Chapter 11: My Fellow Co-Workers
Hebrews 12:1a Therefore let us also, having so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
Revelations 12:11b and they loved not their soul-life even unto death.
Revelations 1:9a I…fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus
In the first month of 1948, I had some learning in the Church in Fuzhou, after returning to the Church in Fuxing, I had more advanced service. Among the coordinating co-workers in the few local churches in Fuxing, the Lord gained several who loved Him with a geuine heart and served Him loyally, to become His witnesses of this age. Though these brothers and sisters have gone to the Lord, I still miss them deeply today.
Among my fellow co-workers, the first and foremost of mention is brother Wenqou Zheng. In the early years, he owned a Chinese pharmacy on Yuxi Street. On the New Year’s Day of 1936, he got saved from Brother Zhenfan Chen’s gospel preaching. Once he got saved, he was captured by the Lord’s love, he pursued the Lord and the Lord’s word as best as he can. His prayers are very urgent, often full of tears, even prayed with fasting. Those who prayed with him, would often be inspired by his prayer. He is very diligent in reading the Bible, when he was working at the store during the day, the Bible is set on the counter by the side, for him to read when there’s time, until the Bible worn out. So he is able to supply people with the riches of the Word. Not only that, he experienced the Lord’s severe stripping away and dealing. He had an adorable son, that the Lord took back at a very young age. Later, his wife gave birth to a daughter, he named this girl “Meiyi”, the meaning is “Yes, Father, for thus it has been well-pleasing in Your sight.” (Matt 11:26) This shows that he’s utterly subject to the Lord. He is full of the riches of life. Among all the churches in Fuxing, he has the best spiritual life situation.
As the responsible brother of the Church in Yuxi, Brother Wenqou Zheng is quite familiar with the spiritual and family situation of the several hundred saints of Yuxi, and can also render adequate timely help. One sister, her husband got sick and died, the five children are young, the family is poor, had to borrow some money from a brother. After Brother Wenqou knew about this, he offered the same sum of money, put it in the offering box for this sister, meaning for her to pay back what she owns. But due to lacking food, this sister used this money to buy rice, didn’t pay off the debt. After Brother Wenqou found out, he offered the same sum again, the sister uses it to buy rice again. When he offered the same amount a third time, this sister finally used it to pay back her debt. This story is told to me by this sister in tears. It shows that the brother not only spiritually, but practically, cared for those who are fellow members of the Body.
January 1956 is when the great persecution came upon us, Brother Wenqou Zheng, myself, and several brothers of Fuxing were all arrested at the same time, he was sentenced to five years. In 1961, he came back to serve with me after his sentence was over, so that time the Church in Yuxi experienced a revival. But just a short one year. In the July of 1963 the church suffered a hit for the second time, he and I were on the same day again, sentenced for seven years, got sent to Jianyang Prison to Laogai. In July of 1970 he was released back, but suffered strict monitoring, had no personal freedom, and often got pressured into volunteer work. In the August of 1972, the Lord took him back to the Heavenly Home after a long bout of disease, rested from the world’s harsh labor. I finished my term and allowed to go home in the October of 1973, how painful it was that I never got a chance to see him one last time! Looking back at the many years of his service in the church with me, persecuted with me, and his help for me on matters of life, I can never forget. His whole life is for the Lord, for supplying life to the church, dispensing Christ, at his own expense, became a glorious testimony for God.
Brother Chunfa Lee has a stylized name Xuanxing, he is from South Xiting of Longtian, was saved by grace much earlier, his spiritual journey had not been smooth, worked in a county food distribution center somewhere in Southern Fujian, once fell back into the world. But God would not let him go, let him be falsely accused and imprisoned. After finishing prison, he contracted severe tuberculosis, bedridden and coughed up blood on a daily basis. One day, I and my father both went to Longtian, passed by his house, saw that he’s lying on the bed. Father helped him use faith and ask for God’s healing Authority. He immediately was able to stand up, knelt on the floor with us to pray earnestly, utterly confessed and repented, and used his faith to accept God’s healing. In the end, he stopped coughing blood, and went with us to the meeting hall in Longtian and coordinated. From that point on, he got a stylized name that means “declare the faith”. In the Church in Longtian, he is a leading brother. He’s experienced the severe dealing by God’s hand, his life matured faster, and had strong spirit and rich word.
