Jonathan Chou—Hillsborough, New Jersey, USA
I would like to share what I have experienced in the True Jesus Church since I was young until today. I was baptized as a baby and have been in the true church for about seventy years. In 1981, I started theological training, and began pastoring as a trainee in 1984. In 2017, after serving for thirty-three years, I was able to retire by God’s grace and guidance.
GOD’S GRACE UPON MY FATHER
At the age of forty-two, my father contracted a serious illness and fell into a coma. The doctor’s prognosis was dire; they said he did not have much time left. On the night that they said would probably be his last, a relative was visiting my father. This relative, a member of the True Jesus Church, told my grandmother there was another way: to pray to the Lord Jesus to save him. “If you want to believe, I will ask my church brethren to pray for you.”
My grandmother and father were devout idol-worshippers. My father even managed all temple activities, including the building of new temples, in our community. But in this hopeless time, my grandmother accepted the intercessions of the church brethren. Many brothers and sisters came to pray for my father. And miraculously, he awoke!
After the crowd left, my relative gathered my family to pray together. In this prayer, my father saw a vision. He witnessed the entire roof of the house disappear to reveal a magnificent house of crystal above. A bright light shone on him. He felt his body being lifted up, and he started bouncing up and down while kneeling on his bed—even though he had been at death’s door not so long ago. His body was vibrating, and he was speaking in tongues.
After praying for a long time, my relative began to worry about the strain on my father’s body, so he laid hands on him and said, “Amen.” My father was sweating profusely, so they tried to help him lie down, but the Holy Spirit filled him once again, and he got up to pray. This happened three times. And so, my father was healed.
The Lord Jesus spared my father’s life and saved our family from despair. My father started serving as a preacher in his fifties and continued to travel and lead services even after his retirement at the age of eighty-one.
In 1990, I was sent to the United States by the Taiwan General Assembly (GA) to support the holy work. On June 15, the day I landed on US soil, I received a call that my father had been hospitalized. He was eighty-eight years old. He had a growth in his stomach, which pierced his stomach lining and caused fluids to leak into his abdomen. The doctor suggested that, since my father was advanced in age, we should not medically intervene. But my brother responded by asking him to do his best, and we would pray. So they performed surgery and removed four-fifths of my father’s stomach. A month later, he recovered and was discharged from the hospital.
In 2000, when I was in Hawaii on a pastoral trip, I received news that my father was in the hospital again. He had blocked arteries, but the doctor did not dare to operate. So, I rushed back to Taiwan. My father passed away exactly ten years after his previous hospitalization. God had granted him another ten years and called him to return to our heavenly home peacefully at the age of ninety-eight.
GOD’S GRACE IN MY EARLY MINISTRY
Growing up, I had always admired those who served in the church. Many elders encouraged me to serve, so I entered the theological training program after ten years in the workforce. By then, I was married with two children. Having a family to support made the decision difficult and, initially, I hesitated. But the Bible tells us that as soon as the soles of our feet rest in the waters, the waters shall be cut off (Josh 3:13). So I trusted in God and left my job.
God Will Provide
When I first entered training, I knew the salary for full-time workers was low, but I was shocked at how low—not even one-sixth of my previous income! I broke out in a cold sweat when I received my first paycheck. How would we survive on such a meager salary? An elder acknowledged that it might not even be enough to rent a house. I did not respond; I realized that I should rely on Jesus for my needs, since I had already made it so far.
I thank God that whoever trusts in the Lord will lack nothing. It is, as Paul writes, “as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Cor 6:10). When I left my previous job, I was surprised to receive two sums of money from the company. And after I entered the training program, my wife landed a job with a salary higher than my previous one. My father-in-law had an empty property we planned to borrow for only the first year of my training, but he allowed us to live there until I graduated. When it was time to move out, we found a house through God’s arrangement. My wife had visited a sick colleague, whose wife informed her that the house next door was for sale. Even though my wife informed her that we could only afford to rent, she convinced her to view the house. To our surprise, the house owner wanted to give us the deed of the house, even though we were strangers. We simply had to go to the city office to transfer the house ownership, and a church sister helped us get bank financing. By God’s grace, we bought the house.
