How the Lord Led Me to Start a Publishing Ministry (Chinese Christian Testimony Ministry)
After arriving in the United States in 1986, I was led by the Lord to be a traveling minister to share with the so-called Free World Church the inspiring and touching testimonies of godly Christians, as well as God's messages of life inspired to us during the decades of unprecedented fiery trials in Mainland China.
In 1994, I was invited to speak at a summer conference in Singapore. On my way back to the United States, I was invited to visit Taiwan and had fellowship with many Christians from various backgrounds and areas. At one of the meetings (with over 600 members), hundreds of sets of audiotaped messages were made and distributed free at the conclusion of the meeting.
After I returned to the United States, a Sister Wang from Taiwan called me to ask for permission to put into print the five tape-recorded messages that I had shared. With my consent, she turned these into a book entitled Beautiful Footsteps (Rom. 10:15; Isa. 52:7). Since then, I had prayed for the Lord's leading regarding this book.
Shortly afterwards, a Sister Chang in Taiwan, whom I had never met before, called to ask if she could reprint the book. I told her that I wanted to add more details to make it more complete, and she agreed to wait. Meantime, I had a brother type out my manuscript and was introduced to a gospel friend with drawing talents who provided me with the illustrating pictures based on my sketches. Surprisingly, just two hours after both the manuscript and the pictures were all ready for print, Sister Chang unexpectedly called to say that she had just arrived in Los Angles. What wonderful arrangements the Lord had made! The prepared material was then handed over to Sister Chang, and the first 3,000 copies were printed in June 1997 in Taiwan (where the printing cost was much lower). This latter edition was re-titled The Narrow Way of the Cross.
A sister (L. M. H.) with whom I was well acquainted for over 40 years in Shanghai was so touched by the testimonies in the book that she sent me a nine-page letter together with US$2,000. Considering that she had only recently emigrated from China to the United States, this sum must have been a great portion of her fortune. I was deeply touched by the way the printed messages and testimonies worked. Meanwhile, other offerings were received which made it possible for the second and the third editions to be printed in September 1997 and June 1999 respectively. Thanks to the Lord, encouraging responses from readers had since been received from many parts of America, indicating and confirming that the testimonies and messages were edifying (I Cor.10:23) and that further publication would be pleasing to the Lord.
Meanwhile, the Lord had miraculously continued to supply the Ministry with some exceptionally inspiring testimonies and messages of His faithful children in China. Such were produced in the form of books.
Without asking for donations, the Ministry aims to look to the Heavenly Father alone for provisions, trusting that He will provide just as He had provided for the apostles as well as saints like George Mueller (ref. Chapter 9 & Addendum I). Our God has indeed provided in miraculous ways. For example, at a time when we were experiencing financial hardship, I received a sum of US$10,000 that came to me as a total surprise. The following is the story behind it.
After my father passed away (martyred) in 1956 without leaving behind any estate, my family experienced financial hardship. For, even though my father was a renowned physician, he practiced medicine with the purpose of preaching the gospel and showing brotherly love (especially towards his Christian co-workers in remote, poor areas) rather than building up his own wealth. Hoping to help ease the family budget, I wrote a book in March 1958, just two months prior to my arrest and exile. The book, entitled The Ingenious Ring-puzzles, was the first of its kind ever published in China (see picture). It brought in a few hundred yuans from the publishing house. In the book, I introduced and presented various versions of (classical) creative ring-puzzles together with solutions and formulas that I had derived for calculating the number of steps needed for unlocking the rings. The unlocking of the rings was most intriguing - for instance, a puzzle with nine rings required 1,023 steps for all of them to be unlocked.
Actually, my book was published in 1958 when Communist China had been closed to the outside western world until 1978 - within that long period of time there were no diplomatic or commercial relationships between the country and the U.S.A. Amazingly, my book inconceivably made its way into the United States Library of Congress. It was somehow discovered by a pair of husband and wife interested in games that demanded advanced levels of intelligence. Without my knowledge and consent, the book was enlarged, copied, and bound into volumes, and even later translated into English. Parts of my book were introduced in various magazines published in other languages. In order to buy the book's copyright, the publisher began looking for the author (me). Finally, after a three-month search in Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou, the publisher succeeded in connecting with my niece in Shanghai who referred me to him in the United States. The publisher offered to buy the book's copyright for US$10,000. My wife and I were led by the Holy Spirit to use this sum for the Ministry.
As far as co-workers and volunteers are concerned, the Lord had, one by one, led them to the Ministry with their contributions of expertise and offerings. Some of them reside in other parts of the United States and countries such as Canada, Taiwan, France, Australia, and Hong Kong, etc.
Just recently, our shabby office, a small shed in the backyard of a brother's house, was moved to an office building. How we thank our wonderful Lord! A sister residing 500 miles away found the office in our neighborhood. Another sister residing hundreds of miles away, whom we even never met, provides the rent. Still another provided two desks, three sofas and other necessary furniture, just enough for our use! Oh, our awesome and loving Lord!
It is amazing how God has started, orchestrated, and led this Ministry. "Without Me, you can do nothing" ( John 15:5); a ministry that is not started and led by God has no spiritual value. In fact, the Bible tells us that only "he who does the will of My Father in heaven" 'shall enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 7:21). The Lord is the First and the Last (Rev. 1: 17); He is the Alpha and the Omega ( Rev. 1: 8) and will, we pray, lead the ministry from start to finish!
May God bless the ministry in the building up of the saints and the edifying of the Church. May His holy name be forever glorified!