MAKE HASTE WHILE THE SUN SHINES
(Provincial Capital of Fujian)
In the winter of 1948, the war-zone had expanded to the northern banks of Changjiang (also named Yangtze River), and many teachers and students were moving south. The Lord also brought me back to Fuzhou. I recalled having had co-workers earlier, both in Shanghai and in Nanjing; this time though, I was all by myself and I felt afraid. The Lord, though, encouraged me: ※Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)§
The city of Fuzhou was in a state of turmoil. Its condition was even worse than when it was occupied by the Japanese. There was financial upheaval, currency depreciation, cries of discontent all around, and people were destitute. The currency at the time (legal currency, ※gold yuan§ notes, ※silver yuan§ notes, reserve notes, customs-tax notes, etc.) had all become void. People used silver coins as currency, which benefited the jewelers greatly but caused great hardship for those students from other cities and provinces. As a poor preacher, I had neither gold nor silver but just a few legal-currency notes left over from the time I was in Shanghai. However, the Lord had said, ※The silver is mine, and the gold is mine. (Haggai 2:8)§ As for my livelihood and work, I had to rely on the Almighty God alone who possessed all things.
Soon after my return to Fuzhou, I stayed in Rouge Hill in the home of sister Susanna, the wife of Pastor Chang (most people called her Madam Dr. Chang). Susanna served the Lord zealously, often hosting God＊s servants and maids. On the front door of her house was hung a horizontal plaque inscribed with the words ※ Bethany House,§ and this was where the work among Fuzhou students commenced. One Sunday night, 3 members of the National Fuzhou Conservatory of Music and I knelt and prayed by the dining table in the Bethany House dining room. ※O Lord! You are impartial towards people. Just as you had done great works in the other colleges throughout the nation, we pray that, by your grace, you will work likewise in Fuzhou..§ Thus, in one accord and holding on to His promise, we cried out to the Lord.
Thank God for answering prayers! He blessed this small prayer meeting and brought in more and more students to pray with one heart. The parlor became overcrowded, and so the partition at the rear had to be removed (because the structural material was wood, removal or installation work was not difficult). Soon after, it was again overcrowded, and so the 2 rooms on the sides of the parlor and the room in the rear had to be opened up, extending all the way to the courtyard, making it barely possible to hold around 130 people.
No sermons were given at the prayer meetings. First, we knelt down and prayed individually. Then, one by one, we prayed aloud for almost 2 hours, singing one or two hymns in between. Thank God for adding the number of believers day after day! These young students were burnt vigorously by the Lord＊s flame of love, and were spreading the gospel fire throughout Fuzhou. Some of them formed choir groups and sang praises in various churches on Sundays. Some said, ※Sister Zheng, your role is to nurture and to build us up, so let us be the ones to carry out the front line of evangelistic work!§ Up till now, such touching voices still resonate in my ears. Some had returned to their own hometowns or villages to organize youth fellowships. Without prior consultation with each other, they even used the same name for their fellowships, ※Bethany Fellowship.§
One day, the doorbell of Bethany House rang and along came a call, ※Huiduan Zheng, newspaper fees are due.§ Without any money, I could only ask the Lord to provide. Just then, the doorbell rang again, and the mailman called out, ※Huiduan Zheng, receive your registered mail!§ Opening it, I found a money order. I asked the newspaper worker to sit down and wait awhile for sister Susanna＊s son to collect the money from the post-office, and I later paid him.
One night, someone knocked on the door. It was the owner of the rice-store personally delivering 300 pounds of rice with a note reading: ※For Zheng of Bethany House on Peanut Lane, 300 pounds of rice, already paid for.§ Who had sent this? There was so much rice it could be taken for a long time and breed worms! The next morning, Madam Chang, returning from the market, told me anxiously and loudly, ※Late last night, the goldsmith stores were all closed down and the owners were arrested!§ From that day on, rice had become the publicly used ※currency§ and was, in fact, the only kind of currency that could be used for food purchase, hiring rickshaws and even postage.
One evening soon afterwards, a brother gave me 4 silver-coins, saying, ※This is your portion.§ I asked him what the silver-coins could be used for. He said, ※I don＊t know; but they were used for paying wages today.§ The next day, the use of rice-grains in the market was prohibited, and silver-coins were used in its place. ※The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. (Psalm 34:10)§; He ※is my shepherd; I shall not want§ (Psalm 23:1).