We lived in this house for six years and paid the entire mortgage. When I was sent to America, we sold the house for three times the amount we paid, and we used half of the proceeds to pay for our children’s university expenses. Later, we used the rest of the proceeds as the first down payment for a new house in southern Los Angeles. This home was indeed a house of grace, descended from heaven.
God’s Healing Power upon My Wife
I was initially sent to the US East Coast for two months. The second time, I was seconded to the GA of the United States (USGA) for six months. During those six months, the church helped me to apply for permanent residency. In the eighth month, I got my green card, and four months after that, my family received approval from the United States government to move over.
After receiving my green card, I returned to Taiwan to resign from the Taiwan GA so I could be re-employed by the USGA. Two weeks later, my wife found a lump on the right side of her waist. She consulted one of the nurses in the school where she worked, and the nurse instructed her to get it checked at a hospital. My wife followed her suggestion, even though she did not feel unwell. After an ultrasound scan, the doctors found a tumor measuring more than ten centimeters behind her womb. They operated on her immediately, and our return to the US had to be postponed.
The doctor showed me the tumor post-surgery, explaining that its irregular shape and clustered blood vessels suggested it was malignant. Based on his experience, this kind of tumor was malignant ninety percent of the time. I felt a crushing anxiety, like a stone weighing down on me. In contrast, my wife was in good spirits after the operation. She could eat, sleep, and chat with people around her. So, I did not tell her about the diagnosis.
I remembered the testimony of a brother who had brain surgery to remove a malignant tumor. On the preacher’s encouragement, the brother prayed for the tumor to become benign. Amazingly, he was told the tumor was benign at the following checkup. This testimony had a significant impact on me; I prayed often, beside my wife’s bed. We waited a week for the final diagnosis. Usually, the doctor made his rounds first thing in the morning, but he came at 10 p.m. that day. He gave her a physical check and, just before he left, said, “It looked bad, but after testing, it turned out to be a benign tumor.” He explained that it could have been on the cusp of becoming malignant. However, I believe that doctors would not make such judgments casually. This was indeed the mercy of God. My wife experienced no side effects or discomfort; she just found the lump, and it was removed. If we had discovered the tumor after we left for the US, we would have struggled to navigate an unfamiliar and foreign healthcare system.
Since my wife had her womb removed in the surgery, she was entitled, as a school teacher, to a disability payment of more than USD $3,000 from the government. We used this money to purchase our flight tickets to the US. The unexpected grace of God is woven throughout this whole period of our lives. My wife had to have annual reviews for the next five years, but she was fine. Thank God and our brothers and sisters that my family settled in well after arriving in the US.
MEMORIES OF GOD’S GRACE
I have a complete and unwavering conviction that the True Jesus Church is the only church that is saved. I have witnessed many works of God in the true church—many of which became formative childhood memories.
The congregation in my hometown church was small, but it was a rich source of testimonies about God’s grace. Most nights, we would make visitations to pray for those who were sick or demon-possessed. The church would announce during services that they would be visiting people to conduct evangelistic services that night, and advised members to come to church to pray beforehand. We would then spend one or two hours walking around to people’s houses and praying for them before returning for a late dinner. I would join these visitations even as an elementary school student.
I have seen many signs and miracles from a young age, especially the healing of the demon-possessed. The church was so renowned for having the presence of God’s power that if a patient could not be cured, the doctor would tell them to go to the True Jesus Church!
The Mentally Distressed Youth
When I was in high school, a youth around my age had mental health problems and often loitered around. He piled up all the idols in his home, sat on top of them, and told people to worship him. We went to his home to pray for him. He was locked in a small room and spent most of his time chained up. He could dig a hole in the hard floor with his bare hands, sometimes so deep that he could dig a path right out into the road. Thank God, after we prayed for him, he was well enough to attend church, and the church members interceded for him too. He was healed. He eventually got married, had children, and had a career.
