On July 4, the memorial service of Deacon Li Zhenzhen was held in a local funeral home.
Born into a rural Christian family in Hongdong County, Linfen, in 1939, she served in northern Shanxi Province before passing away at the age of 82 on July 1.
Her father, Li Shiyi, was a well-respected elder in southern Shanxi who had five daughters who became Christians.
In 1964, she enrolled in Shanxi University which was formerly the Imperial University of Shanxi, led by the Welsh Baptist missionary Timothy Richard. After graduation, she began to teach in high schools and had a position as a senior lecturer.
After she was baptized in Linfen Church in 1987, she voluntarily served as a pianist for years.
When the church encountered a “political difficulty” in 1992, she and another deacon did much work to save the church.
Every time she heard there were some problems in the church, she became worried. She always said, “Stop talking. Let’s pray.”
After retirement, she became involved in the administration of the church’s Sunday School program and also the praise and worship team. Because of limitations, she had to mobilize believers to be engaged in choral practice.
In 2000, Li started doing pastoral ministry in a meeting point. Four years later, she was ordained as deacon. Then she worked with her elder sister on church affairs.
Afterward, she moved to the provincial capital, Taiyuan. She dedicated her house as a registered meeting place.
She compiled her parents’ testimonies into a book of family photos, articles, hymns, and couplets written by her father, and the memorial memories of her relatives.
Last year she returned to Linfen at the age of 81. Living in a nursing home, she still shared the gospel with the residents there, often playing the piano and preaching sermons. She supported a physically challenged sister to install a cover on the auto rickshaw. No matter which church she went to, she always gave an offering first.
On May 8, which was her birthday and also a Sunday, she listened to a recorded sermon. While she was napping, her head fell on the bedrail. She stood up and walked around for a while so she could stay awake and finish listening to the sermon. She said, “It was really good.”
The words written on her birthday cake were not “Happy Birthday,” but “Amazing Grace.”
That evening she spent the unforgettable birthday with other voices raised in praise.
- Translated by Karen Luo