AN INCAPABLE COLT
In the Methodist Guping Church Parish
I had been sick all the while I was in Yongan, and the doctor had advised me to go some place for convalescence. I therefore went to the Fuzhou Union Hospital for treatment. After recovering, I attended the 1943 Methodist Church Annual Meeting at the Tianan Church. On the last night of this weeklong meeting the Director, Xuande Li, conducted the formal and solemn ceremony for the coming year＊s staff designations. After he had announced the person＊s name, designation and duties, the person named would come up on the pulpit, kneel down and then be blessed by the Director.
The Director had announced: I was to be sent to the Shangyou Church at Flower Lane, Fuzhou, to work as a preacher. I knew that the pastor of this church, Longfan Xu, was a social-gospel advocate, anti-truth, and had turned Shangyou Church into a well-known social-church. Its activities and goals were people-centered, not much different from idolatry. ※What agreement has the temple of God with idols?§ (II Corinthians 6:16); how could I go and serve idols? The Bible clearly instructed: ※What part has a believer with an unbeliever? Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers§ (II Corinthians 6:14). How could I work with someone who was against the truth? For this reason, I stayed in my seat. The Director made the announcement 3 times and, not getting any response from me, went on to announce other designations. As it turned out, this was the first case of rejection of designation in the history of the Methodist Annual Meetings in Fuzhou.
Later, the director came to talk to me. He explained that he had assigned me to work in the city in view of my poor health. I stated the above reasons and added, ※I have offered myself for saving souls and not for social work.§ He saw my point and altered my appointment to be an itinerant minister in the Gutian/Pingnan Church Parish.
The Parish was comprised of urban and suburban churches and village chapels within 2 counties. An itinerant minister had to preach in these places, staying in one place for 7 or 8 days and preaching twice daily. Every time I went out, I was accompanied by a parish-supervisor; I was only responsible for preaching.
The 2 counties of Gu and Ping were mountainous with poor accessibility. People of the highlands spent one third of their lifetime walking. As I had heart problems, I was too weak to climb and had to hire sedan-chair bearers. When I noticed that the bearers were sweating profusely and exhausted, I felt bad and could only silently pray for God＊s mercy.
Despite the ongoing war, there was peace and quiet in the villages. Many villagers had not even heard of ※World War§. Even so, they did not have peace in their hearts and resorted to witchcraft and idolatry in the hope of finding peace and satisfaction. Obviously, all men needed peace and truth, whether at times of war or peace and whether they lived in cities or villages.
※The Spirit and the bride say, ＆Come!＊ and let him who hears say, ＆Come!＊ and let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelations 22:17)§ One time when we were assigned to Tiger-Hunt Village, the Holy Spirit had brought great enlightenment. We could not accommodate all the people who came for the gospel and had to use the local ancestral clan-hall temporarily. A clan-hall was a symbol of tribal authority and a place for festive events. Most tribal authorities were against gospel truth. However, this clan-hall in Tiger- Hunt Village had never before been so brightly lit on a cold night. Almost everyone in the village (except for the sick, the old and the handicapped) showed up. The Holy Spirit did great works and many, including 2 prominent elders, accepted the Lord. The 7-day evangelistic meeting was greatly blessed by the Lord from beginning to end. Satan, however, was unwilling to acknowledge defeat.
That night after the meeting, I returned to the home of my hostess. Her husband had passed away, leaving behind a son and a daughter. As I had to leave the next day, she knelt down to pray with me after sending the children to bed. As we were praying, we felt a sudden chill. I sensed a ghostly darkness that I had never felt before, and there seemed to be something on my back that made my hair stand on end. I was to sleep in the bedroom in the front. After praying the sister carried an oil lamp and lit my way until I got into the bed. She then returned to her own room in the rear. Around mid-night, I heard fighting in the rear room. This was a one-door, one-unit, one-family residence; who had come to fight? I figured that someone with malicious intent must have entered the residence and that, since both of us were women and would be no match in a fight, we would need to cry out for the neighbors to help.
With such thoughts in my mind, I quietly walked to the rear room, bolted the door on the outside and shouted loudly, ※What＊s the matter?§ ※It＊s so dark; I＊m so scared!§ was the frightened sister＊s reply. It turned out that it was not any intruder but Satan causing trouble. Immediately, I opened the door and rushed in, asking, ※Where＊s the lamp?§ ※The lamp and the matches are on the table.§ she replied. I reached out, found the matches and lit the lamp. I found the sister lying on the floor, her face pale, her lips purple and every hair around her forehead erect. She said, ※There was a hairy object pressing down on me, so I grasped it and fought with it. I don＊t know why I fell to the ground.§ I helped her up and calmed the crying children. After the children had gone to sleep, I talked with the sister. I persuaded her to confess all her sins and to ask for God＊s forgiveness so as to leave no ground for Satan (Ephesians 4:27). She then earnestly and totally repented before the Lord, confessed her sins and asked for the Lord＊s blood to cleanse her. As we were praying, we heard the sound resembling someone heavily hitting the ceiling 3 times. When it first occurred, both of us bounced up, as did the lamp, and immediately I exorcised Satan in the name of the Lord. Then we heard noise on the ceiling resembling whistling, moving past the rear windows before vanishing. The sister was extremely frightened. Actually, I was frightened too; but, in order to comfort and strengthen her, I called for the Lord＊s presence to deliver us from fear and horror. It is true that ※We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against ＃＃ spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places§ (Ephesians 6:12). We, therefore, need to be steadfast in the Lord and in the power of His might.