The Frail Infant
In Southern Central Taiwan, there was a brother whose three-month-old baby was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. The child could not feed and was close to death. After he was baptized, he was fine for three days. But on the fourth day, his condition deteriorated again. His mother was originally from a rural church by the beach with about ninety members. Although it was a small church, Sabbath attendance was almost one hundred percent. The couple returned to this church to specially pray for their son. After breakfast, the father went into the chapel to pray. Twenty or thirty minutes into the prayer, he started feeling tired and got up to walk around. But then a thought came into his mind: if he stopped praying, the baby would die. So, he knelt again and asked God to help him concentrate on his prayer. True enough, when he was focused in prayer, he saw a vision. He saw a bright road and many layers of clouds. He followed the path into the clouds. He entered a huge house and saw his baby on an operating table. Many angels surrounded the baby as if they were performing surgery. He persisted in praying. He did not know how long he prayed because he was praying in the Spirit. After some time, a child patted his shoulder and told him to return home for a meal. He then realized he had been praying for three hours. Thank God, eventually, his baby was healed and grew up healthy.
The Mysterious Dying Fish
In the same church, there was a deacon. Other than working in the sugarcane plantations, his family owned a pond of fish. There was a time when they would find a few fish floating belly-up daily. Because the fish had died recently, they could still sell them at the market. Non-believers saw this and scorned the Christians who were selling dead fish. The deacon was sad to hear this. He prayed, “O Lord Jesus, how can You allow me to sell dead fish every day? Why do the fish others have reared not die? I do not know Your will, but those non-believers have blasphemed Your name.” His fish kept dying for no reason, but he was able to sell them until all the fish were gone. Suddenly, the entire area was flooded by seawater, and the fishponds overflowed. All the fish from the neighboring ponds were flushed out, and some fish ended up in the deacon’s pond. At that moment, he realized it was the will of God. Although he had sold dead fish, at least he managed to cover his costs and did not suffer the loss others did. Truly, God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isa 55:9).
The Resurrected Truth-Seeker
I moved from South Taiwan to the North, to another church with many signs and miracles. There was a truth-seeker who had a neurological condition. She was admitted to the National Taiwan University Hospital, and after a period of serious illness, she died. Two sisters had been caring for her in the hospital and were very sad when she passed away. She was survived by two young children and a husband who did not care for his family. The two sisters did not know what to do.
As an elder spoke to the immediate family about funeral arrangements, the two sisters went to the storage room next door to pray. They did not know what to pray for; they simply asked Jesus why things had turned out this way.
When they emerged from the room half an hour later, one of the sisters noticed the patient’s intravenous drip was active again. After a patient dies, the IV drip should stop working. They quickly approached a nurse, and everyone returned to the ward. When they confirmed that the drip was indeed working, they resuscitated the truth-seeker. She survived and was eventually discharged from the hospital. She lives to this day and is still healthy, and a devout believer. She works next to the church and comes in to pray twice daily, before and after work.
The Premature Baby
The final testimony is something I witnessed with my own eyes. There was a sister who, at three-months pregnant, was hospitalized due to abnormal bleeding. She stayed there until the baby was born prematurely at seven months. The baby was placed in an incubator and hooked to many tubes and wires. His lungs were underdeveloped, and he stopped breathing many times, turning his skin maroon. There was a possibility that he could die at any moment.
The members prayed for him for one hour every day. A brother saw a vision during one prayer after the evening service. He witnessed the Lord Jesus standing at the edge of a cliff. He was holding a baby, and the baby was shining. Hearing of this vision encouraged and strengthened the faith of the family. If the baby were to die, he would be in the bosom of the Lord Jesus. Every morning, the family fasted and prayed. They decided to do two things. Firstly, they would take the baby out of the hospital to be baptized. Because the child was so frail, they would leave everything in God’s hands after the baptism. Secondly, they would dedicate the child to the Lord if he survived.
The hospital was reluctant to discharge the baby, but they eventually agreed. The parents were convinced they would not need to bring the baby back to the hospital. They immediately brought the baby for baptism and then went to church to pray. The brother who saw the vision recognized the baby as the one he had seen in the arms of Jesus. In the hospital, hooked up to the machines, the baby had been unable to feed, but after he was brought home, he could drink milk. Thank God, the child continued to grow and develop without needing to return to the hospital. Later, when his mother brought him back to the hospital for immunizations, the doctors and nurses were shocked to see the child so healthy. By God’s grace, the child grew up and is now a preacher serving in the Taiwan GA. His name is En Chao Yang.
It is indeed a blessing for us to be in the true church and witness such wonderful miracles and grace from God. The True Jesus Church is the ark of the last days. We must have this conviction. God has given us the commission to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth so that the church can be established and completed. Then, the Lord Jesus will come again.