• Bro. Zhanxiang Liu •
My Biological Father,
Also My Spiritual Father and Mentor
The one who lead me to serve the God of glory full time for life, is my father. He is my biological father, also my spiritual father. Not only that, he is my spiritual mentor. Looking back, there are ten things that impressed me:
1) While in my mother’s womb, my father already consecrated me to the Lord. As soon as I was born, father held me, looked to the heavens, prayed and consecrated, named me “Samuel”, hoping that my whole life can be consecrated to the Lord.
2) As a child, father like to take me to visit small locales. When living in Yilan city, I was ten years old, father took me to a little fishing village named Beifanao. Back then, we have to take the train first, then by car, lastly a stretch of mountain road. Father and son, on the mountain ridge; sun shone down, darkening the silhouettes; slowly we finally arrived. Two responsible brothers told father, “There had been a fire in the area, burnt down all the houses next to the meeting hall! Thank the Lord our meeting hall only singed a little.” After they finished, father asked a question, not loud, but one that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. He said, “If the meeting hall also burnt down, would you still thank the Lord?” They froze, I was startled after I heard it, father always had an unusual logic in dealing with things. That leads people to introspect.
3) At twelve, I was baptized at the meeting hall in the Church in Gangshan, my father interviewed me for baptism. After the baptism, as I see the water in the baptismal pool drain away, I knew that I’ve begun a new life. However, I had no heart for the Lord, just knew that I must go to young people meeting once a week.
4) When my family lived in Gangshan city, father once took me to a nearby place called Yanchao town for a meeting. To meet, people need to bring their own stools. The brothers and sisters there rented a place; with some chairs made of bricks. After the meeting, they entertained us magnamously with wonton soup. After dark, father and I took the bus home. Just the two of us as passengers on that empty bus!
5) In 1966, Brother Lee came back to Taiwan for a national conference. After that, a young people conference followed. At the time, I was fifteen, in the third year in middle school. Father took the train with me from Hsinchu to Taipei to the conference. The strange thing is, that day father was acting different from usual. Since getting on the train, he was praying silently. At the meeting hall, I sat in the front, father sat in the back, still praying. It was a meeting for altar call, urging young people to serve the Lord full time for life. In the meeting, I was touched by the Lord, also first time turn in consecration form to serve the Lord full time. At that time there was a total of 129 saints turning in consecration forms, mostly college and high school students, the only middle schooler is me. Later on, I gradually understood, like Abraham offering up Isaac, father was consecrating me to the Lord. Later on I also understood why father liked to bring me to visit small remote places: he doesn’t just want me to serve full time for life, he also wanted me to propagate in small places like him. So he raised me young, in this way, so that I get accustomed to the environment.
6) My first year of high school, we lived in Changhua city, every morning during summer vacation, father would take me up the mountain trail, up to nearby Eight Trigram Mountains to look for a quiet and secluded place with rocks to sit on, to have morning revival; he taught me how to pray to the Lord, how to build up an intimate relationship with the Lord, how to know Him in morning revival. To my recollection, every time father sang hymns there, he is always in tears. The hymns he sang, like hymn 591 “Not I, but Christ be honored, loved, exalted”, it helped me not only to touch the Lord, also trigger my spiritual hunger for “Not I but Christ, honor the Lord, and wait for the Lord’s second coming”. It solidly laid my spiritual foundation for the rest of my life.
7) When the family lived in Changhua City, once father took me to a place called Shetou town for a meeting. In the meeting, brothers and sisters sang hymn 894 using Hokkien. “Will you be an overcomer? Will you make this choice? Christ is calling, Christ is calling, Listen to his voice!” This hymn that urge us to become overcomers, touched me deeply. That even today, I can still remember the enjoyment and lyrics of the singing brothers and sisters as if it was only yesterday.
8) After high school graduation, I got accepted into National Taiwan University, at the time father was serving in Eastern Taiwan area. I went to Taitung first to look for him. Then he personally accompanies me around Taitung, Pingtung, all the way up to Taipei, escort me to the brother’s house of National Taiwan University. When I first entered the brother’s house, it feels like I’ve stepped on holy ground. Father’s personal chaperoning, thoughtful companionship, truly a perfect role model for serving ones!
9) When my family lived in Hualien city, I was sophomore in University. That time I became a “weirdo”. Spiritually I have a burden to serve, but also can tell that I don’t have what it takes, due to having severe stutter, not good with words, and cannot coordinate with others. At the time I wrongly assumed, pursuing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, is the only way to solve my problem, so I fasted and prayed three days and three nights straight. That time was also young people’s conference, after every meeting, I find a place to kneel down and pray, eat no food and drank no water. At first there were some sensations of hunger, but after two days hunger pangs were gone, which means then there’s no need to eat. At the time I thought the outpouring of the Holy Spirit required something miraculous to happen, but when it didn’t I got stuck there. When my younger brother Benjamin came then to convince me otherwise, it didn’t work, I hardened my heart. After Dad knew, he came to find me, urged me to eat. Back then I was very stubborn, and bullheadedly insisted that I’m not eating! After hearing that, he wept right there, prayed a bit and then left. After father left, I thought that no matter what, I still need to learn to listen to fellowship, at the time my hardened heart was conquered by father’s compassion! In addition to Benjamin’s help, and the problem got resolved.
10) After father suffered stroke, my family settled in Shipai, Taipei City, near Taipei Veterans General Hospital. That time I have answered the Lord’s call to serve full time. Once I went home to ask Dad: “When we walk by faith, would there be problems down the line?” Father addressed me by my baby name, answered: “Ever since our family started serving, the Lord is like a hidden servant providing for us. The Lord’s provision is even more timely!”
Brother Lee’s Observation—Loyal Brother
After the summer training of 1995, Brother Lee invited me to his home in Anaheim to fellowship with him. He especially mentioned my father, saying: “Your Dad is a loyal brother. Among the coworkers, he is short in stature, quiet and of few words, but during the turmoil in Taiwan, your father once especially came to talk to me saying: “The things those few cowokers say, you really shouldn’t believe them.” Indeed after a few years, those few so-called gifted coworkers left the Lord’s Recovery. Father’s conduct was clean and pure, with very sensitive discernment, as soon as he contacts people, using his spiritual intuition, he can tell when something is amiss.
Looking back at father’s service, his gift wasn’t obvious, function is also not evident at first glance, but from his simple and conventional lifestyle, overflow his appreciation of the preciousness of Christ, also his loyal yet meaningful life-long service deeply attracted me to follow his footsteps wholeheartedly to serve the Lord and His Recovery for life under the ministry of the present age.
Eldest son, Samuel Liu
May 8, 2016