…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14
1976, Xihua, Henan Province, China
One day I got word that Feng Jianguo, known as “Uncle Feng,” was going to be transferred to Xihua camp. I was overjoyed at the news. Uncle Feng was a powerful preacher who had founded the underground church network China Gospel Fellowship.
China Gospel Fellowship, referred to simply as “Tanghe” by the majority of its members, is one of the most well-known underground house church networks. Containing millions of believers, this group has more members than the entire population of many European countries! Like most underground networks in China, the Tanghe fellowship is named after the county in which it began. Tanghe County in Henan province. Uncle Feng was a dynamic preacher in Tanghe County during the 1970s but was considered to be an enemy of the Chinese Communist Party. I had heard about his powerful ministry, and apparently the government had, as well.
Uncle Feng had not set out with some ambitious plan to start a huge fellowship but was simply faithful in preaching the gospel. His being forced to travel from one village to the next with the police hot on his tail resulted in churches being planted throughout a large section of China. Whenever the police would arrest members from those churches, they would simply say, “We are from Tanghe Church.” The persecution led to the establishment of a mighty army of fearless soldiers for Christ.
Uncle Feng was branded as an antirevolutionary and marked by the Party, which would not rest until he was apprehended. It was not long before the law caught up with him. After he was arrested, Uncle Feng was interrogated, beaten and sent to the jail in Nanyang. He stayed there for about a year before he was sent to our labor camp in Xihua.
Xihua Labor Camp had been divided into various sectors with different farms, so I knew it might be impossible for me to find him. But I had heard about all the amazing things that God had done through his life, and I was sure that I would greatly benefit from his fellowship given the opportunity. I had no idea that some brothers in Nanyang had already told him that I was in Xihua and that all of them were praying that he would meet me.
The part of the camp I had been assigned to was quite near the main farm, so I could hear what was going on at the main gate and in the prison yard. One day, soon after I heard about Uncle Feng, buses came in through the camp gates. The buses kept coming and coming until their contents — six hundred new prisoners — flooded the prison yard. The guards moved the new arrivals into more manageable groups, and then each group was divided into sections. Guards for each of the sections led the prisoners to their assigned areas.
One of the guards yelled for me to come over and bring the last groups of newcomers to my cell block. As I walked over there, I heard the footsteps of those being led to my section. “Line up!” the guard yelled at the group. I could tell that everyone was getting tired. The guards wanted to get to bed as much as we did. “When I point to you,” the guard told the inmates, “step forward and sound off with your name.”
Then he pointed to one of the new prisoners and said, “You.” The prisoner stepped forward and yell out, “Prisoner Feng Jianguo, an antirevolutionary criminal!” Immediately, I looked over at him. He was tired, but I could see the joy of the Lord on his face. His cheeks were sunken from malnutrition, and his hair was disheveled. I could tell that he needed rest and restoration, and I was going to do my best to provide it.
“Zhang! Find the prisoner a bed.”
“Yes, sir!” I rushed over, took Uncle Feng’s luggage from him, and carried it back toward my cell. Out of the six hundred new prisoners placed in a camp filled with hundreds of others, God had sovereignly arranged for the one I needed to meet the most to be placed in my own cell!
God had heard the prayers of His children once again!
After we arrived at the cell and I had shown him his bed, we looked around to see who was watching. We were allowed to talk because I was helping a new prisoner, and I was expected to introduce him to the camp procedures. When I saw that no one was looking,
I grabbed Uncle Feng’s hands,
and we immediately began to pray together.
It was such a precious time,
and the Spirit of the Lord moved mightily.
I started to cry out uncontrollably,
and my tears carved channels through the dirt to my face.
Feng began to cry, as well.
We just stood there holding on to teach other
and weeping before the Lord.
We didn’t know what the next day would bring
or if we would live to see the outside of the prison walls,
that night we did know that
the Lord was with us.
He smiled upon us,
and it was like the warm sun shining on our faces.
— Source: Zhang Rongliang, I stand with Christ, Whitaker House, 2015, pg 119-121
… a longing fulfilled is a tree of life
Proverbs 13:12 (NIV)
when none of us have the answers,
when church is stripped to its .. raw essence,
no matter, when,
.. no matter, where,
when two or three gather
in His name,
Jesus is in our midst
23 After Paul and Silas had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, …
Acts 16:23-25 (NIV)
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings
I will rejoice.
8 My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:1-4, 7,8 (NKJV)
From a lover of God,
a worshiper’s heart,
…. seeking Him alone.
Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told,
“Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar,
and count the number of worshipers.
Revelations 11:1 (NLT)
One Thing remains
If we are not faithful, He will still be faithful,
because He must be true to who He is.
2 Timothy 2:13 (NCV)
19 “Again, truly I tell you that
if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for,
it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
20 For where two or three gather in my name,
there am I with them.”
Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV)
3:34 Then Jesus looked at those sitting around Him
“Here are my mother and my brothers!
3:35 My true brother and sister and mother are those
who do what God wants.”
13:35 Everyone will know that you are my disciples
because of your love for each other.”
Mark 3:34, 35 (NCV), John 13:35 (NOG)
“Another thing one notices when speaking with Ruth and Abraham — in fact with most Christians in China — is that no matter what kind of difficulty or persecution they are going through, or that has already occurred in their lives,
they do not dwell on it.
It is not the big thing or the focal point of their spiritual journey.
Instead, Jesus is.
Their habit is to view the hardship only in the light of how much it brings them closer to their Lord and the lessons He wants them to learn. When in conversation with others, they are generally not inclined to be the first one to mention how they have suffered. They tend to talk about these kinds of things only if they are specifically asked about them. The reason for this is because they know that there are many Christians in the Mainland who undergo similar challenges in their faith. They are not the only ones.“
Source: David Wang, Christian China and he Light of the World, 2013, pg 160.
For more, Unheroic Christianity (click here)
8 … We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure,
so that we despaired of life itself.
9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.
But this happened
that we might not rely on ourselves
but on God, who raises the dead.
10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril,
and he will deliver us again.
On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,
11 as you help us by your prayers. …
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (NIV)
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus.
4 They risked their lives for me.
Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
Romans 16:3,4 (NIV)
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.
29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy,
and honor people like him, 30 because
he almost died for the work of Christ.
He risked his life
to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
Philippians 2:25, 29,30 (NIV)
I pledge allegiance to the Lamb
O Lord, you are my God
by 林弟兄, bro Lim
January 20, 2017
Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2017 – All Rights Reserved