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A junior from China says when he gained a testimony of the reality of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, he decided to never drink alcohol again

A woman's arms and hands are visible. She is wearing a light blue long-sleeve shirt. Her hands are clasped in prayer over open scriptures set on a wooden table.
Jai Zhang said gaining faith through prayer helped him overcome his alcoholism.

Jai Zhang, a junior elementary education major from Qingdao, China, said during his third transfer on his mission in Australia he received a testimony of the reality of Heavenly Father.

An unexpected answered prayer

At the beginning of his mission, he said he still planned to drink alcohol when his mission finished. However, after having a spiritual experience and realizing Jesus Christ suffered much pain for his sins, he said he realized it was not worth drinking alcohol again.

Before joining the church, he explained he was an alcoholic and admitted even after joining the church, he was still drinking.

Zhang said the spiritual experience on his mission happened during a companionship exchange with a missionary from Utah. He said one night they stayed awake chatting until 1 a.m., even though they knew they had to wake up at 6:30 a.m.

He said he felt exhausted when he woke up the next day but still went out and played basketball. He and his companion went back home for scripture study and before studying, Zhang said they knelt down to pray. They decided to pray individually and he thought it would be a great time to ask God if he actually exists, Zhang explained.

In his prayer, Zhang said, “Heavenly Father, if you are really there, take away my tiredness.” Before he even finished the sentence, all his fatigue was gone, he explained.

“I felt refreshed that my energy came back. I felt new. I did not finish my prayer because I was super shocked at that moment. … I was speechless,” he explained.

Zhang’s missionary companion then asked if he was feeling okay or if he needed help. “I didn't want him to know I didn't have a testimony, so I did not share [the experience] with him at that time. I felt ashamed because I was a missionary, and I did not have a testimony.”

He continued, “Later on in my mission, I gradually gained a testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon [through] very spiritual experiences. I couldn't deny [the experiences], even though the Church’s commandments are very hard. I know this Church is true [and] that is undeniable.”

From mocker to Church member to missionary

Zhang said when he was a non-believer, he used to mock those who believed in God. “Some people say Jesus Christ is more important than their parents, [and] it was a big shock to me, so I used to mock them,” he explained.

During one summer break, he said he and his best friend were hanging out on a Saturday and his friend told him he was going to church the next day. Zhang said he thought his friend got brainwashed.

His best friend joined the Church when they were both 11 years old but he did not find out until six years later. His friend did not tell him about the Church because in China, if someone is a Christian, the people around them think they are weird, Zhang explained.

Ultimately, Zhang said he decided to attend church with his best friend because he wanted to see what was “actually going on in the church.” The first time he attended church, he said he felt the spirit, even though he didn’t know what it was.

In August 2014, after a month of attending, he joined the Church at 17 years old. Zhang said he decided to get baptized because he wanted to participate in a youth activity. In Chinese law, only Church members can participate in the Church and its activities, he explained.

A couple of months after Zhang joined the Church, he said his best friend received his mission call. Because of his friend’s example, he said he decided he would go on a mission as well.

He did not know much about being a missionary but thought it would be a great experience, he added, emphasizing he thought he could play video games and explore new things in the mission field.

Converted to the gospel

Liam Li, a junior from Taoyuan, Taiwan, majoring in business management with a concentration in finance and supply chain, served in the same mission with Zhang. He said he has seen how the scriptures have helped Zhang become converted to Jesus Christ’s gospel.

When Zhang was new in the field, Li said he did not know much about the gospel doctrine, but he saw Zhang grow in his knowledge of the gospel.

“When he heard some cool doctrine, it motivated him to study more of the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon. … I think that's how he started to develop his testimony,” he explained.

Yidan Zuo, an alumna from Zhengzhou, China, and Zhang’s spouse, said her husband’s testimony of the gospel , which he gained from his mission, is powerful. She said Zhang is always ready to bear his testimony, and if brought to the missionary lessons to teach investigators, “He could bear his testimony based on their needs.”