A Grandfather’s Poem and Rare Footage of the Underground Church in China

One of the rich blessings of the Principles Book that was highlighted in last week’s post is that it draws from the present-day experiences of the underground churches in China, North Korea and Iran and shows the same spiritual life and witness that we read about in the book of Acts being powerfully lived out today in the churches of these nations. As a follow-up to that book, I wanted to share a powerful four-minute video of some rare footage of the underground church in China that gives a sample of the vibrant spiritual life that exists there.

Before I do, however, I thought I would bring it a little closer to home and share my own family’s past connection with mission work in China, and also some of my own spiritual interests in the work of God there.

My family’s connection goes back two generations to my grandfather on my mother’s side. Lawrence M. Mead Sr., was a missionary to China back in the days before the Communist revolution (serving over the period of 1913 – 1939.) He worked closely with the YMCA , was the Director of English at Yenching University in Peking, and also served in evangelistic and spiritual ministry there. (This is where my mother was born and spent the majority of her childhood.) In reading over a compilation of my grandfather’s prayers and poems today as I prepared for this post, I became reminded again of his deep faith in Christ and his faithful commitment to the Lord’s work.

Below is one of his poems to give you a taste of his faith and devotional life, as well as his gift of poetic expression:

Thine eyes, dear Lord, can plumb men’s hearts
Thou sharest still the cares of earth
We know our road to Heaven starts
At lowly manger of Thy birth
Thy stumbling foll’wers humbly pray
For guidance on our footsore way

Thy Father’s Word doth cleanse the mind
Clear fountains flow for all who read
Those drinking deep rejoicing find
Their hearts from haunting fears are freed
Thy fainting brothers thirsting pray
“Guide us to springs along the way.”

Thine inner vision pierc’d to heights
Of conduct never reach’d by men
Thy life’s brief document recites
Scenes which defy both brush and pen
We groping foll’wers, longing pray
“Guide, Lord, our feet on Earth’s vex’d way.”

Thine act supreme, Thy life to give
Seal of God’s mercy t’wards His race
Show, Lord, how we may boldly live
With like confiding in God’s grace
Thy yearning foll’wers trusting pray
“Christ, lead us on our heav’nward way.”

by Lawrence M. Mead
(This poem was written on September 11, 1954, seventeen days before he passed from this life into his eternal reward.)

~ ~ ~

The culture of China has always been part of my life as our house was filled with Chinese art and artifacts my mother inherited from her parents. Growing up we heard family stories, poured through picture albums and learned many different aspects of the culture, language and ways of the Chinese people.

Christianity was also a part of my life growing up as a child, though I didn’t come into a personal relationship with Christ until I was in my late teens, and that after I had completely cast Christianity, church and the Bible off as “not for me.” When I did come to Christ through a radical conversion experience, I was soon led to the teachings of a certain Chinese teacher most of you are familiar with, Watchman Nee. I devoured his books as the mainstay of my spiritual diet for many of my formative years as a believer. Reading his biography, Against the Tide, also gave me a great interest in, and appreciation for the work of God in China.

In more recent years, I have been greatly inspired and stirred by the testimony of Brother Yun, The Heavenly Man“, and also by the “Back to Jerusalem” vision. Our family has also participated for close to a decade in Voice of the Martyrs’, “Bibles Unbound” program in sending Bibles to China, a program I highly commend to those who wish to help get Bibles into restricted countries. Lastly, reading the testimonies and teachings that are shared in the Principles Book have once again stirred my heart with love for the Chinese Church and the powerful move of God at work in this country.

The following video was brought to my attention by the Gospel Fellowships blog not too long ago. It is only four minutes long, but I think it speaks for itself. It stirred my heart greatly when I saw it, and I hope it will do the same for you.

Please visit also the Principles Book page and delve into the section about “Principles From the Underground Church in China”. We would do well to learn from these persecuted, purified and passionate saints who are living out the reality of Christ and the Kingdom in a way we have yet to know and experience. May you be blessed and challenged as you watch and read!

