Chapter 8: My Impression of the Second Kuling Training
Isaiah 44:21b I have formed you; you are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.
Jude 20 But you, believed, building up yourselves upon your most holy faith, …
After Brother Nee recovered his ministry in the spring of 1948, the first of his really hard work, is to hold the Kuling training. At the time, Mt. Kuling has a lot of houses, originally serves as a summer retreat for foreigners, due to the turmoil of the time, they had to leave Mainland China, so Brother Nee bought these properties. Brother Nee was responsible for all the finances for the Kuling training. It shows that in his six years of stopping the ministry, he wasn’t doing nothing, but silently preparing. He knew from deep within, that God’s purpose for him was to perfect others. He had planned to continue Kuling training from term to term.
In the summer and autumn of 1948, Brother Nee held the first term of Kuling training, mostly for the co-workers from outside of Fujian Province. In March of 1949, he held the second Kuling training. All the co-workers of Fujian attended this second session. Of course, there are a lot of co-workers from elsewhere that came to receive training, those more ahead that attended this second training, brothers include Chenhua Yu of Shanghai, Youngtong Ji of Nanking, Tianming Hua of Changchun, along with Luosan Chen and Xiwen Chen of Fujian. Sisters include Peace Wang and Rachel Lee of Shanghai, and Xiouying Hou of Tsingdao. A British Sister R also joined. Aside from myself, the Fuxing co-workers that came for training included my father Shaoliang Lin, brother-in-law Junru Chen and brothers like Wenqou Zheng, Youzhao Gao, Guobao Wu, Wenxi Huang, and Sister Jianyin of Dontzhang.
In Kuling, the brothers and sisters were arranged to stay at various “houses”, there are “He House”, “Sha House”, “Bai House” etc. Every “house” has a “House leader” to manage. All the brothers and sisters were very aware and followed the timetable. Brother Nee at the time only asked a little of us, that we would not bring our own opinions. He himself lived in “Nee House”. At the time, I was assigned to “He House” to stay in, those that also stayed there, included older brothers like Tianming Hua of Changchun, Peter Zhou and Jinsheng Yu of Tsingdao, Kechan Ding of Zhejiang and Zhengguang Zheng of Fuzhou. This “house” is specially for the elderly and ill. Brother Zhengguang and myself were both young, but due to being frail in constitution, got assigned to this house.
The design of Kuling meeting hall is very special, there’s no podium, the front is lower than the back. When releasing messages, Brother Nee ended up seating in the lowest seat, with four elderly brothers and sisters sitting in front of him: Chenhua Yu, Luosan Chen, Peace Wang, Xiouyin Hou. The first session gave me a deep impression. Brother Nee picked to sing “My will is weak, my strength is frail, And all my hope is nearly gone.” (Hymn 578.) After he prayed, the first sentence that comes out of his mouth is, “God’s burden for me, is to be the servant of all the servants.” It shows that he is not standing up high to lecture people, but lowering himself, using the Lord’s word and life to serve everyone. This point gave us an excellent example.
There’s three sessions every day in Kuling training. One session in the morning, where Brother Nee release important messages. Second session in the morning, those that came to the training receive spiritual judgement, every trainee first testifies their own experience of salvation and their spiritual situation after believing the Lord. With four brothers and sisters as judge, and, in the end, according to the individual spiritual situation, Brother Nee gives personalized help accordingly. After advising and help, he then prayed for this person with blessing. Brother Nee’s prayer and his advice, we all treasured. There is one last session in the afternoon, with Brother Nee speaking of “Messages for Edifying New Believers”. In the first Kuling training, Brother Nee only spoke of 52 topics of “Messages for Edifying New Believers”. In the second training, seven more were added, to a total of 59 topics. It included some basic truths that a Christian ought to know, and the normal life that they must live. This is not only spiritual homework for new believers to learn, it is also really good material for building up spirituality for saints in general. There are typically no meetings in the evening, to let everyone to polish up their notes. On the rare occasions that there is a meeting, everyone held lanterns to go to the meeting hall to meet. On Lord’s Day, the trainees get to join the local church meetings.
