Newsletter December, 2004

ORLANDO CHINESE CHURCH

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

December, 2004


Saved from the Shadow of Death

The greatness and depth of the love of God not only fills the universe, but also touches the hearts of men to inspire gratefulness and praises. Nevertheless, God allows the occurrences of unexplainable things such as affliction and suffering. Through such experiences, men come to realize their own limitation so that they learn to rely on the Lord, who controls the mystery of this universe. His loving hand led my husband through the valley of the shadow of death, and brought us into a closer relationship with Him and a better awareness of His importance in our lives. "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him" (Ps. 34:8).

We went to Florida in 1995 at our retirement, then moved back to New York this past May. As we were still basking in the good fortunate of having escaped the hurricanes swept across Florida in July, a shock came to us on August 26. I woke up from a frightening dream at 1:18am to notice an unusual loud snore from my husband. I tried to wake him but failed. After I came back from the rest room, I called him again but he didn't respond. I rolled him back and forth, and touched his nose to find no breath. I realized that something was wrong. Without panicking, I clothed him with his pajama and called my youngest son. He told me to call 911 at once, but I decided to pray first. His response was "How would that help? Hurry up and call!" Nevertheless, I told him that prayer was more important than calling 911.

"Dear Lord, do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly (Ps. 102:2). He has stopped breathing in a coma, please save not only his body but also his soul, as he hasn't known you yet. May you grant us salvation." With this prayer, the ambulance arrived and took him to the hospital within fifteen minutes. Thanks be to God as he finally waked up in the emergency room two hours later, asking, "¡­Why have you brought me here?" I said, "You should be thankful to God as he has brought you back from the valley of the shadow of death." Later, we found out that he went to bed at 1:15am and that only three minutes later I woke up to find him in that serious condition. I used to sleep in a separate room when I snored too heavily or when I had a cold. It was a miracle that I could have been near by and was so alert this time. It must have been an act of God. Through His grace and mercy, I experienced the first miracle in my life despite all my unworthiness! How can I fully articulate the grace of God? With tears of gratefulness and joy in my eyes, I said, "Lord, why do you love me so?"

With four days' medical exams, the doctors found clog in three of my husband's cardiac arteries and revealed that he was in the danger of a heart attack any minute unless his heart was operated on immediately. My husband went into the operation room at 8:30am on August 30 for a coronary artery bridge until 11:30am. However, the blood clots were found on the wound two hours after the operation, so he was operated on again to get rid of the coagulated blood clots till 4:30pm. The patient was exhausted through the eight hours of torment. We were allowed to see him for only ten minutes once every two hours. During each visit I held his hand and called on the Name of the Lord in prayer, repentance, plea, and gratitude based on His promises. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1). Every time I prayed, the Lord revealed His majesty through guidance and support with His graceful hands. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jer. 29:11-13).

Many a time I was amazed at the great power of God and the changes in my husband. Obedience replaced his stubbornness and joy drove out his sorrow. I strongly believe in the power of the Lord's resurrection. Our Lord Jesus defeated death and came back to life to prove that He is the Son of God and only He can save us from sin and death.

When we first came home from the hospital, he had troubled with his hypertension medicine, which made his blood pressure so low that he would faint. However, if he didn't take the medicine, his blood pressure would be so high that he couldn't sleep. He felt it hard to breathe around 2 or 3am every morning because of the shadow of fear. I prayed for Jesus' blood to wash away our sins. If we confess our sins, our Lord is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I know that he hasn't accepted the Lord into his heart, so his heart is wrapped in darkness in times of trouble. When the unbelievers need light, they find none. We are seldom well prepared for illnesses, aging, and death in our lives. When we are caught unprepared, can we find the way out and can we catch the light? Dear friends, please open your hearts to allow Christ into your life as your Savior. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him (John 3:36).

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me" (Ps. 23:4). Till now, my husband hasn't believed in God. Even though he knows God, he is still struggling to accept Him. However, the Spirit has started working on him with grace, mercy, guidance, and protection. I truly believe that God is with me and supports me with joy and strength. I will never stumble in believing the fulfillment of His promise and will wait for my husband to be reborn in salvation.

