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From China, believers relay accounts of the supernatural

BEIJING (BP)–Christian workers and volunteers are sharing their faith among China’s billions and training new believers there for outreach through a wide range of programs.

The growth of the church in China is not the result of hard work and intensive training, but ultimately, as one worker says, “What has happened in China … is a mighty movement of God’s Spirit.”

With the growth have come reports of miracles, divine interventions and angelic visitations. There are also reports of demons, demonic possession and the presence of evil. The stories may sound unbelievable to Christians in the West, but they mirror events described in the New Testament.

Some of these stories follow. These are not legends from unknown sources. They are first-person testimonials directly from the people involved in widely varying locations across China. Christian workers from the West either have been participants in the events described or spoken directly to those telling the stories.

— Gospel factory

Daniel* is a Chinese Christian who lived near a factory where some 1,700 people work.

He wanted to share the gospel with them but could not get into the factory. When a team of medical workers came for a medical clinic, Daniel went in with them and witnessed to some 500 factory workers the team treated.

Three hundred of those workers accepted Christ as Savior. A Buddhist woman was healed and threw away her amulets. Daniel challenged the new believers to share their faith with others, and one woman led 20 to faith in Christ the first week.

Daniel and other Chinese Christians say such workers in this and other factories eventually will take the gospel back to their home villages across a wide area.

— Holy dragon!

A Chinese Christian man says his mother was a strong Christian but because she had no Bible she had gotten some ideas wrong.

For example, she taught the man that God would come as a “Holy Dragon” and take away sickness. She had confused the word “linag,” or spirit, with long, or dragon.

The man became convinced he must have a Bible. Once, looking for a Bible, he walked 20 miles to visit an old preacher. The preacher had no Bible and told the man he must ask God for one.

Until then, the man did not realize one could ask God for things like Bibles. He began praying for a Bible.

After 100 days of fasting he had a vision in which he saw an old man pulling a cart filled with bread — when the man went to eat the bread, it was a Bible. So the man realized there was a Bible somewhere near him.

He began tearing the house apart, looking for a Bible. He awoke his parents, who soon stood in the middle of the room crying, believing their son had gone crazy.

“A knock came at the door. When I opened the door, there was the old man I had seen in my vision. He handed me a package. I unwrapped the package to find the Bible for which I had been praying. I took that Bible as a loaf of bread and began reading morning and night, even by moonlight, as we had neither candles nor kerosene. Knowing neither night nor day I read that precious book,” he reports.

“I started from Matthew, reading and memorizing. When I got to Acts, the Holy Spirit began moving in my heart. When I read Acts 1:8, I realized that the ‘Holy Dragon’ my mother had talked and preached about was the Holy Spirit. So morning til evening I prayed, ‘Jesus I need the Holy Spirit.’

“The Holy Spirit came upon me in the midst of my prayer so that I started to sing a song that I had never heard. The whole village heard that song, and they began to sing it with me over the next few days as that song continued to echo within me and from my lips.”

Later the man was called to preach. After being imprisoned three times he eventually left China but continues in Christian service.

— 15 years ago …

The American father stood to his feet and turned to face a gathering of Christians. Fifteen years ago at the end of a summer of ministry in a China megacity, he began, “I remember praying with others that God would call out laborers to the harvest in China.” He didn’t realize then that part of God’s answer to his prayer would be bringing him, his wife and his children to live in China to impact others for the kingdom. Today he speaks with a sense of wonderment about God’s ongoing answer to that prayer through their lives.

— A knock at the door

Shortly after her arrival in China, Lori sat on the sofa in her modest apartment and stared into space. Numb with sadness, she prayed, “What am I doing here God?”

She had just talked on the telephone to her parents in the States and had heard that her critically ill sister would probably not live out the week.

A tapping on the window interrupted Lori’s thoughts. She opened her door to a young Chinese lady who introduced herself as a friend of a friend. Then with little further ado, the visitor said, “I came because I need to ask you what to believe.”

Lori felt joy and affirmation well up in her heart as she began to share the love of Jesus, realizing that God had given her a clear, timely and tangible reminder of his purposes for her in China.

— A mother’s prayers

Growing up in Asia with a Buddhist father and a Christian mother, Annie slept in a bedroom that also doubled as the family idol room. The young Christian was keenly aware of the danger of idol worship and prayed every night for protection from the influence of the evil one.

Many times she heard the prayers of her mother who looked out over the community from a balcony window and interceded for the salvation of her family and friends.

Annie left Asia many years ago. But now she has returned with her husband and their toddlers to share Christ with those who have never heard. Her early childhood exposure to lifeless idols and a faithful mother has given her a passion for sharing the living God.

