At the recent leaders training organised by OM China, the team visited a small town in Eastern China and met Desmond, a pastor of a 1000-member church, which he started seven years ago. When asked how he ended up in this part of China, which is a five-hour drive from his hometown, Desmond shared his story.
As the first-born to a Chinese woman, who is a devout Christian, his mother prayed frequently to God since he was a young child that God would use Desmond for His purpose. When he grew up, his mother tried to talk him into doing full-time ministry. This was, however, not Desmond’s plan. His priority was to find a well-paid job so that he could enjoy his life. Desmond finally found a job as a welder.
One day, an explosion happened while he was at work. Desmond could feel the flames burning on his face. At that moment, many things raced through his mind. He thought he would lose his life, but he was not willing to leave the world so soon. All he could do next was pray to God, begging Him to save his life. He promised to serve God all his life. After he uttered these words, miraculously, he felt the fire stop burning his face, and he was able to crawl to safety, to the surprise of his co-workers.
Desmond was hospitalised, as his face was badly burnt. While undergoing treatment, he had forgotten about the promise he made to God. He had no intention to fulfill it now that he was out of danger.
However, this was not the end of his problem. The new skin on his face that began to grow would fall off almost immediately. His face was badly scarred. There was little that the doctors could do to help him, and they told Desmond that he would have to live with a scarred face for the rest of his life.
Desmond was discharged from the hospital and rested at home. He would put on a mask to hide his ugly face whenever he went out. Not wanting to do so for the rest of his life, Desmond prayed to God again and promised to serve Him if God would heal him. His prayer was answered: the skin began to grow on his face, and even his doctors were amazed at the result. Today, no one would be able to tell from his face that he has gone through such an ordeal.
Once he had fully recovered, Desmond’s heart started to wander again. He failed to honor his words to God. He started another job. But God did not give up on him.
One day on the way to work, Desmond jumped over a hedge. He landed on the ground and felt a sharp pain in one of his legs. The pain did not go away for days. He consulted the doctors, but their examination showed that there was no injury. Finally, he knew that there was only one possibility – he had to go back to God and ask for His forgiveness. God healed him again, and Desmond finally gave his life to God this time.
Desmond enrolled in a Bible school to prepare for his ministry. He was later sent by his school to the mountainous regions to plant churches among the minority tribes and to fill an open position to pastor a small church of 20 members.
On the day of his arrival, he was surprised to find that his house and the church were next to a pigpen. The stench from the pigpen drove away his members, causing his church to dwindle further in size. If not for his mother’s encouragement and insistence, Desmond would have quit at the earliest opportunity. Even though he persisted, things did not pick up immediately.
After two years, when he failed to produce much result, his home church decided to stop his financial support. At that crucial moment, his wife encouraged him to continue with what God has called him to do. To make ends meet, she took up a job to support the family. Even today, she works as a housekeeper.
Without the financial burden, Desmond began to rethink his strategy and assembled a team of eight people who became his core workers. From this team, they began to build their church. Now seven years later, the church has grown to 1000 members. The venue where the OM training took place serves as a church and also as a small Bible school for their young people. Besides training their young people as preachers, some of them are trained as musicians.
This is truly a great testimony of how God has used a once-willful man and two faithful women in his life to build His church in this part of the country.
Desmond’s church now faces a pressing need to look for a new place, as the current location is scheduled by the local authorities to be demolished. Please pray for God’s provision to meet their needs for a new centre and the finances to bear the higher rental.