Peng’s Story

A PORTUGUESE TRAVELLER’S JOURNEY

Peng's Story

Peng’s Story

Recognising ones Forefather’s

My life in Portugal has been written with blood and tears. But for the grace of God, my nine children and I would not be alive today. My husband is Portuguese. We met, fell in love and married in Macau (a former Portuguese colony near Hong Kong). In 1957, my husband returned to Portugal with me and our two children, a boy and a girl.This is how our life in Portugal started.

I was a Buddhist for 11 years and had been vegetarian all that time. I believed that good people got good rewards. Good deeds would open the door to heaven. But I was unable to locate any Buddhist Temple in Portugal. I passed a Christian Church and entered out of curiosity. The pastor said that Christ was the saviour of humanity. He was the son of God and came into this world as a man; shed his Holy Blood to cleanse our sins. He also said that God created Adam, the first man, and man was his descendent. To understand the truth all we needed was to open our hearts. My Portuguese was inadequate at the time; I barely understood half of what was said. But what I did understand caused me to think: Teachers in school taught that we came from apes and apes were our ancestors. Maybe Adam was only the ancestor of the Whites? No wonder Whites were greater than all other races. But this did not make sense because we were as intelligent as they were. However humans can speak but apes can not. When I returned home I asked my husband who our ancestor is. And he said to me “Who do YOU think it is!” – “Apes” I replied. “Why dont you buy some peanuts and bananas to visit your relatives in the zoo?” He said “My ancestors were Man”.

One Sunday, the pastor said “If you believe in Christ you will have eternal life {John 3:16}”. I thought that every one wants immortality. But how does one know that the pastor spoke the truth? Due to my poor Portuguese, it was difficult for me to explore his reasoning. Therefore I prayed to God: “If youre real you are able to help me with my difficulties in Portugal.”

Some time later, in July 1958. There was the Annual Book Fair (15 days in duration). I saw a Chinese translation of the New Testament. I had to buy it. Although it was the only Chinese book in the Fair, I did not feel disappointed. Is this the answer from God to my prayer? This is the first time I felt that prayer had any relevance to daily life.

I returned home and read the Bible. I finished it in just over a year. Subsequently repeated and reassessed the contents and remembered all the important points. In the end the Holy Spirit opened my mind. I understood that in the past, with Buddhism, I believed only what people had set before me without any solid foundation. “Christ is the only meaning to life and no other road will lead to heaven.” {John 14:6} From [ACT4:12] “God loves us, Gave us his only son, those who believe in Christ will be saved” (John 3:16) I spoke from the heart to Christ: “Lord, I want you to be my saviour, Ill love you forever because you loved me first. Please look after me from now on. Thank you for your guidance Amen” I then burned all of my symbols and expensive paintings of the Buddha.

Gods nurturing

After two years in Portugal another daughter was added to our family. My husband was unemployed and had no savings left. We were a family of five with no means of support. I wanted to make clothes to earn a living. But we had no money to buy a sewing machine. A sewing machine would cost 2000 Portuguese Escudos. I had only been a believer in Christ for just over a year, but I had faith that if I prayed, God would answer. Therefore I prayed: “Lord, my children need to be fed and cared for, please give me a sewing machine!”

One day in a market I saw an old sewing machine. I asked the trader: “how much?” “250 Escudos” he replied. Its a reasonable price for a SINGER sewing machine. Unfortunately I only had 25, so I shied away from haggling and quietly walked away. Surprisingly, the trader came after me. “You must continue to haggle, is my machine not worth its price?” I was embarrassed and tears drenched my eyes. I spoke quietly: “Sir, Im sorry, I have only 25 escudos in my pocket. Im just asking the price.” The trader saw me crying and realised I was poor. He then said: “An oriental girl suffering so much being away from home Why dont you go back home?” I replied: “I have a husband, and besides I have three children.” The trader said: “Just give me what youve got, you can have the machine” I was so surprised and thanked the Lord for his care for the poor!

However, the road home was long; I had no money for a taxi. The sewing machine was massive, heavy and had lots of components. It was not possible to move it on foot. I then spoke to the trader: “I cant carry this home yet; I have no car, but save it for me, since youve already taken my money. Please dont resell the machine. Ill be back with my husband. We will carry it on foot.” The trader laughed: “How ever far you go with this, people will laugh at you! But I have a truck, Ill deliver it to you after work, just give me your address.” I was both happy and scared about it. I feared that if this guy cheated me out of my money, then my bad tempered husband would shout at me and hit me. I could not reveal this to the good man before me. I had no choice but to silently pray, telling God all my trouble. The trader kept his word and delivered the machine.