— Forgiven

Snowflakes were falling lightly as they stood outside their home to videotape the testimony of their friend’s daughter who had just accepted Christ. The 22-year-old new Chinese Christian looked into the camera and expressed it as best she could. “This morning I have 100 sins. Now I have zero. Jesus is wonderful.”

— Overwhelmed

One year ago a young Christian couple felt overwhelmed by the challenge of reaching an ethnic minority group for Christ. Having come all the way to China to reach out to the group, the couple realized they didn’t know where to begin. So they asked hungrily for the prayers of others – and God answered.

The couple was joined a short time later by a team of short-term workers. Using English, the volunteers shared Christ with many students on a university campus.

To the amazement of the young couple, one of those who heard about the Lord and received Christ into his heart was from the same ethnic minority group they had committed to reach. So far as they knew, this was the first believer from that group.

Now, only one year later, there are eight known additional believers in that previously unreached people group. The Christian workers are overwhelmed all over again, but this time it is due to God’s miraculous working.

— Parents’ prayers

Parents of a committed Christian university student were thrilled when they began receiving calls from their son a few years ago asking them to pray that he would have a heart for the nations. As they prayed faithfully according to their son’s request, God gave them a double portion. Not only did their son grow in his passion for world evangelism, but they too received a heart for the nations. Now, as their son continues his university studies in the United States, the parents have already begun serving God in China.

— The reason for the season

As one of the few foreigners living in a China city, Lonnie and his family had to field a lot of questions about Christmas last December. This led to special opportunities in being able to redirect interest in the secular aspects of Christmas to the true meaning of the celebration.

When a new Chinese friend asked Lonnie to speak about Christmas at his place of business, Lonnie offered to show a movie about the meaning behind the holiday. So it was that his businessman friend required all 300 of his employees to view the “Jesus” film.

Two persons accepted Christ immediately after the viewing, and others were impacted in many ways as they came to realize that Jesus is central to the celebration.

— What’s for dinner?

Sometimes all it takes is a home-cooked meal, a video player and the right movie. The Holy Spirit does the rest. A matronly American English teacher has made a lot of friends during her years in China. Her love for the people makes it natural for her to invite students to her apartment to visit over a meal she has prepared.

After clearing the table following one recent meal, she inserted the Jesus film into her video player and disappeared into another room to work while two students — one Christian and one not yet a believer — watched the movie.

Reentering the living room a while later, she sensed that something very significant had happened. “I believe in Jesus!” said the young man who had entered her home that evening as a nonbeliever. The hostess and her two guests — all three of them now Christians — rejoiced together over the Savior’s love. When the two Christian students departed, it was with a promise that they would soon bring more friends to eat a home-cooked meal and watch a movie.

— ‘Why have you come?’

After much prayer, preparation and travel, the team of overseas visitors had just arrived in a new community. They walked into a restaurant and were greeted by the owner, who looked them straight in the eye and asked, “Why have you come?”

Surprising even himself, the team leader replied forthrightly, “We came to tell you about Jesus.”

The Chinese lady responded with excitement, explaining that she had been thinking about her need for God. That afternoon, surrounded by the family and friends, the team showed the Jesus film in her restaurant. With tears streaming down her face, the entrepreneur publicly professed Christ.

— Waiting since age 8

“I always knew it would be like this,” the young Chinese lady exclaimed. Ever since she was 8 years old and had picked up a Bible at the side of the road, she had longed to worship with other believers. Over the years, she had read and reread the Word of God that had come into her possession.

But it was only when she overheard a conversation in a Chinese tea shop last year that she met other Christians. She sat down at the table and began asking questions. Foremost on her heart was her desire to worship with other believers.

Happy to facilitate her yearning, they introduced the woman to a small group of believers. As she began experiencing the body of Christ through worship and service, she was strengthened with new understandings and has now returned to her village to tell others about her fellowship with the Savior and his followers.

— Grandparents’ legacy

Her grandparents planted the first gospel seeds in the man’s life almost 20 years ago. They were living in China for a short time, serving as English teachers. Through them, their second-grade granddaughter became his pen pal.

Now, as a young woman serving in China, that same granddaughter recently experienced the incomparable joy of participating in his baptism.

“It brought tears to my eyes as I sought to grasp this treasure … a lifelong friend … a heritage from my grandparents … a salvation I have longed to see.” As her longtime pen pal emerged from the waters of baptism symbolizing the beginning of his new life, she reflected on the incredible goodness of the Lord and prayed that God would grant him the courage to follow the example of her grandparents by boldly planting the gospel seeds in the lives of others.

