“Even-though it felt like the church threw us away like rubbish and we were made to feel like beggars, I knew that God will never forsake His own and I continued praying for God’s intervention. Times were tough but we kept our faith alive, despite hardships” This was how Zhang Jiangong expressed his feelings when he met his foreign brothers and sisters-in-faith again after a separation of mote than eight years.
Zhang Jiangong, is one of seven District Evangelists who served under the leadership of the dismissed Chinese Apostle Daniel (Li Wei) Wang. He had been a member of the Chinese New Apostolic Church for 20 years and is married with one child. The couple’s parents are also active New Apostolic Church members in China. After his service in the Chinese military, both him and his wife, Xiang Li, worked full time for the Chinese New Apostolic Church, until Daniel Wang’s dismissal from the Apostle ministry.
With the dismissal of Daniel Wang from the Apostle ministry, they, and many others, lost their only source of income, as they worked for the Chinese New Apostolic Church. They lost everything, including their home and in order to survive (having a place to sleep, a meal to eat and taking care of their, then 5 year old, son), they resorted to collecting plastic bottles for recycling and became street vendors by selling various goods on the streets. It is estimated that more than 10,000 Chinese members (including ministers) were discarded by the New Apostolic Church as a result of the dismissal of the Chinese Apostle Wang.
When he was contacted by his foreign New Apostolic brothers and sisters with a request to meet, he could not contain his excitement and extended a warm welcome. He waited for more than an hour on the street for these members. On arrival the visitors were received with warm, welcoming hugs in their home and very soon they were excitingly catching up on the past eight years of absence.
These foreign NAC members met their Chinese New Apostolic Church members for the first time during 2006 and a very close friendship developed. They attended divine services together, joined in choir singing and also organized many joint social trips to explore China. When the young South African New Apostolic brother and sister decided to get married, Zhang Jiangong and his wife assisted them to purchase clothing and other items for their wedding, which was planned and scheduled to take place in South Africa. The visit to the Zhang family, therefore, also provided an opportunity for the young couple to show the Zhang family the video and pictures of the couple’s wedding which took place in South Africa.
Zhang Jiangong was always very passionate about spreading the Gospel of Christ and, after discussions with his wife, they decided that she would work for the household and he would pursue his passion to spread the Gospel of Christ, full-time. He felt that the new contact and visit by his foreign New Apostolic brothers and sisters was proof that God still loved them and has never forsaken them. He was now committed, more than ever, to continue with the work of God in China and to keep his faith alive!