Daddy, do not be afraid!
When I opened the door to the
hospital ward, I saw my father-in-law holding tightly onto the two sides of the
hospital bed, staring at the ceiling and trembling all over. My wife quickly
told him, “Daddy! Do not be afraid!” But he continued to shiver. His hands
continued to grasp sides of the bed tightly until
in the morning.” Bro. Yang Jianzhang recalled how his father-in-law, a gentle
and upright man, who has never done anything against his conscience, faced the
threat of death, how he walked through the “valley of death”, and how he was
filled with fear about the unknown world.
However after my father-in-law was
baptized, he was able to sing, “I am going back.” He knew where he was going, and so he became completely
serene and calm”. Yang Jianzhang
personally witnessed the difference in the mental and emotional state of his
father-in-law before and after he was baptized, and cannot help but testify about
this wonderful act of God.
I do not need a religion
Chai Jingzhu (The father-in-law of
Bro. Yang Jianzhang, Sis. Chai Cunhui’s father) is from the county
of Pingtung, Taiwan. He was born in 1929, and worked as a teacher
School for 44 years, sacrificing his entire life
to the research and promotion of education in the arts.
“My father was a humble, kind,
optimistic, forbearing and sincere man, who was a good teacher, a good husband
and a good father.” Was how Chai Cunhui
described her father. Yiang Jianzhang
recalls him as “a man who led a simple life, he did not have any vices, he was
a gentle and amiable man, who did not quarrel with people. Even before he believed in the Lord, he
behaved so much like a Christian.”
However the more self-discipline
and self-respect he had, the more difficult it was for him to accept the
Chai Cunhui was the sole believer
of the family. After she got married to Yang Jianzhang, the both of them
thought constantly about preaching the gospel to her parents. However her father always said, “As long as
a man does not do anything against his conscience, there will be nothing to
fear, and naturally he will lead a good life.
If all young people have their own religion, then who will worship the
ancestors!” His words made them feel
really helpless. However, with the
protection of God, he passed by each day smoothly and peacefully. As such, Yang Jianzhang and his wife did not
feel any sense of urgency to preach to her parents.
This urgency arose 15 years ago,
when Chai Cunhui’s mother passed away due to gastric cancer. Unwilling to
trouble his children, her father Chai Jinzhu insisted on residing alone. However, Chai Cunhui worried constantly about
her father and called him daily to ensure that he was alright. She also tried to convince her father to come
to the north to stay with them, however, he often brushed off the suggestion.
In September 1998, she finally
managed to convince her father to come and stay in Taipei. (Upon his insistence, it was arranged for him
to reside in a five star senior citizens condominium – Runfu Xinxiang, located
in the vicinity of the residence of Yang Jianzhang and wife.) Yang Jianzhang thought to himself, “The
opportunity has finally arrived!”
However, after moving to Taipei,
Chai Jinzhu became even busier. During
his treatment for diabetes, he came to know Dr. Hong Jiande, and with his
encouragement, he took up a job as an art teacher for art classes conducted
specially for diabetic patients. He did
such a great job teaching art that even the media came to interview him. Everytime Yang Jianzhang and his wife invited
him to church, he would either say that he was too busy and that there was no
need for him to go.
Fear during serious illness
In March 2000, Chai Jinzhu came
down with a cold which lasted for longer than a month. After one month, there was still no signs of
recovery. His daughter brought him to
the doctor, and after further tests it was confirmed that he had contracted
lung adenocarcinoma, and that the cancer cells had spread to the bones. Chai Jinzhu was in the fourth stage of cancer
and the doctor estimated that he will most probably live for only another half
a year. “In order to give father the will
to live on, we only told him that it was cancer, but did not tell him that it
had spread to the bone.” Chai Cunhui
suppressed her sadness when telling her father about his condition, but deep
inside her, her heart felt very heavy.
She knew that the happy moments, free of worries, that they used to
enjoy in the past were now gone, and that the way ahead of them would be a very
During the treatment period, Chai
Jinzhu endured all types of pain and suffering without a word or murmur. With the mercy of God and the meticulous care
of Chai Cunhui, he lived peacefully for another year.
However in 2001, after Chai Jinzhu
had undergone 32 times of chemotherapy, he began to feel the pain where the
cancer cells spread to his bones. The tumor wrapped around his lumbar, and the
pressure from his pelvis resulted in him not being able to stand, making him
only able to move around in a wheelchair.
