A Turning Point

 

It was some days before the Chinese New Year, 2004. My father and I prayed to God for help, we prayed that God would guide us to find a true church that we could feel at home, that would preach truth. Then on the 4th of the New Year, which happened to be a Saturday, I didn't know why but that morning I felt headache and didn't feel like painting. I told my father I wanted to go out for a walk.  My father didn't like me to go out to the nearby river beach alone,  so he suggested we ride bikes together to the city to look for church.

I called a pastor that I knew before and asked if he could give us the address of a church in our city. He gave us. So we rode toward the place which he told us. It was about 40 minutes' bike ride from our home. When we got to the street, we found there were two churches across from each other and both were having service inside. We felt puzzled and didn't know which one to enter. We parked our bikes in front of one of the churches. A man gave us a program schedule and told us there was a music service for New Year celebration inside the church. As I was very fond of singing, especially after I came back from Africa, I said to my father, "We can always go to the other church at any time, but this music service is only once, if we miss it we can't have it again."  So we decided to enter this church.

 We were not disappointed. Actually the service was far beyond our expectation. I had never heard such beautiful choir singing before in China, in four parts of voice. I remember they had altogether 22 programs that day, group singing, duet, choir singing, etc, some were performed by children, very cute and nice. Moreover, although the church was under construction, the stairs didn't even have rails and the floors were bare cement, but I felt there was a family-like atmosphere in the church. Many people came with their aged parents and their little children. After service, I saw them greeting each other as if they had known for many years.  Then we had lunch together in the church. This was my first time to have lunch in the church. In the churches I had been to before, people always went home right after the service,  not knowing each other even after many years. 

 I was thinking about whether we should come back regularly or not,  then an inner voice told me “When you get a good thing, take fast hold of it and do not let it go. So I begged my father, "Let's come to this church every week!" And my father agreed because he also liked this church very much.

So we went to that church every week. Later we found it was a Seventh-day Adventist Church.

By and by, they lent us books to read. We found two new things that we had never heard of before from any other churches, one was they kept Sabbath, the other was they believed it was important to keep Biblical diet.

 I had always felt it not a big issue whether to keep Sabbath or Sunday, I  had thought it was just personally preference.  But the book we read challenged us to find Biblical support for keeping Sunday, and to my amazement I couldn't find any either in Old Testament or in New Testament! I found I really took it for granted to keep Sunday just because so many other Christians did that. Then the book went on to tell us that at first, Christians also kept Sabbath as the Jews, as it was a part of the Ten Commandments. But after Christianity was declared as a national religion by Roman emperor Constantine, things began to change. Because Roman emperors wanted to join Christianity with those Sun worshipping Pagan beliefs so that the country might have the greatest unity. So they promoted Sunday keeping among Christians saying it was because Jesus was resurrected on this day. After papacy was invented, those Christians who insisted on keeping Sabbath were persecuted. Then followed the Dark Ages., when Christians were stripped of the right of reading Bible. Truth was retorted to support the reign of the popes and the Catholic church. Although after Martin Luthur's reform, Bible was returned to common people's hands, there were still many wrong traditions contrary to the Bible teachings in the Christian world. Sunday keeping was one of them. Some wrong beliefs and traditions make many honest and truth-seeking people hate religion, as a result they are alienated from God from whom they could have found truth.

Then about food and diet, the books they lent us told us it was very important for Christians what to eat and how to eat, because we are made of what we eat.  Many years ago when still worked in the factory, I had already realized the close relation between one’s diet and moral and spiritual condition. I found eating meat and fat made my head unable to think clearly and could lower my moral standards unawares. So I had learned to be careful of what I ate. But before I had not known why, now these books told me why. One of the books was Ellen White’s Counsel on Diet and Foods.

The more we learned, the more we believed it was just the church that we prayed for.

 I was looking for job at that time. I had been a teacher, but I felt dissatisfied with the school system and the methods employed in the schools. I prayed for God's guidance. And then I thought why must Christian teachers go to schools that deny God to teach, while so many Christian parents spend so much money to send their children to these schools to study? If parents would only give half of that money to us, we would educate their children in a much better way than those schools. So I told this idea to a sister in our church, she told me the church in Shencheng were already doing that. So I went to Shencheng.

I found it was a lovely and lively church, with a congregation of about 50-60 people, 70-80 at most. But they did a lot of work. They heeded to health diets and set up medical evangelism training program several years ago, then about three years ago, they gathered 14 or so of their children, and employed Christian teachers to teach them in the church. Every Sabbath afternoon, they divided into groups by age and studied Ellen White's works and made discussion. It was this weekly study of truth that gave them wisdom and faith to do the many works that other bigger churches were unable to carry out, because of people's mind being too much influenced by worldly standards and opinions.

 I spent many happy days there with the children and the brothers and sisters. I made some drawings of our daily life, which may be seen at this page:

http://matthew.hitechemall.com/garhvn/Arts/Shencheng/shencheng.htm

They asked me to stay and be the children's art teacher. But I found one of the teachers of the children was a good learner, after I taught her for a few weeks, she learned so well that she could teach the children herself. So I decided to leave there.

Even so, this was a big turning point both for me and for my family.  I had been wandering in the world but now God has opened a way for me to go. Although I still do not know all about my future, but I trust God will continue to lead me, this brings a deep peace in my heart.

When I came back from Shencheng, I had so many new things to share with my family. First of all was how to eat healthily and nutritiously.

Although we had read Counsels on Diet and Foods, left alone by ourselves, we would turn vegetarian diet into mal-nutritious diet. However in Shencheng, I have seen how richly God had prepared for us, it is possible for us to eat like kings and queens without eating flesh. The key is to eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, and to prepare the food deliciously in simple ways, and eat temperately..

For example, we would have two or three kinds of fresh fruits, porridge and bread in the morning, for lunch we would have rice and three kinds of vegetables, flavored only with salt and oil.  Our dinner is very simple, sometimes we eat fruits, sometimes we eat the leftover from lunch. For it is not good to eat too much in the evening. Besides fruits and vegetables and grains, we eat nuts for oil, and drink a lot of water everyday.

Several years ago, my father suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure and cataract. He had been very pessimistic for he thought he would die within a few years. Whenever we met, he would say to me, "I am leaving this world soon, you must think well how to live yourself..." This made me very sad, for I did not know how to help him.

Now since we practiced vegetarian diet,  within half a year, he was healed completely. When he made physical examination, all the results were normal. My father was very happy, he would tell others his experience whenever there is a chance. For this his faith increased greatly.

Concerning health eating, if you are interested, you may read the following article:

http://matthew.hitechemall.com/garhvn/Health/Lawofhealth/Lawofhealth.htm

 

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