A Heart of Service – From Fashion Retail to Preaching

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Ms Wang Hongzhi was very delighted to receive Biblical resources from Anhui Theological Seminary with support from UBS. (Photo: Provided by Wang Hongzhi)

ANHUI, China – Preacher Wang Hongzhi, 34, used to be surrounded with shirts and dresses. From her appearance, you can tell she is somebody with fashion sense. Yet, the Lord had other plans for her. In 2015, she felt the call of God to become a full-time preacher and closed her small clothing business in Beijing.

“My mum’s faith has influenced me. Even when she fell very ill and was diagnosed with late stage kidney cancer, she asked me, ‘What would happen to the church?’ She has been a fervent church volunteer and her love and concern for the church has moved me.”

When the doctors told Wang that her mother might be bedridden permanently, Wang prayed that if God made her mother well, she would dedicate herself to serving Him. “I was helpless and desperate,” recalled Wang.

The Lord not only made her mum well but also gave her a burden to serve in full-time ministry as she attended a lay preachers’ training. There she saw the needs of the believers, the majority of whom are the elderly.

Now, as a seminary graduate from Anhui Theological Seminary serving in her hometown church in Lujiang county, Wang often feels inexperienced and that her Biblical knowledge was insufficient. “I could not provide deep pastoral care for the believers in a deeper way,” she humbly said.

As a preacher, Wang desired to read more Biblical books and sought to bring insights from the Scriptures to believers whom she shepherds.

"I myself need to understand the truths in the Bible before preaching them to others."

To improve her preaching, she would share her written sermons to the elders in her church. Wang candidly talked about how she appreciated the frank advice from the elders who inspired her to pursue continuous growth and improvement.

Thus, Wang was delighted when she finally received a set of Biblical books that were delivered to her late from Anhui Seminary due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Biblical resources, which were supported by the United Bible Societies, aim to help preachers minister God’s Word more effectively.

Instead of clothings and fabrics, she now surrounds herself with biblical resources. She expressed the joy of receiving the Commentary on the Gospel of John among the other books received. "I was particularly fond of the Bible Commentary series. I had thought about buying the whole volume myself, but it was too expensive."

"Tien Dao Bible Commentary – John", was among a set of practical Biblical resources to equip preachers to minister the Word of God more effectively. (Photo: UBS CP)

These resources provided the views of various Bible scholars and commentators, and offer comprehensive and credible explanations for the Scripture. According to Ms Wang, these books have helped her understand the Scriptures better and improved the depth and clarity of her sermons.

Recently, Wang was grateful to be able to preach a sermon titled "Jesus Wept" with the help of the commentaries on John Chapter 21 of the Bible. She was glad to see the believers responding well to the message, with some members who were moved to tears.

In her heartfelt words, Ms Wang remarked that no person can fulfil the Great Commission alone. God puts us in our respective positions and gives us different missions, and we do our best in these positions to serve him.

“These books are not always readily available for preachers. My sincere gratitude goes out to the people who donated these valuable biblical resources and to the United Bible Societies. May God remember all your generosity, and all the work you have done behind the scenes for Him.”

Let’s pray for Wang Hongzhi and many preachers in China that they would remain strong and unwavering in their commitment to serving God.

 

Story: Cynthia Oh and Marcus Xiao
Photo: Provided by Wang Hongzhi
2023@UBS China Partnership