In the beginning of the fifties, political movement started, due to he once leading the saints in Andou village on matters of economic productivity, he and Brother Juming Lin both were sentenced for two years. He did not falter after coming back, still continued to serve faithfully in the church. In the January of 1956, all the churches in the country suffered great persecution, he was arrested for a second time, he expressed that he will pay everything to gain the reward of the heavenly kingdom. In the detention center, the jailer did not allow him to close his eyes and thank God before every meal, put him in maximum security, sometimes even took away the food that he was supposed to get, and not let him eat. The torment he suffered for those few months in prison was numerous. After sentencing, he was transferred to Heilongjiang for Laogai. Because he firmly believed that withdrawing from a religious organization is purely a matter of belief, not a matter of politics. In the end, got accused of the crime of refusing to be reformed, and was sentenced to death along with Brother Youzhao Gao, bled and martyred for the Lord, became a glorious martyr. We believe that on the day the Lord comes, due to his faithfulness unto death, he will surely receive the crown of life.
Brother Jumin Lin, is from Sanshan’s Haishentou village, is Brother Youzhao Gao’s uncle (father’s sister’s husband), lives in Longtian’s Xiaheyang village. He and two brothers Chungfa Lee, Youzhao Gao are the responsible ones for the Church in Longtian. He had the most burden for preaching the gospel and rescuing lost souls. He’s one that puts everything at stake, tears and sweat flowing at the same time, and thus touched many to the Lord. In the beginning of the fifties, due to helping the saints in Andou village with economic productivity, was sentenced to two years, along with Brother Chungfa Lee. In the January of 1956 the church experienced great persecution, he was imprisoned once again. In the first two days, he and I were in the same prison cell, he told me, “This time, I don’t want to go back and see my wife and children.” It shows that he’s already had the heart of a martyr for the Lord. He was also sentenced to Laogai in Heilongjiang, while there, due to him holding onto his faith, had been imprisoned once again, like Youzhao Gao and Chungfa Lee. In 1958, he died of illness in Heilongjiang’s Laogai team, truly as he’s said, not went back to see his wife and children.
Brother Youzhao Gao is from Longtian’s Xiaheyang village. When he was studying in Rongmei Middle School, received Brother Xiwen Chan’s help and got clearly saved. He has loved the Lord ever since he was young, and often came to fellowship with those of us in Yuxi, and bring Brother Wenqou and myself to Xiaheyang and Longtian to preach the gospel, raised up the Church in Longtian. He attended the second Kuling training. On January 11, 1956 that day when the churches were persecuted, he was at his in-laws home in Yuxi meeting hall, got to know that Brother Wenqou Zheng of Yuxi was arrested that evening. When he returned to Luguoxiting village, Longtian, was notified that Brother Chungfa Lee was also arrested that evening. Everyone told him not to go home, worried that he might get arrested as well. He answered, “Everyone all give themselves up for the Lord, how can I run away? I have to have a part as well.” He went home, was informed that his uncle who lives under the same roof, Brother Juming Lin, was also arrested. That evening, he and his whole family prayed together before the Lord. His mother and wife Zhaohua Wang were all sisters that loved the Lord very much. When he expressed to his family that he will give up himself as well, he wife asked: “If you give yourself up, then what about the children?” Brother answered: “The Lord will provide.” He has five sons, all very young. When the day is about to become light, Public Security people came to his house to arrest him. Brother Gao told his mother and his wife one sentence loudly, “I’ll see you again in the heavenlies!” A few months later, he was also sentenced to Laogai in Heilongjiang.
