“It takes only one person who is faithful and surrendered,” says Huan*, 75.
Huan said it’s easy to plant a church.
She should know. She’s planted about 400.
She said the key to planting a church is the condition of the person’s heart.
“It takes only one person who is faithful, surrendered to Jesus, and willing to consecrate his or her house and time,” she said in an interview. “The person does not need formal theological training. The person only needs to know the story of Jesus.”
Huan planted her first Seventh-day Adventist church by sharing a Sabbath tract with the pastors of a Sunday church in 1988. The church of 1,000 members became Adventist.
She recalled a special church that she planted in 1995 with three people who had no more than an eighth-grade education.
“I discipled them, taught them the Fundamental Beliefs, and gave them Ellen White books to read,” she said. “The first year, they baptized 14. The church started to grow, and now it has 400 members.”
Huan, who serves as a pastor, has lost count of how many churches she has opened over the past 30 years. But her son, who also is a pastor, estimated that the figure stands at about 400.
Huan, 75, sat down with Adventist Mission to discuss the connection between church planting and prayer, daily devotions, and sharing Jesus with others.
The Importance of Prayer
Huan shared with Adventist Mission the importance she assigns to personal and corporate prayer.
“Whenever anything happens, my instinct is to pray. Once I was carrying a heavy load on my bicycle, and the bicycle began to shake. I cried out, ‘Lord, help me!’
“I pray when I wake up in the morning. I thank God for life because it is by the grace of God that I wake up at all. I’m very grateful that I have lived more than 70 years, which is older than both of my parents’ ages put together.
“I ask God to give me the Holy Spirit, and I pray to surrender. I ask God to help me nail self to the cross and to help me carry my cross for the day. I pray that God will help me to live for Him.
“My morning prayer is only about five minutes. I don’t pray for hours. I don’t collect prayer requests and pray for them one by one. I just pray for the requests as I remember them throughout the day. Whenever I remember someone, I pray for that person.
“A prayer that I pray throughout the day is, ‘Lord, have mercy on me.’ Whenever I pray this, I find mercy.
“Once we planted a new church but didn’t have enough money for electricity and water. We needed 8,000 yuan (US$1,150) a month, and the offering only brought in 5,000 yuan. My first reaction was to use my income to cover the difference of 3,000 yuan. But if I did that, then I wouldn’t have money for food. So, I prayed, ‘Lord, you brought us to this new church, so you have to help with the expenses.’
“Two days later, a woman from another city sent 5,000 yuan — more than enough to pay the bills. Ever since then, we always have been able to cover the expenses of this church.”
The Power of Personal Witness
Huan also shared how essential it is for her to share Jesus with everyone around her.
“One time, a cousin told me that she wanted to get a divorce, I said, ‘You need to believe in Jesus.’ I shared Jesus with her for the next ten days. After that, she changed her mind about leaving her husband and became a Christian.
“I shared the gospel with an uncle, a government leader. He said, ‘How did someone as smart as you become a Christian? There must be something good in becoming a Christian.’ So, he became a Christian.
“One day, I learned that a former classmate had been hospitalized for the past month and had just been transferred to my city. When I went to visit him, I saw that one of his friends had tied red strings to his legs.
“‘Why do you have these strings on you?’ I asked.
“He replied, ‘A friend came and blessed me with this red string.’
“‘You’re an educated man,’ I said. ‘How can you be so superstitious?’
“My former classmate explained that the non-Christian friend had received the red string from a fortune teller and had learned that his illness was the result of his refusal to marry several women in a previous life.
“I asked for the red string and threw it away. Then I prayed with my friend and asked him to believe in Jesus.
“The pain went away, but the doctor still insisted on operating. My friend agreed to undergo surgery if I prayed in the hallway near the operating room.
“The surgery and my friend’s recovery were a huge success. He credited my prayers for the miracle.
“I also share Jesus with a group of my former classmates. One day, in one of our get-togethers, my classmate who had been in hospital stood up.
“‘This woman saved my marriage and my life,’ he told them.
“That’s how I share my faith.”
*Adventist Mission is not identifying Huan by her real name or disclosing her location to protect her work.
An earlier, longer version of this story was originally posted by Adventist Mission.