After that I began to sew aprons to make a living. Under the watchful eyes of God, business improved. Soon I had made quite a bit of money. This was my second experience of the relevance of prayer to life.

My husband was smoking 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day and got cancer of the throat. Due to the polluted air of Lisbon, doctors suggested that he move to the countryside. He then sold the sewing machine and the whole family moved to the North of Portugal. We opened an electrical repair shop (my husband was an electrical engineer). I prayed that God would save my husband and stop him from smoking.

A decade passed quickly, I now had nine children, aged from 3 to 16 years old; 7 of them lived with us and 2 lived with friends. My husband still had no work and a bad temper. For the smallest thing he would hit me and our children. He did not believe that girls should have more schooling than primary school so he sent the girls out to work. I did not agree with this. Without a proper education, manual jobs were the only work they could do, so this caused lots of arguments. Tears filled my eyes.

One night the children were fighting over a piece of bread, I just wept and couldnt sleep. Suddenly the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: “You should pray! You cant get results with out telling God.” (James 4:2-3). I prayed all night and suddenly realised that there was a barracks near by, about 1km from the house. I could go and ask the commander there for bread and milk. I spoke with the commander, told him that I have 9 children. The girls were all well behaved and studied hard, but didnt have money to buy books, and that there was also no food in the house. My husband wants them to stop studying and go to work. The commander replied: “Dont let them stop studying. Come every day to collect food for your children.” Thank God, I thought. The girls can continue studying and not go to hungry.

Even though food was no longer a problem, other financial problems had to be resolved. I prayed for God to give me a job. One day I went to the barracks to pick up food. An officer asked me: “How many children do you have?” I said: “9, 7 with me 2 with friends 5 of them are studying.” He asked: “Do you have a job?” I said: “I desperately need a job. A job would be better than winning the lottery!” The officer then asked: “Can you clean?” Then I said: “Yes”. The officer said: “We need someone to clean up the office, Can you do it?” And so, I worked there for 7 years. Starting part time and eventually becoming a supervisor.

God’s Justice

My husband had been unfaithful quite often. Now he was having an affair with a widow. We were married for 15 years and had 9 children. My husband and his mistress had no children and they were together for 5 years. This widow had 3 children with her ex-husband. She did not believe she was infertile. Even worse is that she tried to cause my husband and I to part. She claimed that my husband was infertile after a doctors report and that my children were fathered by another. Sadly people believed this kind of gossip. Suddenly everyone that knew me thought that I was a slut. Even my children started asking me who their real parents were. My heart was broken and I tried to sue my husband for making fraudulent claims. I wanted my children to have a paternity test. My husband would not give me the blood test I wanted and therefore I had no evidence to produce to the courts. I could only pray to God for justice.

God knows I have had only one husband and have always been faithful to him. All nine children are his. Two years later, his mistress gave birth to a girl. People asked her where the child came from since the man she was with was supposed to be infertile. She had no answer. Thank you God for your justice, the courts couldnt give me justice but God did. I divorced my husband; I was unafraid as the Lord was with me, watching over me.

After the divorce, I rented a small holding in order to make a living. First year I grew grapes. As I did not have farming experience, I didnt buy any pesticides and so all the fruit was wasted. As I gained experience I got used to farming. Farming small crops was much easier than keeping a vineyard. Small crops only need to be seeded and hence less work was needed. The land that I hired could grow lots of grass, and could support two or three cows. Milk can then be produced. But a cow was not cheap; the banks wouldnt give me a cash loan. I could only pray together with my children to tell the Lord our desire.

Soon after, Helli, my daughter Annas teacher, introduced her boy friend Picard to us. He was very open to helping others. He was willing to give us a loan (with no time limit) to buy our cows with. We bought a milk cow; it really was a gift from God. It produced 20 litres of milk every day. In the first year, we sold all the milk we had. From the sale of the milk we saved enough to be able to repay Picard in full. In the second year we could started drinking the milk ourselves. On the first day we drank 7 litres of milk and continued to enjoy this long after. Finally this cow produced two calves. God really knows how to look after people.