One afternoon it was raining heavily, and the Spirit of the Lord moved me to preach in the South-China Women＊s Literature & Science College, which previously housed the Young Women＊s Christian Association and had quite a number of lost sheep. Jesus said, ※My sheep hear my voice,§ and He wanted me to find the lost sheep. Therefore, I put on my raincoat. Having walked for half-an-hour and nearing the gate of the campus, I met a student I knew. She was carrying an umbrella and coming back through another street. She brought me into the dormitory and invited many Christian students to come. From that day on, a Bible-study meeting was arranged every week in the hall of that college. Gradually the attendance grew to around 130. Some of the students even joined the Sunday night prayer meetings in the Bethany House and have been kept by the Lord up to this day.
The Qilu Medical University in Shandong Province moved south to Fuzhou owing to the chaos caused by the war. The fourth floor of the female students＊ dormitory of the Fuzhou Union Seminary was temporarily loaned to house the female students of the Qilu Medical University. One day, the Lord led me to these students to look for His sheep. Just as I stepped on the stairway of the dormitory, I met the director of the seminary, Guangrong Lin. After a brief exchange of greeting, he said, ※Come with me!§ Not knowing what he had in mind, I simply followed him. He led me to the sanctuary of the seminary and offered me a seat in the front row. After praying, he told the students, ※Miss Huiduan Zheng has just returned from Shanghai, and I would like to ask her to speak to you for 3 minutes.§
All of a sudden, the opportunity had come. ※Thank you, Lord! Please use me.§ I used the brief moment when I was standing up to call on the Lord, and then testified, ※I＊m the daughter of a Methodist pastor and also an alumna of this seminary. I＊m the chief of all sinners, yet I have received mercy. It was not until the final year of my study in this seminary, and only after severe discipline from the Lord, that I was saved. It was also here that I received God＊s calling to serve Him for the rest of my life.§ The Holy Spirit had used this short 3-minute sharing to deeply touch the listeners＊ hearts. Actually, quite a number of them were just like myself in the past, not yet born again and not yet called. As requested by the students, the director allowed me to preach in the seminary 4 times. The Lord had used these occasions to bring some seminary students to the prayer meetings in Bethany House. Not only had they freed themselves from the long-term deception of the ※new theology,§ but they had also shared the burden of work among the youths. I later learned that the director of the seminary regretted having given me the 3-minute invitation; but who could close the door that the Lord opened? Praise the Lord!
After giving the above testimony in the sanctuary of the Union Seminary, I continued upstairs and met a female medical student. She asked me, ※Who are you looking for?§ I replied, ※It＊s you.§ Surprised, she said, ※But I don＊t know you.§ After reading my name card, she said, ※Oh, you are a preacher! There are some Christians here. If you will wait a minute, I will get them to come.§
A few minutes later, she brought several Christian students to see me, among them brother Shun Wu and sister Guilin Li. This was how the gospel work in the Qilu Medical University began. Whatever a Christian experiences is all pre-planned by the Lord. At the time, the students of Qilu had to leave their hometown for the precarious and unstable southland but were preserved and nurtured by the Lord. Though all scattered as time passed, they were guided by the Lord. Who could have thought that 32 years later, by the Lord＊s arrangement, brother Wu, sister Li and I would end up serving Him in unity in the Qilu University! How miraculous!
The Holy Spirit had done great works among the Christian fellowships of the National Fuzhou Conservatory of Music, adding many new believers and enlarging their scope. With one heart and one goal, they spread the gospel; some formed singing groups to serve the Lord in various churches while some testified and preached in various local areas or far-away places. Under the social circumstances at the time, gospel outreach had to withstand great financial pressure. The members of the music conservatory had love for each other and shared all their possessions. When one member went out to preach, the other members would let him wear the best clothes that they had as well as provide for his basic needs. A gospel food-catering team was set up in the fellowship group. Brothers and sisters turned in all they had to the member responsible for catering so that no one would go hungry. Soon after brother Huaien Dai of the music conservatory was saved, he had a heart to serve the Lord. Not only did he often compose gospel songs to coordinate with my sermons, but he also went by himself to preach to the prisoners in the city jail every Sunday morning until the time Fuzhou was ※liberated.§ Sister Xinfei Yang served the Lord zealously and, despite many tribulations later on, remained loyal and pure, bearing good witness for the Lord.