With the advice of the doctor, he began to undergo radiotherapy. Unexpectedly, his condition worsened with
each day, and he became weaker and weaker, throwing up even any bit of water
that he drank. Yang Jianzhang and wife had
to send their father to the hospital once again.
On November 3rd, it was the tenth consecutive
day that Chai Jinzhu had not taken any food.
At that day, the
hospital informed them that Chai Jinzhu was in a critical condition. When Yang Jianzhang and his wife rushed to
the hospital, they saw their father staring at the ceiling, with both his hands
grabbing tightly onto the hospital bed and his entire body trembling…. “This
was the first time I saw my father in-law in such a state of great fear. When he was well and healthy, he often
emphasized that as long as a person did not do anything against his conscience,
there will be nothing that he needs to fear.
However in actual fact, for a person who does not know the Lord, because
he does not know where he will be going after he closes his eyes, he will feel
terrified.” Yang Jianzhang saw how
fearful his father in-law was when faced with death. He did not even dare to sleep but continued
to tremble in fear.
Subsequently, the doctor suggested
that they send Chai Jinzhu to the hospice.
It was only then that Yang Jianzhang and his wife realized that their
father was not going to “return home” with them anymore.
Pray to God to bestow him spiritual life
On November 10th, after Yang Jianzhang
attended Sabbath service, he decided to go to the MackayHospital to take a look at the
environment of the hospice. When a
sister got to know about this, she said, “Your father in-law is so severely
sick now, why is it that you still have not brought him for baptism?” When Yang Jianzhang heard this he felt very perplexed
and helpless. He thought to himself, “For the past 19 years, we have been
trying to preach to him but did not have an opportunity. Now that he is so
severely ill, how would he receive baptism？”
The next day on November 11th,
Yang Jianzhang went to Banqiao for fellowship and lessons. However he continued
to worry about his father in-law’s hospital transfer, and he felt very upset,
as the doctor told him that his father in-law would only live for another one
more month. As he drove, he tuned into
various channels on the radio, and unexpectedly he heard the True Jesus Church
radio channel. He immediately stopped at this channel, and listened to the
testimony of how Bro. Chen Rencai dedicated himself to become a preacher.
During Chen Rencai’s gastric
cancer operation, after the doctor has made the incision, he came out of the
operating room to tell his wife, “If I continue with the operation, your
husband will die on the surgery table today.”
However Mrs Chen said, “We believe in the Lord, just go and do what you need
to do!” This testimony deeply moved Yang
Jianzhang and he felt a great source of strength welling up from within.
After he returned home, he promptly
told his wife: “Our father does not have much time left. In the past we often said that we want to
preach to father, now we should grab hold of the opportunity to ask God to
bestow father with spiritual life.” That
night, the both of them prayed about this matter in one accord.
The next day, on the morning of November
13th, Yang Jianzhang called his parents in Pingtung, as well as the brethren in
Danshui church, requesting them to pray about this. He also called the resident preacher of the
Danshui church at the time, Pr. Chen Shengquan, requesting that he visit the
hospital at least two to three times a week, to testify of the gospel to his
father in-law. Pr Chen Shengquan agreed.
The elder brother of Bro. Yang’s
wife rushed back from U.S.
the next day. That night, they
transferred his father in-law into the MackayHospital, a very large
hospice. Due to the lack of parking
space, both Yang Jianzhang and the elder brother of his wife returned to their
home in Danshui. However at that night, they received a call from
his wife Chai Cunhui informing them that, “The doctor predicts that father will
not be able to pull through tonight.
Bring a mat for my brother and yourself to sleep here at the hospital!”
Bring him for baptism tomorrow!
When Yang Jianzhang put down the
phone, he thought to himself, is it really true that God has forsaken father
in-law? In his moment of helplessness
and confusion, he once again called his parents in Pingtung and the brethren in
Danshui, hoping that they can intercede for his father in-law. When Pr. Chen Shengquan received news of
this, he called Bro Yang to inquire about the situation. Yang Jianzhang replied, “My father in-law
will not be able to live past today!” Pr
Chen asked him in return: “Jianzhang, do you have faith? First thing tomorrow morning, we will bring
him for baptism.” When he heard this, Yang
Jianzhang was stunned for a moment, after which he said, “Ok!” Following this, he called his wife, and
Cunhui said submissively, “Very well, we shall entrust father’s life into the
hands of God.”
