CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF THE GOSPEL
When we first came to Taiwan in 1949, many of us were poor. We did not know how we would live after another two or three months. We did not have much, but I told the saints that we still should use some of our money to prepare tracts and posters. We prepared many posters, and just within one month we distributed two-thirds of a million tracts, which was as many tracts as there were people. We distributed them in all the lanes, roads, and streets and at every door. We used a map to systematically go to every door. We also put posters on the electric poles in the streets, which said, “God so loved the world,” “Jesus saves,” and other phrases in bold characters. Within a short time, we created the atmosphere of the gospel, and we stirred up nearly the whole city. At every door, without exception, there was at least one tract in the letter box telling people that the Lord Jesus is their Savior, and nearly in every street there were posters on the walls. We also asked the saints to place many posters in front of their own doors. When we walked on the street, we knew which homes the brothers lived in because of the number of posters.
All this happened in the first year, in 1949. We did many things. We formed gospel teams, and the brothers wore long white “gospel robes” with bold characters in Chinese. We also had parades with drums; at one time we had a parade nearly every week. We paraded through the streets with a large number of saints, and sometimes we prayed on the street. While we paraded on the street, sometimes we would shout, “Friends, we must tell you that you are sinners, and you need to believe in Jesus.” We preached the gospel in the park in the center of the city, where there is a stadium that seats several thousand people, and we used the gospel parades to bring people to the park. All the saints came together to preach the gospel in this way every Lord’s Day afternoon.
In one year the church increased thirtyfold, and the whole city was stirred up by us. Doctors, nurses, and professors paraded together in long robes; everyone knew that we were the “crazy” people. Nearly everyone talked about us in their homes. After this, it was very easy to preach the gospel because we stirred up the gospel atmosphere. What we did tilled the ground. In principle, we should do these things. Recently I asked the brothers in one church, “Why can we not see any activity for the gospel here? Even if you have only thirty or forty persons, you all must go out to the street to distribute tracts.”
In 1948 in Shanghai we had the largest gospel team, and we paraded on the street on the Lord’s Day. The police on the streets maintained the order for us. They stopped the buses, cars, and trains. We had banners in our hands, and we shouted much. Then we brought people to the park, and many of them knelt down to pray, some with crying to the Lord. Some of us gave a message, some sang a hymn, some maintained the order, and others distributed tracts and booklets. To be sure, this way brings people to the Lord, and the Lord will honor us in this. We also did this in northern China in 1935. Many nights we went out in groups, and we shouted and sang to bring the people in. Then we would kneel in a circle to surround the people, and some would give a message.
In Taiwan, many saints opened their homes once a week on an evening in which there was no church meeting. They would invite three to eight people and would also invite some brothers and sisters to their homes to help them to give informal testimonies and personal talks. In this way, many people were brought to the Lord. The saints were active in preaching the gospel all the time. Many times we did not have a gospel preaching by the whole church for several months, yet when the announcement was made that the church was going to have baptisms, three hundred people would be baptized. Through what means did these new converts come into the church? It was simply through the personal testimonies.
(Basic Principles for the Service in the Church Life, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)