Tan Ming (not his real name), has been a missionary in Wuhan for five years. When Covid-19 broke out in January 2020, he did not leave like so many of his friends did. Instead, he stayed and continued to serve with his family.
At the end of January 2020, just before the Chinese Lunar New Year, Tan Ming became seriously sick. He called the hospital and told them that he was finding it difficult to breathe.
“Sorry, Mr. Ming, you cannot come to the hospital. We are completely overwhelmed. You are going to have to stay home.”
Tan did not want to get his family sick, so he went to an empty apartment in his building and locked himself in. “I felt weak,” he said in retelling the story. “I couldn’t breathe, I didn’t want to move, I didn’t even want to eat. I just laid there on the floor of the empty apartment until I passed out.”
Tan Ming believes that he died in that apartment. “I remember leaving my body and being taken to a place where there were two lines. One line was really long. I couldn’t see the end of it and I couldn’t make out where it was going, but I could see that the line was moving downward into a dark abyss. It scared me.”
“Then I saw another line with only a few people. They were walking into one of the most beautiful palaces I had ever seen in my life. The doors of the palace were massive and they shined with a blinding light.”
“’Hey!’ I called out. ‘Why is everyone in that line?’ It was then that I heard the voice of the Lord tell me that all of the people in the line were those who had died from Covid-19 in the city of Wuhan and they were going to hell because they did not know Christ as their Lord and Savior.”
In that dark moment, Tan Ming felt his heart sink. He had been living in Wuhan and admitted that he had not done all that he could to share the Gospel message. “There were people in the line to the dark abyss of hell that were going to suffer for eternity and I could have told them the name of the One that could have saved them.”
After returning to consciousness, Tan Ming heard a knock on the door. It was his wife. It had been several days since she had heard from him and she came to bring him dumplings. When Tan Ming answered the door, he was shaking from the powerful experience that he had just had and declared to his wife that he didn’t want to waste one more minute wasting away in the empty apartment.
“I went out into the streets in front of the hospitals to preach the Gospel. I knew people were feeling hopeless because the epidemic was out of control and the hospitals were unable to help. They needed Jesus!”
In 2020, BTJ sent more than 50,000 masks and humanitarian aid to Wuhan. Much of that was distributed by Tan Ming. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Tan Ming has been able to start several house church Bible groups throughout the city of Wuhan and they continued to meet in person, even during the lockdown.