Editor’s note: For Americans, today is Thanksgiving, a special day of remembering and giving thanks for the many ways in which we have been blessed. As we at CP celebrate twenty years of God’s faithfulness to our work in China, we are grateful to share today testimonies from two Chinese believers about how God has blessed them through our partnership with the Chinese church. Little Ai talks about how her call as a Christian is to lay down her life and follow Christ in the way of the cross. Hu Yongjie reminds himself that God is in control, and his part is to follow Jesus wherever he leads.
These reflections have been lightly edited for clarity and length.
China Partnership: How have you seen transformation in your life and in your ministry since you became involved in this gospel movement in China?
Little Ai: I learned to reflect more on myself, to analyze my motives and the idols in my heart, and to dig deeper without fear. I can do this because I believe that God, who is a thousand, million times bigger than the universe, has died for me. I need repentance at all times, because sin catches up with me as often as Pharaoh. I need the blood of Christ at all times.
After my conversion, my life did not become more holy. Instead, I saw more of my own filthiness and how much I needed Christ. One time, I had just humbly relied on Christ to successfully counsel a sister. I was so excited then! But the next moment, I realized that I was waiting for her to tell others how I had helped her. I was waiting for others to affirm and praise me. I shared my inner filth with my husband, telling him: “One minute I can rely on Christ to live for him—but I so quickly give this glory to myself. I need the Lord to be in my heart all the time.”
As for ministry, being in a gospel movement has given me an opportunity to meet more church pastors and their wives, to hear many stories of salvation, to see what God is doing in different cities, and to expand my horizons. God has also shown me how he has equipped and blessed me. On one hand, this helps me to serve my family and church more on the ground. On the other hand, I am glad to have an opportunity to serve pastor’s wives, so that my life can be a blessing to others.
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Hu Yongjie: I’m a church planter in Shanghai. I identify myself as the fruit of this gospel movement. The first time I joined the basic training in a tiny, dark apartment in Shanghai, it was intense and overwhelming, but I still remember one thing: the speaker distinguished the difference between the gospel, and the fruit of the gospel. For me, coming from a legalistic church, that training opened the door of Narnia.
Later, I became fully involved in this gospel movement. I observed what God has been doing through all the men and women in this movement as they are, day by day, preaching and teaching the gospel, practicing church planting and growing a vision for their city, and experiencing gospel renewal in the midst of every aspect of their life and ministry. I have been renewed in my personal life, my marriage, my parenting, through seminary, and also in ministry by this same gospel I preach week after week. I expect this change will keep on going. This is a movement of the Holy Spirit.
CP: If you could speak to yourself five years from now, what advice would you give your future self? What is one thing you would tell yourself to hold onto and remember?
Little Ai: I would remind myself that I am walking on the path of Calvary, not the catwalk. I can’t help but want recognition, affirmation, and praise. I want to be a hero. But this is not the way of Calvary, but a catwalk, where lights are bright and applause and flowers are given. The way of Calvary is the path of the cross, which the Lord has already walked. The way of Calvary is full of denial, rejection, and humiliation.
I will hide in the Lord at all times, and the spotlight will be on him. He is the king of kings, and he has justified me, regardless of my performance. All that I do is to draw the spotlight to this Lord, not to myself. All that I do is to lead people to see the glory of the Lord. The Lord will prosper, and I will decline.
Hu Yongjie: Maybe I would tell myself to sleep more, as the One who kept the Israelites never sleeps. Remember, we are agents. I would tell myself to believe what I have been preaching. There will be times we feel God is absent or distant. But, if we really believe Scripture, that feeling is the sign of God’s presence. Worship him, because he has been good to us. This is in the perfect tense [a completed action] on the cross.
CP: What is one big prayer request you have that would be impossible without God’s power and help?
Little Ai: Dear Heavenly Father,
Help me to become the woman you created me to be. Help me to honor and obey my husband, not to despise him; help me to be his helper, not to compete with him. I also pray that all pastors’ wives will understand and appreciate God’s call to their husbands. God’s call is not wrong. God will accomplish what he has called you to. May these women not be consumed by daily child-rearing and housework, full of pity and complaints for their situation. Instead, may they joyfully bring up their children in the gospel, preparing three meals a day and doing housework in service to God.
Please let pastors’ wives be free from the expectations of their congregations, not bound by those expectations. Let pastors’ wives be free from the expectations of their husbands, not bound by their husband’s expectations. May these women live in the freedom given by the gospel. Guard each pastor’s family from the devil’s attacks and from the temptations of the Evil One, so that they may be faithful to and love one another. May you protect these families, so that pastors will have strength to minister to the flock you have given them, not out of reluctance, but out of willingness; not out of greed for money, but out of pleasure. Let the pastor’s family be a blessing to brothers and sisters, so that the church may become a true community that bears witness to this crooked and perverse generation and leads people to Christ.
May your children live in peace, joy, and courage in all circumstances as they expect your return. All glory be to you! In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen!
Hu Yongjie: Nothing would be possible without God’s help and his power. The biggest prayer is that I would be courageous to pray the first two petitions of the Lord’s prayer. “Thy kingdom come” means it is not my kingdom; “thy will be done” means it is not my will. I need faithfulness and courage from God to pray this, because when our Lord Jesus Christ prayed that prayer, he went to the cross. So I shall bear my own cross and follow him.
Little Ai is married to a preacher, lives in a city on the southeast coast of China, and is studying for ministry alongside her husband. Hu Yongjie is a church planter in Shanghai who enjoys trail running in his spare time.
Would you join us in celebrating 20 years of supporting the church in China by giving an anniversary gift today?