~ ~ ~

Related posts and pages:

PRINCIPLES Book (Complete – PDF, mp3 and more)

Principles for the Gathering of Believers Under the Headship of Jesus Christ – by Gospel Fellowships (a “hosted”, free resource)

The Headship of Christ in the Gathering of the Church


About David Bolton

Following Him who is the Way; Learning of Him who is the Truth; Living in Him who is the Life. - John 14:6
This entry was posted in Christ-Centered Gatherings, Christ-Centered Resources, Christ-Centered Restoration, Christ-Centered Spirituality, Creative Expressions, Mission, The Ekklesia. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Grandfather’s Poem and Rare Footage of the Underground Church in China

  1. errollmulder says:

    Powerful, powerful stuff!! Thanks for sharing David – your inspiring family story and the video. When I was freshly converted in my teens, the first book that came into my hands was a paper-back copy of ‘The Man Who Believed God’ by J. Hudson Taylor. I devoured it and have it still, with many dog ears. My Master’s research a few years ago took me to a closer examination of the Chinese House Church movement, and then 3 years ago I was privileged to visit Central China and Tibet, and had the joy of meeting some house church leaders in one of the university cities. It was an unforgettable experience. It makes one really, really jealous for the same blessings and hunger in the West, doesn’t it?! Thanks again for your story. Under God, we can expect great things from the Chinese Church as they begin to move on the ‘Back to Jerusalem’ vision.


    • David Bolton says:

      Erroll, thanks for sharing some of your story and first-hand experience with the Chinese House Church movement. Being in China and Tibet must have been an amazing, life-changing experience. (Maybe you could blog about it some day. I know I’d love to hear more! 🙂 )
      May the Lord continue to bless and use you as you labor for the upbuilding of the saints in South Africa and beyond. God is doing a good work in and through you!


  2. Thanks David! What a blessing to read this. And thanks for the link to the Principles booklet. It is an amazing document.


    • David Bolton says:

      Thanks Tobie! I’m glad this post and the Prinicples Book are a blessing to you!
      I’m trusting the Lord with you for the full outworking of his purpose in your present endeavors!
      Keep your hand to the plow, bro!
      Love in Him!


  3. john morris says:

    Such mixed feelings and emotions as I watched the video, it literally brought a tear to my eye, as well as my heart. To have such a love for our Savior, such a desire for Him, His people, His word, and His Spirit, what a blessed people they truly are (and think, we feel “sorry” for them ?) I grow more convinced everyday, for us in the west to ever truly experience real revival we will ultimately have to experience persecution. It is a strange thing to say, and desire, but if that is what it takes, for me, for all my brothers and sisters, to finally get serious about walking out, what we have claimed to believed for these many years, let it come. Thanks again for sharing this, continue please. John Morris.


    • David Bolton says:

      John, thanks for sharing your heart! I can only add a big “Amen!” to what you’ve shared.

      I believe it is very critical that we come to grips with the fact that worldwide persecution is most likely coming, and we need to prepare for it now, both as individuals and as His Body together. Things could change quickly, and many, I fear would be totally unprepared if that were the case. That’s one of the reasons why I feel the Principles Book is a “prophetic gift and end-time manual” for the Church in this day, especially for the Church in the West. It clearly deals with this matter of persecution and the functioning of the Body in the midst of it. There are other strong voices out there as well sounding the alarm. May we have ears to hear!

      Thanks for contributing to this post with your heart-felt comments!


  4. I loved the beautiful reminder at the end that we are “the brochure” — His epistles!


  5. Geno says:

    I have to wonder if even “persecution” would get the western church on a good and right path, if our hearts, minds and wills are not transformed and reshaped before it comes.

    Also, why persecute a church that is not living and walking in the reality of the life, nature and ways of Jesus? Are we going to be “persecuted” for pointing our fingers at homosexuals? Or for wanting prayer or Nativity scenes in schools? In a sense, the answer is yes, but historically the church that is genuinely persecuted is the one that lives out Christ and demonstrates that there is a Lord and king who rules.

    The main thing the Lord has been showing me in recent times is just how self-directed and self-centered I really am. If anyone’s interested, there’s a new post on my site, called, “Walking In The Spirit”.


  6. keijo leppioja says:

    Yes to China in christians underground the church into joy of salvation more and more and be growing in Christ in to be great the army of God in the Holy Spirit’s power to help them and pray you all for them for they need our prayers daily, for the martyrs blood increase around the alot place, thanks and bless, keijo sweden


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