Serving as a pastor in China can require those shepherds to carry the burdens of ministry alone. This is especially the case for pastors of isolated rural congregations. A 316NOW faculty member writes about visiting with the pastor of a church in China’s countryside.
One day we shared with each other from morning 6:00a until early the next morning.
My heart was heavy as I heard that two of this church’s members had recently committed suicide. One was convinced that his sin was too much for God to forgive. For many months he struggled in desperate self-accusation.
When he could take no more, he chose to end his life by drinking pesticide.
But he did but not die immediately. Instead, he writhed in horrible pain for hours.
He frantically tried to call people for help. But no one answered. Then he took a second drink of the pesticide – and died.
How tragic! This poor soul lost focus on the gospel. There are no sins God hasn’t forgiven completely.
At the heart of everything 316NOW teaches Chinese church leaders is this: “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.... He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.... He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 1:7,9; 2:2).
This Thanksgiving week 316NOW is celebrating the thousands of Christians whose prayers, gifts, and volunteering make our ministry to Chinese Christians possible. Through you the good news of God’s forgiveness–no matter the sin–is being shared throughout China.