— A new family

Serving Christ is not just about giving up one’s homeland and family and friends. It’s about gaining more than one could ever hope for. A Christian worker in China, speaking about those with whom she serves, recounts, “We have more than a dozen kids among us, ranging from infants to teenagers. The adults [are] as young as their early 20s. Most are married. Some are single.

The co-workers have “different mother tongues and different complexions. But when we’re together, it’s like a wonderful family reunion,” the woman says. “Not the kind where there are quarrels and squabbles, but the kind where everyone genuinely likes each other and enjoys being together.”

Citing Mark 10:29-30, she and her family have begun experiencing on the deepest level the meaning of Jesus’ promise that “no one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for my sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he shall receive a hundred times as much in the present age … and in the age to come.”

— Rising from the ashes

The Chinese man gingerly approached the literature distribution table. He stood there awkwardly and expressed reluctance to accept the gift package of spiritual materials.

A Christian worker befriended him and then listened to a heartbreaking yet hope-filled story.

During the Cultural Revolution, the man’s Christian father had been killed. Shortly thereafter, he had burned all of his father’s books.

Thirty years later, while standing in a hotel lobby in Southeast Asia with a heart hungry for the Word of the living God, Christian volunteers lovingly placed a copy of the Bible into the hands of this one who had once lit a fire to try to extinguish God’s Word.

— God was already at work

She came all the way to China to serve God just to find out that he was already at work.

“When I went to China to prayerwalk, we had orientation in Hong Kong,” she recounts. “During our two hours of free time I went with two others on what was the most crowded subway ride of my life to what is billed as the most densely populated square mile in the world. On one corner a skyscraper was being renovated.

“On the plywood board covering the outside, someone had drawn the gospel story from creation to eternity in heaven. Without a word being spoken, we clearly understood the message. And God’s message to me was that I might think I was special, coming all this way to prayerwalk. But he actually was already at work and was just allowing me this opportunity of joining him.”

— The water warmed

During one icy winter in northern China, house church members were holding an outdoor baptismal service when it began snowing and ice started to form on the water.

There were so many people being baptized that one 90-year-old woman had to wait in the icy water for 30 minutes before it was her turn.

She decided she could not wait any longer and started splashing in the water as she praised God for his forgiveness and new life.

“The Holy Spirit came upon all of the people present,” reports a church leader who was there. “It was such a dramatic event that suddenly the water turned warm! Everyone standing in the water testified that God had so heated the water by his power that steam was seen rising up all around the people!”

— Genteel, but blessed, women

They gathered in a hotel room on the last morning of their journey and reflected on God’s goodness. To an outsider, the genteel women might have seemed an unlikely group to have experienced all that God had prepared for them in China.

Some of them had traveled to difficult rural settings to share with Chinese women believers who had come to them with hearts needing to be touched. Others had cast aside their comfort and fear to enter rooms that were packed wall-to-wall with worshippers meeting in secret.

They had shared tears and hugs with their Chinese sisters, profoundly impacted by the testimony and faith of these new friends. One of the ladies spoke of the “glimpse of heaven” that she had experienced when she heard the Chinese believers sing and pray.

“My spirit was so in agreement even though I couldn’t understand the words,” she said. Another lady summed it up, “I will never be the same.” There was silence and a few tears. Heads nodded in agreement.

— 3 key answers to prayer

The Christian worker received three answers to three major questions on one day, and he believes it is because of prayer. First he that he would be able to move to a strategic location. Then he heard that another worker would soon be traveling from another country to join him. Later that day he was introduced to local Christian leaders with whom he could minister to reach a city for Christ.

Not every day will be like that, of course. But when Christian workers in China experience those days, they know it has all come through prayer. They know too that prayer will take them through the less eventful days — even days of discouragement.

— Looking for lost sheep

“Stop the bus! My sheep has jumped off the roof,” he shouted. The mountain highway bus, packed to overflowing with people and piled with luggage and animals on top, was quickly steered to the side of the road. Everyone got off.

While the children played games, dozens of Chinese adults fanned out throughout the rural China community looking for the lost sheep. A Christian worker who had been riding the bus en route to his unreached people group joined in the search.

But the worker’s thoughts were not so much on the missing sheep. He was thinking of the parable of the Good Shepherd. Observing the peasant farmer searching for his one lost sheep, the Christian realized anew the passion that Christ has to seek and save the lost. The worker prayed that in the busyness of his life and ministry, he would never again neglect to “stop the bus” and look for the lost “sheep” around him.

