Parents of murdered girl find comfort in their Christian faith

The parents of a nine-year-old Toronto girl, who was abducted last fall and murdered, have found comfort and solace in the Christian faith.

Cecilia Zhang was abducted from her bed last fall. Her remains were found in March, and Min Chen, 21, a visa student from Shanghai, was charged last Thursday with her murder.

A feature article in The Globe and Mail tells of the role faith has played in the lives of these parents as they mourn their daughter’s death.

According to the newspaper report, little Cecilia would often ask her mother if she believed in God. However, born and raised as atheists in Communist China, her parents would often avoid the question.

Sherry Xu and her husband, Raymond Zhang, only embraced religion soon after their daughter's abduction. In April, after her funeral, they were baptized into an evangelical Christian denomination.

Reverend Daniel Lee said he visited the couple to offer spiritual help days after Cecilia's abduction. Soon, members of Chinese Evangelical Alliance Church of Toronto, which Lee founded 11 years ago, became constant companions, said the Globe.

The church is part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, which has three million members in 60 countries.

This church organized Cecilia's huge memorial service. Lee said the couple, who had never been to church before, now attends church every Sunday, as well as several smaller fellowship meetings each month.

Last Wednesday, police told the couple that a young man they knew had been charged with their daughter's murder, and they were instantly forgiving.

"They are absolutely incredible people," Peel Regional Police Chief Noel Catney told the Globe. "They reflect a position of forgiveness and empathy and compassion."

The couple held a press conference the following day. Lee, who watched press conference on television, wasn't surprised by the couple's attitude of forgiveness.

"They are Christians now," he told the Globe. "For them to forgive requires a lot of strength. I think they get it from God. They know everyone is a sinner."

He said the congregation was praying for the couple to have another child. “We hope God will give them more children to comfort them."

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