Testimonies of Healing in China
In China, the following testimonies are typical of the part healing prayers play in evangelism. Below are several testimonies from Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing, Oxford University Press, 2011. Each of these testimonies have been peer reviewed and verified for publications.
A common testimony 1
I used to be a party member . . . . So of course I was an atheist, I didn’t believe in anything. But then my daughter contracted some kind of heart disease . . . . We were so poor; we didn’t have much money for expensive treatments. At that time, someone introduced the Gospel to me. I started to pray and became a believer . . . . My daughter also believed. After ten days, she could leave the hospital because she was much better. After that, my whole family became Christian. . . . And the really miraculous thing is: Since then, none of us has ever been back to the hospital ever. We didn’t have to spend one penny on health care! 
A common testimony 2
My neighbor fell seriously ill. She was hospitalized, but the doctors couldn’t help her…. She tried what she could to regain her health. Finally she said, “I will try and become a Christian now, then the other Christians will come to pray for me. Perhaps that will help.” The woman was indeed healed! 
Testimony of a peasant woman from Li Shuying
(In this testimony, the distinction between the spirits of Daoism and the Jesus of Christianity is clearly seen. Especially note how the peasant women is awed by Jesus’ graciousness. She emphasizes that Jesus does not demand money or sacrifices, but simply responds to prayers and hymn singing.)
About ten years ago, I suffered from serious anemia. I fainted frequently; but in order to earn a living, I had to sell fruit every day on the streets. One day, I overheard someone say that I was possessed by six demons. I was very frightened and asked the help of a sorceress. I spent a lot of money with her, but my health was not a bit improved. Another day, while selling fruit, I heard some strangers reciting unfamiliar words which I later learned were the Ten Commandments. These people claimed that Jesus was the greatest god and could heal the most stubborn illness. I hurried home to tell my husband what I had heard on the street, adding that I was determined to seek this greatest god. My husband, however, mistook the word Jesus for Zushi [founder of Daoism], because the two sound familiar in Hakka. But I knew it could not be Zushi, for I remember clearly that this god, Jesus, did not take chickens or ducklings as offerings. Then, months later, I came across a preacher named Jiang Yunying and I inquired about Jesus. She first taught me to sing a hymn of praise. I was so anxious to seek God, I memorized the whole hymn and it has stayed in my heart: “Opening the door we see the blue sky. Do not worry about firewood, or about money. Do not worry about rice, or about clothing. For all these are in the hands of the Lord.” . . . Every Sunday I asked my husband to take me [to church] to Huacheng by bicycle, a journey of 17 miles one way. It was through [the preacher’s] influence that I learned to be an honest person. Like all hawkers, I too often gained extra advantage at the expense of the customer. To be a Christian means that I must never cheat again. In practical terms, I lost money in my business. This antagonized even my own mother, but I cared little about the derision and taunting of others. On the contrary, I felt enthusiastic and shared with them what I learned from the church. Now, my anemia is gone, my whole family, including my mother, are Christians, and my business is good. With all these blessings, how could I ever forget to thank the Lord? 
Testimony of a professor turned preacher
A retired physics professor turned preacher in Jiujiang (Jiangxi Province) relayed to the interviewers an account of how he came to believe in divine healing.
While traveling to villages around his city, he was approached by a farmer who had a tumor the size of a soccer ball on his leg. This farmer had been to a hospital and was informed that his condition was too serious to be remedied by any other (Western or traditional) cure than an operation. Like most farmers in China, however, he lacked health insurance, and the necessary operation would have cost more than he earned in a year. He thus had few options besides asking prayer for healing. As a scientist who had worked in an ideological environment of enlightened materialism and as a church worker trained in “western” theology, the preacher was skeptical about divine healing. However, due to the farmer’s urging and out of love for this poor, stricken man, the preacher gave in and said a prayer, since he could not help him financially. When he visited the village again a few weeks later, the farmer came running toward him, greeted him enthusiastically, then pulled up one trouser leg to show him that the tumor had all but disappeared. 
Testimony from a female leader in Shaanxi Province
The healing of my daughter was just the beginning of my faith. But there is a lot of faith healing around here. In most cases, people first start asking about Christ when they are sick. They don’t have any other way to go. To believe in Christ is their last resort, when nothing else is possible. When they have received Christ, they also realize the need for change and repentance. Of course, those who are ill and experience other obstacles on their life roads need to believe in Christ, but those who don’t have these obstacles need to believe even more . . . . Because we don’t just believe in Jesus for reasons of our flesh, our body. We need the salvation of our souls. Faith is not just for now, it is also for the future . . . . So, if you are healed, you should believe, but if you are not healed, you should also believe. Because faith is not only for our life on earth. 
China church DNA: Prayer, Care and Love
The connection between religious conversion and healing from an illness may not always be as simple as the testimonies suggest. As Oblau has pointed out, healing prayer is practiced in a natural way by everyone. Thus, it is not an isolated ritual abstracted from the context of community but an integral part of life in community. It is one aspect of the loving, comforting, and supportive attention shown to the hurting by the church.
So it is not just a spectacular healing that brings Chinese people to the faith but also the care for one another observed by outsiders. Oblau notes that in his own experience, many attest to seeing the apparent commitment and care with which the church representatives keep visiting their members in the hospital. Such observations produce appreciation often leading to curiosity. Further, in China, family is important. The virtues of loyalty and love within the family are common. Yet rarely, if ever, does it extend out beyond the bounds of blood. What makes Christianity so attractive in China is the expansion of traditional family values to the extended family of the church. That people help each other though they are not blood relatives causes astonishment and admiration from outsiders. Even when prayers do not seem to bring immediate healing, those receiving prayer are often observed to experience a betterment of life. A spectacular recovery often gets people’s attention, but it is the care and familial bond among the faithful that makes Christianity attractive.
Oblau points to a holistic view of healing as a central of the Chinese church’s view of divine healing. It is never about a Holy Spirit whammy. Where everything is made right in a moment, almost magically, like the end of a Disney movie. God never works that way for we are all works in process. Pastors should also not work that way. It takes more than an a hand on your forehead with a strong shazam to bring wholeness. It takes community, not celebrity, to make people whole. This consumeristic, prepackaged, Amazon-shipped, view of healing that claims instantaneous cures without personal engagement and community involvement is a doctrinal virus in need of eradication. Divine healing can happen in a moment. The dead are raised. The lame walk. God moves in power and the sick are made whole. But that is not the end of the story, only the beginning, the start of a path to wholeness if one is willing to walk it.
The Chinese church understands that the gospel brings wholeness. The healing found in Christianity extends to all aspects of life; relational, physical, spiritual, emotional. Yet, this process happens as prayer, care, and the love of Christ are practiced in community. In this way, God’s healing power is experienced as love and care are actualized in terms of social support, nurturing human relationships, and improved living conditions. In this sense, healing is a process of unfolding wholeness. So in reality, a personally experienced health crisis, help received, and betterment felt (with or without full healing) becomes the starting point for the majority of converts in China’s churches.
In the next blog, we will look deeper into the Chinese church’s holistic view of healing. Also see our playlist on healing found on Remnant’s Youtube page
 Währisch-Oblau, interview, Shaanxi Province (1997).
 Währisch-Oblau, interview, Zhejiang Province (1991). These events took place during the Cultural Revolution, when all religious activities were officially banned.
 Areopagus: Magazine of the Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre (Advent 1993): 28.
 Währisch-Oblau, field notes (Feb. 1993).
 Währisch-Oblau, field notes, Shaanxi Province (1997).
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