In 1943 there was an 8-day revival meeting co-organized by the Gutian Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church. I recommended Brother Dickson Sun, preacher of the Gutian County, to lead the meeting whilst I acted as his translator. The Holy Spirit moved mightily, for the attendance was not only limited to local believers but also members of the following organizations: Yuxin Girls Middle School 1 , an affiliate of the Methodist Church; Chaogu Middle School; Yuqing Elementary School; Huaili Hospital; a school for the blind operated by the Episcopal Church; Jingying Middle School across
from the Church; Shirongbo Middle School; and the County Health Center. In addition, there were prominent figures in the county as well as newspaper journalists. The evening meetings, in particular, were fully packed in both upper and lower floors. Many non-believers repented and believers were spiritually revived.
Following this, the church in Pinghu invited us to lead a meeting. Pinghu was situated at the source of the Gutian Stream, a vital town linking the Gu and Ping counties. On that day Brother Sun and I, together with another sister, went upstream in a small boat. In the middle of the journey, the boat lost control amid the gushing currents and was carried downstream, almost hitting the rocks on the way. The Lord＊s almighty and holy hand protected us; though we were thrown into the water when the boat had capsized, we were rescued and went on with our journey until we arrived in Pinghu. At the meeting in Pinghu, Brother Sun was greatly used by the Lord as a fisher of men, bringing glory to the Lord.
Ashamed and furious, Satan took revenge by using someone surnamed Wei to make a false report to the police to incriminate Brother Sun. As a result, Brother Sun was arrested the night he returned to Gutian Province from Pinghu, and was jailed for 25 days. Brothers and sisters knew that this case had nothing to do with misunderstanding or conflict among men but was, rather, a battle between the Holy Spirit and Satan. Just as the early Church had prayed for Peter (Acts 12:5), they showed up daily at the church before daybreak and prayed earnestly and tearfully. Five days later Wei＊s most beloved nine-year-old son suddenly fell ill and died. The unbelievers said, ※How could Wei withstand all these people praying tearfully and crying out to their God so early daily!§
※God is not mocked§ (Galatians 6:7). He manifests His righteousness!
Brothers and sisters were so constrained by the Lord＊s love that they could not wait to visit Brother Sun. Throughout the day they visited him and brought him all kinds of items, such as clothes, mats and blankets, food and drinks. From day till night Brother Sun had to stand by the wooden fence to receive brothers and sisters. The prison officer said, ※What crime has he committed for him to be sent here? These visitors are going to knock down the wooden fence; how annoying!§ In my weak faith, I figured that since I invited Brother Sun, I had caused trouble for the local church. Thus, I blamed myself over this matter.
Twenty-five days later, we were notified that brother Sun was to be released. All the believers came and lined up in 2 rows all the way from the prison door to the church. The uniformed prison guard was carrying a long sword with the blade wrapped in bright red cloth and the handle with red satin tiers. Solemnly, he escorted Brother Sun out of prison.
As brother Sun walked towards the church amid the 2 rows of believers, everyone was tearfully singing, ※Victory! Victory! Hallelujah! Glory to His Name!§ It lasted for quite a while. Watching this, I bowed my head in worship: ※Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight§ (Matthew 11:26). ※ So are My ways higher than your ways, my thoughts than your thoughts§ (Isaiah 55:9). ※O Lord, how great are your works! Your thoughts are very deep§ (Psalm 92:5). I will praise you forever.§
One day I learned that the daughter of Pastor Lixun Chen of the Erbao Gospel Church in Gutian had died of diphtheria. (She was a student of the Yuxin Middle School.) The Lord moved me to give Pastor Chen all of my monthly salary of $160 (Chinese dollars). I bargained with the Lord, ※Just give him $100, and save $60.§ The Lord said, ※All of it. Offer it all.§ I said, ※Lord, am I to go hungry then?§ Still, the Lord demanded me to offer it all, so I obeyed. Even though I ate and ate, the small quantity of rice left over from the previous month did not run out. For one whole month, the Lord prompted a neighbor, an elderly sister who loved the Lord, Mrs. Quanguang Chen 每 to bring me a bowl of tea every morning before breakfast. This had never happened before nor did it happen again later. Moreover, sister Zichai Zheng of Fuzhou had someone bring me a tin box (previously used for storing 5 pounds of cookies), that was fully packed with dry shredded beef. This month I was well off. How true it was that: ※The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry. (I King 17:14); ※Give and it will be given to you§ (Luke 6:38).
There is a Chinese idiom ※treated as the Emperor＊s order§ which refers to someone standing on the words of a certain person. Preachers are servants of God. God＊s words should not be ※treated as the Emperor＊s order§ but ※are orders of the Most High§. He demands that we fully comply. If we do not practice, how can we preach? How can we expect others to obey God＊s will? Isn＊t that lying? If we truly live out the words of God and seek His will in all things, we will certainly be blessed by Him.
1. Chinese Middle Schools (junior and senior) correspond closely to American High Schools.