After everything had been
arranged, when Yang Jianzhang was about to go to sleep, he suddenly remembered
that his wife was the sole believer in the family. He would need to inform his wife’s elder sister,
elder and younger brother about this matter, and to seek their consent. Therefore, he first made a call to her elder
sister in U.S. As
she was a Christian, she said, “It is just sprinkling of water, fine, go ahead
with it!” Yang Jianzhang then explained
to her, “In our church, we practice according to the teachings of the Bible, that
is, we have to be fully submerged in living water during baptism.” When the elder sister heard this, she
exclaimed “Wow!” and agreed.
Next, he made a phone call to her
younger brother. He was not a Christian,
therefore it was more difficult to communicate the idea to him. After talking to him for a long time, he
finally agreed. The last person he had
to go through was his wife’s elder brother.
Because he had already taken sleeping pills and was fast asleep, Yang
Jianzhang thought to himself that he would tell him about it the next morning.
At the following morning, he woke up his wife’s elder
brother. On the way to the hospital,
Yang Jianzhang mentioned to him that the entire church was interceding for his
father’s baptism that morning, and testified to him that the spiritual life is
more important than physical life.
However there was a cold current passing through then, and the
temperature has dropped to below 13℃,
and during baptism, father will need to be completely submerged in the Danshui
sea. The elder brother thought that Yang
Jianzhang had gone crazy, and turned to look at him in disbelief. Yang Jianzhang continued to say that very
often when a person is severely ill at the point of baptism, the weather will
be very bad, for this was God’s test of the faith of the family members.
The elder brother replied him
saying, “Father is already so sick, how can he get into the water?” God gave Yang Jianzhang faith at that point
in time to say, “Don’t worry! God will prepare hot water!” The elder brother then said, “We’ll see what
father says when we reach the hospital.”
God will prepare hot water
When he stepped into the ward, he
saw his wife and an Indonesian maid crying, their eyes were swollen. His father in-law was left with barely a
breath, his blood pressure had plunged to 40, and he was unconscious. Yang Jianzhang gathered his courage and told
his wife Cunhui saying, “Have faith, bring father for baptism.” He also asked his wife to tell his then
unconscious father in-law that, “Father be rest assured, the Lord Jesus loves
you, the Lord Jesus will save you today!”
After Cunhui said this, her father, who was unconscious, suddenly woke
up and said, “I think I am about to be reborn today.”
When he saw Yang Jianzhang and his
elder son he even said, “You are here already!”
Yang Jianzhang quickly asked his wife to enquire of his father in-law,
“Father, do you want to believe in the Lord Jesus?” His father in-law replied, “Sure!” “Father,
shall we bring you for baptism today?”
Father in-law replied, “Sure!”
Yang Jianzhang promptly used the video-recorder to record this as proof
of father’s desire to believe in the Lord.
Subsequently, when his wife’s
younger brother arrived, the first statement he made when he stepped into the
ward was, “It’s raining outside!” then
he turned to his father Chai Jinzhu saying, “Do you know that after you are
baptized, you cannot hold joss sticks anymore?”
Chai Jinzhu answered saying, “It’s alright!” Then he called his elder son to his side
saying, “From henceforth you shall be responsible for worshipping, for buying
the fruits…” He spoke in a very
organized manner, an evident sign that he was still very clear-minded. He also
proclaimed that from henceforth, he will no longer worship idols. Seeing that his father was so alert, his
youngest son asked him, “Are you hungry?”
Chai Jinzhu, who was unable to eat any food for more than ten days said,
“I am hungry.” Following this, he
speedily finished half a bowl of porridge.
Where is the hot water?
After finishing the porridge, he
changed his clothing and waited for the preacher to arrive. At around , the preacher arrived.
Yang Jianzhang then went to arrange for an ambulance to bring his father
in-law to the beach for baptism. Along
the way, the weather was very cold and the wind strong. Yang Jianzhang kept comforting his wife’s elder
and younger brother saying, “The Lord Jesus will prepare hot water.”
When they arrived at the baptism
site, the brothers and sisters from Danshui church were already there singing
hymns. Yang Jianzhang and his family
members carried Chai Jinzhu who was seated in a wheelchair down from the ambulance. There was a brother who volunteered to piggy-back
Chai Jinzhu into the water, but he said unexpectedly, “I can walk there by myself!” Everyone was shocked to hear this. Amidst the hymn singing of his family members
and church brethren, Chai Jinzhu smoothly underwent the sacrament of Baptism.
After he returned to the car and
got changed, on the way back to the Danshui church, the elder and younger
brothers of Bro Yang’s wife remain straight-face and did not utter a single
word. They were thinking to themselves: “Father must have caught a chill.” Never did they expect to see Chai Jinzhu’s
face slightly red when they arrived in church, even greeting everyone saying,
“Hallelujah!” Following that, the Footwashing
and Holy Communion sacraments were completed.
