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A testimony of faith by Elder Fu, Chairman of China’s Three-Self Patriotic Movement

Elder Fu Xianwei. Photo: UBSCP/Yeo Tan Tan.

Elder Fu Xianwei. Photo: UBSCP/Yeo Tan Tan.

I was born in Shanghai and grew up in a Christian family. Beginning from my grandmother, I am the 3rd generation Christian.

My grandmother was a devout Christian; she would cherish the household’s only Bible, a hardcover one in Chinese Union Version, and regarded it as a prized possession. Any family members who wanted to read the Bible would have to borrow it from her. She kept it carefully in the chest of drawers next to her bed, for easy access. Without missing a day, I remembered she would sit on the verandah every afternoon and read the Bible. From my grandmother’s life, I learn to treasure the Bible. She modeled for me Christian living and taught me Christian values. Most importantly, she taught me the spiritual discipline of prayer and Bible reading, which sowed the seeds of the gospel in me since I was young.

From the time I was 5 years old, my parents would bring me to church every week. I grew up in Sunday school. One creative method our teachers used to encourage our attendance and to impart Bible knowledge was to give out little scriptural cards to those present each week. I could still remember vividly what a scriptural card looked like: on its front was a Bible story with illustrations while turning to its back one could find the relevant Bible verses. If a child were to collect 52 of them consecutively without a week’s break, the teacher would give him a prize. The children were motivated to go week after week for Sunday school to collect a complete set of these cards.

I continued to grow in Church as a youth, serving in the choir and in the youth fellowship. The fellowship I had in church strengthened my Christian faith and promoted my spiritual growth. I was baptized in 1957.

During my teenage years, I had a strange dream: I saw light from heaven and heard Jesus calling my name. I was so scared that I hid under the table. When I woke up, I was amazed. I thought to myself, “If Jesus is calling me; perhaps He wants to use me.” I decided to surrender everything to God and trust that He will direct my path.

When the Cultural Revolution came, churches were closed and our family Bible was destroyed. Nevertheless, I still trusted and depended on Him, all the time praying privately in my heart. During this time, I was sent to work in a shipyard. One day at work, a metal gear weighing more than a ton fell on me. Had it not been a metal piece that miraculously supported the weight of the gear, both my legs would have been crushed and amputated. This incident further strengthened my conviction that God is indeed my Savior, and when I found myself in danger the Lord God will protect me and keep me safe from tragedy and pain.

When the Cultural Revolution ended in 1979 and churches were re-opened, I served as a volunteer in Shanghai’s Mu-en church whilst working as a full-time school teacher. With the growing spread of the gospel and the rapid development of the Church, the Church needed more full time preachers. In 1987, I was asked to consider full time Christian ministry. I believed the moment for which the Lord had called me has arrived — the day for which I had been waiting so earnestly. I resigned from my job as a school teacher in 1987 and served the Lord and the Church full-time.

Today I am already past 60 years old and, by the Grace of God I am given the opportunity to serve the Church in China with greater responsibility and scope. I firmly believed that as I am living under the Grace of God, I must live according to God’s teaching in the Bible. I will offer to God what He has blessed me with.

Written by Pamela Choo and Ms. Yeo Tan Tan
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership

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