are trying to set people free. The Bible says “the truth will set you free”. Many people – like me – know that this is real and that our lives are now better as a result of becoming a Christian.

 

hand holding a Chinese Bible
© Churches Together in Britain and Ireland 2010