AN INCAPABLE COLT
There was an inconspicuous colt tied in a village. The Lord knew it and used it to carry the Lord of lords and the King of kings to the Holy City of Jerusalem (Luke 19:29-38). I wanted to be this colt, driven and used by the Lord, even if it meant that I had to lay down my life.
In Sugarcane Village, Fuzhou
In the summer of 1936 the Lord sent sister Shouen Wang and me to sow gospel seeds in Sugarcane Village near Fuzhou. With an abundance of sugarcane plantations and sugarhouses, this place derived its name from its rich production of sugarcane. It was a blooming town with good transportation systems and a population of over 30,000. Practically speaking, it should have been a favorable place for making a living. Having landed from the boat, we noticed, however, that the villagers looked distressed. We later found out that idolatry, demon-possession, demon-worship and witchcraft were very common throughout the entire village.
We were accommodated in a two-storied wooden structure with bamboo fences. The two rooms on both sides of the lower level were to be our bedrooms, the central hall was the conference room and the spacious room on the upper level, resembling an attic, was the prayer-and-watch room.
That night we knelt down with a sense of helplessness, pleading for the Lord to cleanse us, fill us and use us. The more we prayed, the heavier the burden we felt - what a great battle it was to deliver 30,000 souls from the bondage of Satan! We had faith that, since the Lord had called us to fight, He would personally lead the way.
We spent the following morning and afternoon preaching in the villagers＊ homes. In the evening we left our doors wide-open, hung a gas-lamp in the conference room and held an evangelistic meeting. Every day, sister Shouen Wang led the singing and I delivered the sermon. Gradually we saw God working among us and supporting our ministry with many miracles and wonders. Many in the dark turned to light, and from the rule of Satan to that of Christ. By the name of Jesus, some of the demon-possessed were also delivered.
There was a Mr. Cheng who was engaged in demon-worship and witchcraft. When demon-possessed, he would become so strong that he could walk briskly on ceiling-beams and could chew ceramic bowls without being cut. Many villagers watched him with awe and followed him submissively. Later, he received the Lord. Since then, he had lost his ※peculiar power§. This angered his followers as they had lost the means of making money. When his elder son passed away and his second son fell sick, they took the opportunity to attack him, saying that Buddha was taking revenge because of his conversion to Christ. They tried their best to persuade him to resume demonolatry. Brother Cheng firmly resisted, stating, ※Even if the rest of my family had died and I＊m the only survivor, I＊ll still believe in Jesus.§ Soon his second son was healed and became a missionary when he grew up. His two younger daughters also attended the seminary and went into ministry.
One day Brother Cheng＊s youngest son came running, begging us to go immediately to his house to see his father who had fallen from a big tree and had become unconscious. He had been carried home on door planks. Knowing this, I cried out uncontrollably, ※Lord, for your name＊s sake and for your glory, let there be no mishap.§
On the way to Brother Cheng＊s home, I remembered how Dr. John Song had used oil-anointing and prayer to heal the sick, and my faith sprang up. Yet, how were we to find olive oil in this village? I asked the family members to give me some vegetable oil in a bowl. With this in my left hand, I knelt down by brother Cheng＊s bed, anointed him in the name of the Lord and prayed. I then commanded him, in the name of the Lord, to rise and walk, which he did. I was not gifted in healing, but by using the name of the Lord in an emergency situation like this, the Lord manifested His great power. How I thanked the Lord for the privilege of using His holy name!
One evening the daughter-in-law of a lady preacher (Mrs. Cheng of the Tianan Church) came, carrying a baby that was a few months old. She asked for permission to stay with us for a few days. She added that, even though her parents were living here in Sugarcane Village, it was inconvenient for her to stay there because of the baby＊s illness. By the love of the Lord, we cleaned up a room for her. After dinner we invited her to pray with us. She tightly held the silent and motionless baby. We prayed for the Lord to forgive her sins and to heal the baby. The Spirit enlightened her and she prayed and confessed her sin of not honoring her parents.
In the middle of the night I was awakened by the sound of the baby＊s cry. Thinking that perhaps the baby＊s health condition was deteriorating, I put on my robe and went to knock on the woman＊s door. Smiling happily, she responded, ※Healed! Healed! Go back to sleep and don＊t worry.§ The next day she joyously bid us farewell.
It was only after they had left that we learned from the neighbors that the baby was actually dead at the time they came to us. The neighbors of the woman＊s parents were not believers of Christ and, for reason of superstition, would not allow anyone with different surnames to die in the compound. They did this in order to avoid having to remove the roof-tiles to eliminate the ※ill-luck§ so as to prevent future mishaps. Therefore, they had to evict the pitiful woman and the dying baby. After the baby had died, the parents did not allow them to return. The woman had wanted to bring the dead baby to her husband but had missed the departing boat. Having heard the facts, we understood how selfishness and superstition had driven the pitiful woman to despair. By the Lord＊s mercy, the baby had come back to life and the mother was saved. Praise the Lord who, despite our ignorance, had granted our earnest prayer requests!
One of the social activities here, as in other places, was story-telling. This usually took place after dinner with a crowd sitting around the storyteller, and money was collected after he had finished the story. One evening before the evangelistic meeting, a believer told me excitedly that the storyteller was coming to our meeting as he had heard that the new female ※storyteller§ could speak and sing and was drawing many people to the Sunday service, leaving him without any listener. We prayed for the Holy Spirit to save him. By the Lord＊s mercy, that evening he stood up and accepted the Lord. From then on he came daily to listen to the gospel.
After a while he failed to show up. Sister Wang and I prayed fervently for him in the watch room. The prayer-answering Lord had done great things, for the storyteller did show up that night. At the end of the service he stood up and testified, ※Walking past this place a few days earlier, I heard the sound of prayers upstairs and that my name was being mentioned. Naturally, I thought that those people praying were accusing me behind my back even though they made themselves look nice and cheerful. I became so angry that I decided not to come any more. During dinner tonight I became very distressed and felt the urge to return. That＊s why I＊m here again. Thank God that I know now I had wrongfully blamed others.§
Praise the Lord, for He had added more than 100 people to this small village assembly within just half a year or so! The Fuzhou Methodist Church sent Pastor Fong to replace us and to assume the task of church-building construction.