— There’s more?

The Ph. D. student arrived at Bible study with an eagerness that could hardly be contained. The Chinese man had only recently heard of Christ and with an open heart had begun to devour the New Testament. His interest could hardly be contained as he joined in the discussion.

Then someone made a reference to the Old Testament.

Waving his newly acquired copy of the New Testament with one hand, he asked, “You mean there is more than this?” This brilliant young Chinese man, having studied for years to achieve educational success, had never imagined all the spiritual riches that were yet to be found.

— Fruitful witness

One year earlier, the evangelist had led a Chinese lady to salvation in Christ during a brief conversation in an Asian tourist destination. The new believer did not share her contact information with the soul-winner, so he assumed he would never know of her spiritual progress.

“The only thing I could do was to pray that the Lord would cut off her connection to ungodly people and surround her with Christians, and that she would continue to grow in the faith,” he reflected.

Later, however, he received a phone call from an American lady he had never met. Her message warmed his heart. She was a Bible study teacher calling to tell him that the Chinese lady had now immigrated to the United States and was very active in a Christian church in Georgia. The Bible teacher sensed that the seed sower would want to know of the fruit of his witness.

— Sacrifice

A young American mother climbed on a bus with several small children to carry much-needed spiritual materials to another location. At least one of her children was bordering on minor illness, and she herself was ladened with luggage.

They were facing five or more hours on a crowded, smoke-filled rickety bus. She knew that they would be surrounded by strangers and would constantly be subjected to stares.

But willingly sacrificing their needs and their comfort, she and her children climbed on that bus to make a long journey so that others could hear of salvation.

— Awareness of the demonic

During a 50-day leader training session in China, two workers from the West reported spiritual warfare broke out in their room.

Joe, while in bed, reported he literally had seen a demon and felt it as its black form moved over him. Mack dreamed a demon was trying to suffocate him. He woke up to find himself genuinely out of breath.

That night they prayed and felt better, but for the next three nights Joe had trouble breathing and Mack repeatedly sensed a demonic presence.

Mack said later he had prayed and asked God to give him a discernment of spirits, but this was the first time in his life he actually had sensed demons in the room with him.

Such reports of spiritual warfare are not routine but do occur often as the gospel goes forth in China, workers there report.

— Committed learners

They came from all over the northern part of the province. They ranged in age from their early 20s to mid-50s. Many were farmers and some were general laborers. Most had received only the equivalent of an elementary school education.

But they were the leaders of house churches and were hungry to learn. For several days they studied the Word of God from dawn to dusk and beyond. Some were challenged to read the Chinese characters, either because of vision problems or due to their minimal education. Some were shy about sharing in front of the group of 30. Some were initially resistant to a challenge to go forth and train others.

But they had come committed to learning, and at the end of the intensive training time their personal commitments had risen to personally leading 209 people to the Lord, training 142 others to start churches and planting 71 new congregations.

— 8-year-old’s witness

The two patients were in the same hospital. One had chosen to live. One had chosen to die.

The former was an 8-year old Chinese boy who had suffered a heart attack. While in the hospital, he made the decision to follow Jesus and accept the gift of eternal life. The latter was a young Chinese man who, having failed in a suicide attempt, laid in his hospital bed and told others that he wanted to die.

An enterprising evangelist took the little boy to visit with the suicidal man. “Older brother,” the little one said, “why do you want to die? I have a heart problem and the doctors say I cannot live for long. But I met Jesus and know that he loves me. My body hurts every day, but my heart is still happy.” Then he sang a simple song of faith.

The despondent young man cried, but could not speak. One week later, at the funeral service of the little boy, the man decided that he too wanted to live. He accepted Christ into his heart and now, having once tried to destroy his own life, he is now leading others to life in Christ.

— Then came to hail

The American teacher was visiting with a student and his family in a mountain village when the wind began to blow and the thunder started to roll. She stood on the front stoop of the small dwelling and marveled at the power of God as she watched a brilliant display of lightning. When the rain began, she went inside.

Then came the hail which seemed to last forever. The teacher sat silently and prayed for the family.

Eventually the storm subsided, and they all ate supper by candlelight. Early the next morning, they ventured outside to survey the damage which they assumed would be considerable. To their amazement, their crops had survived unscathed. All around them stalks of wheat were bowed and broken, and vegetables were beaten and splattered. But God had miraculously protected the crops at that home. Her student asked her why, and she was able to point to prayer and the power of Almighty God.
Names have been changed for security reasons to protect the workers’ and believers’ ongoing witness in China.

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