Wang Zhengxiang hails from the Waishu Miao ethnic minority group. He grew up as a 2nd generation Christian. When he was 17, Wang lost his father to an illness and his mother had to shoulder the responsibility as the sole breadwinner. To alleviate the family’s financial burden, he worked long hours by taking on mining work at the town’s local coal mining factory. The pay was meagre; the poor yield from his family’s small plot of farm land was not sufficient to pay for daily household expenses.
With what little savings he had, Wang married at the age of 21, but tragic struck four years later. He lost his wife to a fatal disease. Single-handedly, he raised their son. Not long after, his siblings introduced him to a young lady from the same town; Wang remarried and had two sons from his second marriage.
Due to lack in sufficient finances, life continued to be hard for the young family. When Wang found out that a coal mining factory in Hebei Province was offering double the current wages he had been receiving, he left home for the new job offer. A few months later, Wang was severely injured during a work-related accident. He was struck by a huge boulder that fell from above while extracting coal in the mines, hundreds of meters underground. As a result, he suffered broken ribs and fractured pelvis bones, not to mention head injuries too. Recounting the incident, Wang shared, “If not for God’s preservation, I would have died in the accident.”
After the near-fatal accident, Wang spent close to a year recuperating from his injuries. Even after recovery, he was no longer able to engage in laborious activities. As he could not secure employment due to the injuries he had suffered, the family’s financial situation deteriorated. To add on to his woes, he was involved in a traffic accident, which resulted in the accidental death of a person. As a result, Wang was sentenced to imprisonment for one year. “During the time I was incarcerated, I asked my family to bring me my copy of the Bible and the hymnal book. Although I am not well educated, I was eager to read the Bible again after all these years. During all the free time I was allocated, I would read the Bible and sing hymns.”
Wang was released from prison in late 2007. Through the sale of live poultry his family owned, he could set up a small-scale workshop, and worked as a carpenter. Some years later, he switched to selling snacks and knick knacks from his home.
“I took every opportunity to share God’s goodness in my life. Some folks were encouraged by my sharing and even pointed out that the Lord had shielded and protected me despite the challenges I have experienced.”
Wang is determined to serve the Lord while he is still able to. Referring to Joshua 24: 15, Wang said, “We must serve God under all circumstances. I want to serve Him all of my days.” Since his release from prison, Wang has been faithfully serving in his local church as a lay preacher, in the areas of sharing the Word and in prayer ministry.
Bible reference books and materials are precious tools for Wang and other lay preachers who struggle with financial needs. “The Bible reference books have helped us tremendously! We have learnt so much from these books, and have a much deeper understanding of the Bible. This has helped us in our sharing of God’s word to our brothers and sisters in the church congregation. We have all benefitted greatly!”
Let us continue to pray for lay preachers in China, like Wang, who may not have much resources in many areas, but who continue to serve God faithfully through the seasons. May they seek strength and comfort from the Lord and His Word always!
Story: Lydia Zhang and Elaine Ho
Photo: UBS CP
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