Ten years ago, if you meet Ruan Zhuqin, at age 54 then, he could tell your fortune if you wish, at a small fee. Blind since the age of eight, for most of his adult years Ruan earned a living as a fortune-teller, until he came to know Christ eight years ago.
When his fortune-telling business was poor, Ruan, then a widower, decided to train to be a masseur. This step was a turning point in his life. He got to know another blind Christian lady Zhang Yulin, and through Zhang, Ruan heard the gospel for the first time and repented of his sins.
“It’s God’s perfect will that brought Zhang and I together. Getting to know Zhang, I got to know the gospel and prayed to receive Christ. God gave me a second chance in life. Knowing Christ is a turning point in my life. Those who knew me will be able to testify that I have changed. I used to drink and smoke heavily. My temper was so unmanageable that I would frequently scold and even hit others. Now that Christ is in my life, He has helped me kick these bad habits”, shared Ruan. He added, “I felt like I had gone through so much suffering in my life. My only regret is that I did not come to know Christ earlier.”
From Relying on People to Relying on God
Ruan was a widower. His first wife was sighted. He relied heavily on her where-ever he went. But when she died, he had to do things on his own. Some activities which sighted persons would find easy to do proved challenging for him.
“It is not easy for me to go out now that I am now an old man, especially at places where the traffic is heavy.” Ruan added, “I utter a prayer whenever I come to a crowded place: ‘Jesus, you are the only true God whom I believe. I ask that you help me know where I am going. Thank you Lord, Amen.’ In the Bible it is written that when the blind came to Jesus, they could see. When the lame came to Jesus, they could walk.”
Ruan told us why he stopped going to the temple to pray when he became a Christian, He said, “Going to the temple to pray will not work. Our God is the true God. My understanding today is that even though I cannot see, there are no problems too small for God to solve. For example, when I lose my way, I ask people on the streets for directions, but sometimes they would not tell me. I pray and ask God to send his people to help bring me safely to the destination that I need to go. Indeed, God answers! There will always be people who will come forward to help me.”
“That’s why I threw away fortune telling because I truly cannot tell the future! Also it is synonymous to cheating.” Ruan has since converted his makeshift fortune-telling stall to a road-side massage parlor.
Needs of the Blind Christians
Ruan did a rough survey 40 years ago. He travelled to more than 60 counties in Yunnan and met blind people of varying ages. “My view is that if there is a non-profit organization that can help to solve their basic living needs, the gospel would spread even faster. For the blind people, they rely on their parents when they are young. When their parents die, they will rely on their siblings. When there are no siblings, they are forced to a dead end.”
The Kunming Trinity International Church started the Angel Fellowship two years ago to meet the needs of a group of people Ruan termed as “forgotten by society”- they are the physically challenged Christians living in Kunming City. There are currently a little more than 20 members in this fellowship with varying degrees of physical disabilities coming together weekly to study the Bible.
“They have sent a pastor, Pastor Zheng Hui, to oversee this fellowship. We sometimes call her “mama” affectionately. We come together to study the Bible. The Angel fellowship has existed for more than 2 years. I like this fellowship a lot. We have received a lot of help in the fellowship which has currently more than 20 members,” Ruan told us with a smile.
Story: Ms YEO Tan Tan and Ms Pamela Choo
Photos: Ms YEO Tan Tan and Davis Yap
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership