This is a first-hand testimony from “Brother Timothy” of Nanyang Church in China, and has been confirmed by several other house-church believers from the area (recorded by Paul Hattaway, Henan: The Galilee of China, 2009, pp. 228-229):
In 1993 I went to Biyang City to preach for the first time…I was asked to pray for a 50-year old man named Chang, who was dying of mouth cancer. This unbeliever was very wealthy and was a well-known Communist Party secretary in Biyang. He had been transferred to the main hospital in the provincial capital, but by the time he reached Zhengzhou he had deteriorated and was close to death…The staff then called Chang’s wife to break the bad news. They told her he was close to death and would not recover.
…His wife had a Catholic friend in Biyang. She said that Christians could pray for sick people, even if they were dead. Somehow the Catholic sister found me and asked me to come and pray.
…I travelled to Zhengzhou and went straight to the hospital. I was quite nervous and not sure what the Lord’s will was in all of this. At the hospital none of the staff paid any attention to me because I was just a poor farmer. Finally a nurse looked at me with disdain, and said, ‘You’re too late. Communist Party Secretary Chang died last night.’
I was shocked to hear that he was already dead, and asked where his body was because I had promised his family I would pray for him. The nurse thought I was stupid but saw my determination and told me his body was in the refrigerated morgue in the hospital basement. I went down to the basement and an attendant asked what I wanted. I told him that I needed to pray for Mr. Chang. I was met with an amused look but the man took me to a line of refrigerated boxes, located Mr Chang’s, and opened the small door. His body slid out and I saw he was truly dead. The blood had drained from his body, and his identification tag was tied around his big toe.
I was very scared as I had never prayed for the sick before, let alone for a dead man…Despite my circumstances, I knew the Lord could do whatever he wanted to do. I closed my eyes and prayed for Mr Chang. It was a simple prayer and I prayed in a hushed voice. I leaned forward and said, ‘Mr Chang, I know that you can hear me. I know that Jesus can bring you back from the dead because he wants to glorify his name in your life.’ By now, the morgue attendant had gathered several of his co-workers and they stood at a distance, sniggering at the sight of a farmer praying for a dead Communist leader.
I had a very simple faith in God. I did not believe God would raise the man from the dead on that day because I thought people had to be dead for three days before they could come back alive again. I had read that both Jesus and Lazarus were resurrected after three days, so I thought if God was going to raise Mr Change I would need to return two more times.
I finished praying, thanked the workers for letting me pray for Mr Chang and told them I would be returning at 10 o’clock the next morning because I wanted to pray for him again. They laughed and looked at me like I was completely insane. The next morning, more than 20 hospital workers gathered to watch me pray for Mr Chang. News had quickly spread around the hospital and they were all eager to witness the sight so they could get a laugh. Again his body was pulled out of the refrigerator and I closed my eyes and prayed for him. He had now spent one-and-a-half days in the freezer and was still very much dead.
While I was laying hands on the corpse, I leaned forward and whispered, ‘Mr Chang, if you are unable to talk, then I command you to move your eyes in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.’ I looked closely and the man’s eyes twinkled a little. This greatly increased my faith because I knew that God was at work. Nobody else in the room was close enough to see his eyes move, however, and they thought the whole thing was a great joke.
I prayed Bible verses out loud and asked the Lord to prove that the scriptures are true and that a dead man can come back to life in Jesus’ name. I also prayed loudly so that the others in the morgue would hear the gospel through the words I was speaking. My prayer was an evangelistic prayer, with a short summary of the message of salvation included. I held on to the promise from the Lord and kept praying for the man. After a while the crowd were not so amused. I think they could feel the presence of the Lord and they became serious-minded and attentive. I announced that I would return again at 10 o’clock the next morning and would pray for Mr Chang for the third and final time. His body was placed back in the refrigerator, the door was locked and I walked up the stairs and returned to the place I was staying.
On the third day, I was amazed to find that such a large crowd had gathered to witness my prayer that it was difficult to get past them and into the basement. Dozens of people were lining the stairs leading down to the morgue, and many more were waiting inside the room. People were talking and sniggering among themselves, but everyone was watching closely to see what would happen. The morgue attendant again produced Mr Chang’s body and I prayed for him. I asked the Lord to glorify his name by healing this man, saving his soul and the souls of the many witnesses crowded into the room. Nothing appeared to change, so I thanked the attendants and left the hospital, as I had to make my way to the train station and travel across country with a team of evangelists going to Gansu Province. I never saw what happened after I left the hospital, but a few days later the believers in Zhengzhou contacted me with an urgent message.
They said that about 20 minutes after I left the hospital, the dead Mr Chang suddenly sat up and started coughing. The terrified attendant and his co-workers watched as he coughed up a large, dirty ball of blood and puss, which was the cancer in his mouth. It spilled out of his mouth and onto the cold, hard floor of the morgue.
Mr Chang was healed and alive. He asked for food and water because he was hungry and thirsty. As you could imagine, the news of Mr Chang’s miracle quickly spread to the upper floors of the hospital and all of those who had come to witness the prayer came rushing down to the basement to see if it was true. All of the hospital staff saw Mr Chang alive. His grieving wife was called to the hospital, where she received her husband back from the dead. Every single person who saw this miracle dropped to their knees and confessed that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God.
In the Lord’s providence, I never witnessed Mr Chang come back to life but everybody told me about it later. I thank the Lord that I wasn’t there, because maybe all the people would have thought it was due to my own power if he had sat up while I was praying for him. By raising him from the dead after I had left, everyone clearly understood that God himself had performed a miracle, and all the glory and honour went to the Lord.
When I first heard what had happened, I was pleased but did not dwell on it. It was just an act of Almighty God. In those days, the revival was burning so intensely that miracles were taking place at every single house-church meeting and thousands of people were coming to Christ every day. Miracles were not something we concentrated on, they were merely the evidences that confirmed the message we were preaching about Jesus was true.
The whole Chang family came to Christ…From what I have been told, Mr Chang is still alive today, eight years later.Paul Hattaway, Henan: The Galilee of China, 2009, pp. 228-229