In Laogao camp, Brother Youzhao Gao and several others bravely sang hymns, prayed, and preached the gospel. He felt that what he does is a matter of faith, not something political. Later, he and Chunfa Lee, Juming Lin were imprisoned in the Detention Center of Heilongjiang. In order to coerce him, the officials there called the official in his hometown to take a photo of his five sons, and mail to Heilongjiang. The official showed this photo to Brother Gao, and asked, “Are these your children?” Brother answered, “Yes.” The official asked again, “If you give yourself up, don’t mind the sacrifice, have you even thought of your children, how can they live without a father?” Brother answered, “Those who love their wives and children more than they love the Lord, are unworthy of being the Lord’s disciplines.” Due to the brother being set in his will, was considered resistance to reeducation and was resentenced to death, and became a martyr for the Lord. A brother that was also imprisoned at Heilongjiang later said that when he saw Brother Youzhao Gao fell, he bled way more than all others. Lord, please remember the blood of those who faithfully loved you!
Among the co-workers who are sisters, I missed Yanzhi Wang and Huizhen Ling these two sisters. Sister Yanzhi is from Fuzhou, same age as Brother Nee. She’s consecrated her whole being ever since she was young, stayed a virgin to serve the Lord utterly. She’s studied Theology, has been to Baiyatan, and knew Sister Margaret E. Barber. She had preached the gospel for some years in an island of Putian, Nanri island. At that time, Chenguan, Fuxing County has a Methodist sponsored hospital, called Huileshen Hospital Sister Wang often stayed in that hospital to preach the gospel. Sister Mucha Lee that served many years in Shanghai and Sister Jianyin Cai that has a clinic in Dongzhang, along with Sister Chunyu Chen who eventually married Brother Wenqou Zheng, they were all the early fruits of gospel from Sister Yanzhi Wang. In the latter half of 1955 when I came out to serve full-time, Sister Wang coordinated with me in Church in Chenguan, Fuxing County, the tone to my hymn “This Life Already Belongs to the Lord”, she picked out for me. She is really modest with people, often prayed to be close to the lord, very pious towards God, full of love and sympathy for the members of the Body. She’s truly reached the point of rejoicing with the joyful, crying with the mournful. She’s careful in her conduct, spoke carefully, if the brothers and sisters used exaggerated adjectives, she would immediately correct them. She would pray before she does everything, for example, she would pray before writing a letter, asking God’s Spirit lead her to write what she ought to write. She is a person who is mature in life, and supplied many with the life of Christ. In early 1983, when the Lord took her away from Chenguan of Fuxing County, thousands went to the funeral. It’s truly that there were none that were her biological children, but there were way more than biological children. Though she went to the Lord, there are still so many saints that still miss her today.
Sister Huizhen Lin is from Chenguan of Fuxing. Before the Communist Revolution, her husband had been a judge in the highest court in Nanking, with vast knowledge, also believed the Lord. Sister Huizhen is like the debutante of a large family, with dignified conduct and manners, the sweet aroma radiates from her; when someone sees her, no introduction needed, they would be able to tell that she is a faithful, sister with discipline. She really loved the Lord, and loves the brothers and sisters. If the brothers and sisters had some trouble, she would help as much as she can. All the saints respected her. She had pivotal function in the Church in Chenguan. In the seven years I had been in Chenguan, Fuxing County, she is among one of the co-workers who had the most harmonious and of one heart. Whenever I finished speaking, she always used her prayer to supplement my word. She’s older than me by ten years, is my good spiritual older sister. Regardless of spiritual life, or family material living, she cared for me, gave me significant help. In October of 1973, I returned from prison, was able to see her again in Chenguan, Fuxing County. Not long after I heard that she was very ill, went to the doctor in Shanghai. It is in Shanghai, where the Lord took her back to the Heavenly home. I miss her very much, and I am also very grateful of her.
These six brothers and sisters above, I made some detailed introduction. Aside from the likes of Brother Wenxi Huang, Brother Junru Chen, Sister Jianyin Cai attended the Kuling training with me, all love the Lord, I cannot describe them all here. As for the co-workers who coordinates intimately with me that are still alive in this world right now, I will not introduce.