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.)
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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!
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