I thank all the brothers and sisters who have supported us with love and prayers during the most difficult time of our lives. Through such love in Christ, we were able to walk out of distress and into peace and calm. I will cherish the remaining time of my life to glorify the Name of the Lord and to help others. I am especially thankful during the season of Thanksgiving. Lord, you are full of grace, mercy and indescribable love! You crown the year with your bounty, and your paths drip with fatness (Ps. 65:11). Thank God for bearing my burdens, leading me through storms, and sheltering me from temptations, sin, and death. Jesus is my refuge and the Rock of ages that cleft for me. I testify my faith in Christ and praise Him with thanksgiving!

Zhang

The Nurse Turned To God

My major in college was computer animation. Yet with that degree I for a long time couldn't find a job. I felt that God hated me so much that my unemployment was His punishment. I was very mad at Him.

Then I tried to apply for study in a nursing school, but failed. Thus, I became even angrier and felt my suffering to be quite unfair. When I applied to this school for the second time, I started to feel nervous even a week before the interview. I cried the whole night before interview. At my despair, I called my grandmother. She said, "Patty, kneel down now. I will kneel down with you. Let's pray together." With no other option, I knelt down before God in tears and prayed from my heart for the first time in my life, "Please forgive me for hating you in the past. Now I am totally helpless. Please save me!"

During the interview on the next day, the interviewer said, "Sorry, but we cannot admit you as your reading speed is too slow to make through the course." I didn't know what else to say. In the sad silence, I prayed again in my heart, "God, please save me! I need to be admitted this time." All a sudden, the interviewer said, "Ok. We'll give you a chance, but you are admitted on a probation basis. You can only stay if someone else drops out."

Two month later, I run into this interviewer. She told me, "We had decided not to admit you, but we couldn't reject you after you had begged us in a small and pitiful voice for us to give you a chance." However, I know for sure that I didn't say that. It must have been God who helped me to say that then.

The courses were very hard. There were many organs to remember such as heart, lungs, liver and etc. I also had to remember many very long and difficulty special medical terms, too. When I tried to remember one, I already forgot another. I am certain that I wouldn't have made it through on my own. It was God who accompanied me, helped me, and led me to the end. During my study, I suffered no loss of time from either sickness or hurricanes. The grace of God was far beyond my expectations.

By the end of summer all the nursing courses were finished. While preparing for the nursing license exam, I worked as a volunteer to visit a cancer patient. Feeling sorry for him, I started to wonder whether he was a Christian or not. However, I did not dare to ask because I would not want to remind him of the little time he had left. One day, one of his friends came to visit him from Georgia and asked him, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart?" "No." "Are you willing to accept Him into your heart?" "Yes." With that simple affirmation, the patient was baptized before he passed away in October. This made me realize that leading people to Christ may not be all that difficult after all. I am now more confident about sharing the good news with others.

As the exam date approached, I was certain that I couldn't pass it. During the exam, I prayed as I answered every question. At times, I even asked God, "What is the answer for this one?" Thank God for helping me pass the 85 questions beyond my imagination. Even more surprisingly, I quickly found a job and started to work in November.

But work is no longer my sole purpose in life, since so many things have happened. I have been deeply touched by many people. Once I was under training at a nursing home for the elderly. I was moved to tears by the scene of their singing hymns together. I hoped that I could do more for them. I also met many poor and helpless handicapped and retarded children. I used to discuss with my husband that I would like our children to be smart, handsome, tall, and able to learn a lot of things. However, now I would be very grateful and content if my children will be healthy. I am also grateful that God allowed me to be born healthily and safely.

Looking back at my difficulty in finding a job in the past, I begin to realize the good will of God. He knows us better than ourselves. If I had found a computer animation job, I wouldn't have studied nursing. The truth is that I don't like computer animation much, but I love to be a nurse. Becoming a nurse is truly a gift from God. I am willing to work as a nurse and to follow God's will for the rest of my life.

Patty