Chai Jinzhu was in good spirit
when they returned to the hospital, and he said to his children, “Today I have
received baptism, and fulfilled my wish of over ten years. It is as if I am
receiving baptism on behalf of your mother too.” 15 years ago, Chai Cunhui’s
mother underwent an operation for gastric cancer, and was also treated with chemotherapy
for two to three weeks. However, she soon after suffered a stroke and sank into
unconsciousness. While in this state, she kept repeating, “Hallelujah!”
During that point in time, Chai
Cunhui requested the preacher to conduct baptism for her mother. However
because Chai Cunhui was the sole believer of the Lord, the preacher hoped to
wait until Mrs. Chai has awakened, and in to express her desire for baptism
before conducting baptism for her. Therefore the church brethren were requested
to intercede for this matter. However
Mrs. Chai never did wake up. Never did
they expect that after more than ten years, this was something still on Chai
Not long after Chai Jinzhu said
this to his daughter, he had high fever and sank into unconsciousness once
That night, when Yang Jianzhang
was on the way home, Cunhui who was filled with many thoughts and feelings
said, “Never have I dreamt that the Lord Jesus would let father receive baptism
in such an amazing manner.” Then she
added saying, “Jianzhang, today the weather was so cold, didn’t you keep
testifying that the Lord will prepare hot water for father? I would definitely be blamed by my brothers
because father has caught a chill.”
Jianzhang was dumbfounded for a moment, so he said, “Everyone has
The next day, Jianzhang
accompanied his wife’s elder sister who has rushed back from U.S.
to the hospital to visit Chai Jinzhu.
When they opened the door of the hospital ward, they found Chai Jinzhu wide
alert and eating! Because of this,
Cunhui felt at ease and hence decided to return to school for classes. Jianzhang accompanied his wife to the train
station, and along the way Cunhui asked once again, “Didn’t you say that there
will be hot water?” She appeared to be
brooding over the matter of father catching a chill.
When I went into the water, it was hot
Yang Jianzhang’s parents and elder
sister rushed to the hospital to visit Chai Jinzhu after his baptism. When they were chatting, they unexpectedly
heard the following testimony which the second sister recorded. Chai Jinzhu suddenly said, “I have something
important to say. Firstly, I have been baptized today. Secondly, by receiving baptism I have
fulfilled my wish of ten over years, and it was as if my wife has also received
baptism. Thirdly, I have let the Lord
Jesus down by undergoing baptism only after such a long time. Fourthly, today when I was receiving baptism,
even though the weather was very cold, there were many brethren who turned up
and showed concern. But what was even
more thankful was that when I went into the water, the water was hot!”
When Chai Cunhui returned home,
she also heard this recording. “Thank
the Lord, when I went into the water, the water was hot!” The Lord Jesus had truly prepared hot water!
Your staff and your rod shall comfort me
One week later, Chai Jinzhu
suddenly sang a Japanese folk song “Sunset” (He did not know how to sing
hymns), the last phrase of this song was, “I want to return!” It was as if he was telling everyone that he
can leave in peace now. Two days later,
after Yang Jiangzhang and wife have prayed for him and as they were holding his
hands, he passed away peacefully. The
couple held onto his hand and prayed, “Father, peace be with you! Only people who have received the Lord Jesus
can receive true peace, joy and eternal life.”
When Yang Jianzhang recalled this
experience, he said with much thanksgiving, “Through the choosing of my father
in-law, God strengthened the faith of the both of us, and enabled us to
experience his great grace. For the past
19 years, we have tried to use our own ways and means, but we just could not
convince my father in-law to accept the gospel.
However the Lord Jesus only made use of three days’ time, after which my
father in-law, who was originally unconscious, awoke and received baptism. What was even more amazing was that with
faith I said that there will be hot water, and there truly was hot water!”
Because of this amazing grace,
Yang Jianzhang grabbed hold of every opportunity that he has when leading
services in various churches to testify about this. He personally witnessed how his father in-law
who has been an upright man all his life, when faced with the threat of death,
manifested what the author described in Psalms, “Fearfulness and trembling have
come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.” (Ps 55:5), and after baptism, he immediately
experienced peace, “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)
Indeed, it is a great blessing for
someone to be able to “leave the world peacefully”, and brings great comfort for
the relatives who are grieving.