God’s Cure

Very early one morning, we were woken by my daughter Elsa’s crying (she was 7 yrs old), “I am going to die!” Her head hurt and her body ached. (She already had 5 days of high fever; the doctor did not have any solution) I quickly checked her temperature. It was 42°C. That night the rain was hard. We lived in a quiet neighbourhood far from help. We had little water, no electricity, no telephone and the closest hospital was 5km away. The only thing I could do was to pray for the help of God to save my daughter” After praying I slept with Elsa. Half an hour later I felt her head was cold and her body was cold too. I cried out loud:” Elsas dead!!” The children cried. Suddenly Elsa spoke: “Im not dead yet, my fever has gone, and my body and head no longer ache.” Jesus gave me a miracle. Since then, Elsa was never ill. Years later, Elsa had head lice which made her head itch. I used a pesticide to treat her head. The pesticide got into her blood and she fell into a coma because of the poison. I took her to the hospital immediately. They wanted to transfer her by helicopter to the main hospital in Oporto but they couldnt because she was so ill. Her life was in imminent danger. Our whole family prayed and fasted. Suddenly Elsa awoke. The Lord saved her again. If she died, I would have had to bare the guilt for causing the death of one that I loved.

When Elsa was 18, just before her final exams, her gums were infected and she was in agony. The doctor wasnt able to help her. She did not eat for 10 days and had no strength to go to school. I went to the hospital with her and found that her gums were seriously infected. If this infection spread to the heart she would have died. At 2am she screamed: “Mom Im going to die!” I said: “Dont you remember how our Lord Jesus saved you twice already? You should pray.” Then my daughter said: “I havent been to church for a long time, and I stopped reading the Bible, I feel ashamed to pray.” I replied: “You can forget the Lord, but the Lord will not forget you, hell remember you. Come let us pray together.” Right after the prayer, the pain died away and was soon gone, she quickly asked me for two large dishes of meat and rice. Her boyfriend was stunned and because of this he became a believer.

My son Vitor contracted Hepatitus B by sharing needles whilst taking drugs. In 1993, when I knew of this, I started praying for God to heal him and put him on the right path. He has since stopped taking drugs and believes in Jesus. 20th April 1997 at 10am Vitor called from Macau: “Mom my Hepatitis B is healed. All tests show I have no Hepatitis.” “Thank you God for not neglecting a heart in pain” {Psalm 51:17}

Father’s discipline

1989, I received a job from the Department of Agriculture and was able to obtain a council house, hence solved the problem with accommodation. My income was enough to cover the expenditure, the house was satisfactory. One day when I was returning home, I saw someone had hung up 3 pieces of carpet. One of them fell to the ground. The carpet was very pretty. Due to greed, I stole this piece of carpet. As I walked I thought that since the carpet belonged to a set of three, without one, they will loose their glory. But Ive never seen carpet so beautiful. God please let me have them. The Holy Sprit then spoke to me saying “Put the carpet back, one should not take what is not yours to take.” I immediately returned the carpet to its rightful place. My guilt was gone, and I returned home without problems.

3rd of June on the same year, I bought a plane ticket to Thailand to see my older daughter. As well as going to Hong Kong to see my mother and my brothers and sisters who I had not seen for 30 years. That day, whilst going to work, I put all of my 120,000 Escudos to exchange them for US dollars. I suddenly realised that my hand bag was missing as I arrived at the Department of Agriculture. There goes my 120,000! Without money I cannot travel. I dropped to my knees and prayed for its return: “God, Ive not seen my 84 year old mother for 30 years, my savings have now gone, and I would never see her again for the rest of my life.” The Holy Spirit enlightened me, He told me to go back the way I came to look for it. When I returned to the place where I picked up the beautiful carpet two months before, I found my bag. I opened the bag, the 120,000 was still there. I was very thankful to God, yet I know that God taught me a lesson not to be greedy. God please ensure that I would never be greedy ever again.

The Greatness of God

God is so great. I may not be a widow, but I was more pitiful than a widow. I once was poor and now I have everything I need. 9 Children all graduated from high school, in a range of professions from accounting, computing and architecture. They all have families and all are grown. These are all God sent. Now I have thirteen grandsons and granddaughters and two great grandsons/daughters. Im healthy and strong. My former husband has now been left by his mistress and is now alone.

God looked after me and my children all our lives, how could I repay this debt?

1990 I decided to give my remaining life to God. But Im now old and crippled. Learning religious studies was out of the question. I have little ability with words so I cannot spread the Word of God. I keep praying to God: “God what can I do for you please tell me?”

February 1995, I attended my son Vitors wedding in the Philippines, I then travelled to Macau for fifteen days. Vitor and his new bride are both Christians. They took me to their church. The pastor was the organiser of the Youth Drug Rehabilitation Unit in Macau. He invited me to give a testimony on stage and took me to the YDRU to spread the word. The pastor said that every word I said touched their hearts and hope that I could help them in the centre. This will be my service to God. How unexpected, that one does not need to study religion, just know the bible will do. So I intend to move to Macau in order to help the young know the ways of the Lord. So help me God. Amen

01/07/2003Translated by: Jei Chen & Henry Chan. Edited by: John Hayworth

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