First session every morning, Brother Nee takes the chance to release important truths. In the four months, Brother Nee released messages like “The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Releasing of the Spirit”, “Authority and Obedience”, “How to Be God’s Representative Authority”, “The Ministry of God’s Word”, “the Character of the Lord’s Workers”, “Affairs of the Church”, “How to Read the Bible”, and “How to Preach the Gospel”. Among them, “The Ministry of God’s Word” is spoken of the longest, took about four to five weeks. These were all collected in the anthology of The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, volume 3, where all of these important messages have been translated into many languages, and became the life supply for the millions of saints in the church all over the earth.
Brother Nee’s spiritual judgement for me was arranged at the latter half of the training. After I simply said my experience of being saved, the four brothers and sisters just gave me an average comment, then is Brother Nee helping me. In the first point, he said that I’m a little lacking in the supply of the Word, but that’s not a problem now. The second point, he said that my mind is a bit more powerful, because my salvation is for solving the problems in my mind. This kind of situation will make me easy to fall into the realm of the mind and thoughts. How can I deal with the mind? He suggested that I should not put too much importance on my thoughts, on the contrary, I need to think of my thoughts as unimportant. I need to feel that my own thoughts have no value whatsoever. The most important is to return to the spirit, live in the spirit. This word was very helpful for me.
We only meet a little over a month up on Kuling, because of the current political situations and domestic safety reasons, the meeting got moved to Brother Nee’s home on Haigang Street. After the training is over, Brother Nee wrote a letter to every brother and sister, according to everyone’s different situations, pointed out their future direction of spiritual pusuits. In the letter for me, he encouraged me to be strong, to be rich, this is helpful for my entire life.
In the Kuling training, the spiritual atmosphere is especially thick. Whenever Brother Nee finished releasing the Word, everyone was all repenting in the Lord’s light, often praying with tears. Several times, Brother Nee’s words, pierced everyone’s hearts, and everyone wept, he often had to stop. Wait for the crying to stop, then he can continue speaking. I remember the first time everyone cried, it was when Brother Nee talked about matters of life, he said, “God has many works upon you, for you to be broken, let God have the way, but you always blocked God’s hand, obstructed God’s doings!” Everyone who heard were all touched, and wept. The second time was when Brother Nee talking about “Affairs of the Church”, he said that how clear the vision of the Church that we see, God’s standards is that high, but what’s the situation of all the churches today? Everyone thought about how bleak, desolate and pitiful the situation of all the churches today, our hearts were electrified, all wept again. This is truly the work of the Holy Spirit. The last time we wept is at the ending of the training, Brother nee talked of “How to Preach the Gospel” that topic. He spoke that preaching the gospel requires the fire of the gospel, and that he’d rather that the gospel of fire can burn all over China. That time when he spoke, he was very passionately standing up, with very strong spirit, the whole meeting all wept again.
The impression that Brother Nee gave us on a normal basis was that he is very kind, he always smiles and nods whenever he saw people. He rarely had individual contact with believers, but he has great spiritual authority, brothers and sisters all respect him very much. When he deals with people, he can be very strict at times. I remember a brother from Jianxi, he once studied in Changsha Seminary, very familiar with the Bible, with much spiritual knowledge; when Brother Nee gave him spiritual judgement, the first sentence is, “I’d rather cut off your head.” What he meant is that his mind must be dealt with, he mostly lives in knowledge, so that brother’s spirit is not strong. He strictly dealt with people is because such lessons are necessary, to have people receive good edification.
In the Kuling training, the Lord’s Spirit is truly with us, the light of the truth shined on us severely, that we cannot surrender ourselves before the Lord. It’s been over half a century since Kuling training, I miss that situation very much, where being on earth is like being in the heavens. It’s a pity that the Kuling trainings had only two semesters before being forcibly ended. But just these two semesters, I believe that it is worth remembering before the Lord for eternity.
When the training ended in the July of 1949, we took a group photo in the front garden of Brother Nee’s house, to record this precious memory.