A HISTORY OF CHANGE
The history of the Lord’s recovery has not been that long among us. We have passed through about three quarters of a century. Our brother who was before us, Brother Watchman Nee, was saved in 1920. Two years later, the Lord used him to raise up meetings in his hometown of Foochow. This could be considered as the beginning of the Lord’s recovery among us. From that time until now, it has been sixty-eight years. Humanly speaking, it is a long period of time, long enough for a man to pass through most of his life. During the first period of the Lord’s recovery, that is, the first eight or ten years, we received help mostly from outsiders. Between 1930 and 1934, Brother Nee himself began to receive revelation from the Lord.
In 1931 Brother Nee consented to the request of some brothers from the Closed Brethren for a visit to us in China. The Closed Brethren were stronger than the Open Brethren in matters of truth and life. Their visit created some problems. Based on this, Brother Nee was willing to go to them and had some fellowship with them. In 1933 he went to Europe, and from there he crossed the ocean and went to Canada. The Brethren movement was strong in those two places. Through this visit, Brother Nee gained more knowledge and was also somewhat affected. After he came back, he reconsidered the way that the Lord wants the church to take on this earth. He received God’s revelation and saw something new concerning the truth of the church.
As a result, in 1934 he published a book based on a Bible study he conducted with the brothers. The name of it was The Meeting Life. In 1937 he called an urgent co-workers’ meeting, which was held first in Shanghai and then in Hangkow, in which he released a series of messages. These messages became the content of the book The Normal Christian Church Life, with which we are all familiar. After this, there was a storm among us. The problem involved was a very deep-rooted one. For six years Brother Nee was not able to fulfill his ministry. It was not until 1948 that his ministry was recovered and that he was able to serve the churches again. He then went on further with what he saw. As a result, he began a training at Kuling near his hometown. One term of this training was conducted during the second half of 1948. It lasted for four months. In 1949 there was a second term, which lasted for about four months also. After this the Communists took over the mainland. Some of us left the mainland and came to Taiwan. I was one of these. Brother Nee stayed behind on the mainland with the other brothers and sisters for the Lord’s testimony. Soon afterwards, the situation changed drastically. Brother Nee was put into prison, and he and his speaking were locked up for twenty years. During this period we were unable to communicate with each other. Hence, we had no way to find out what more he had seen before the Lord.
After we were led out of the mainland, we began to propagate the Lord’s work. First we began in Taiwan, then in Southeast Asia, and lastly in the West. During the past forty years, the Lord has been taking us on all the time. All that the Lord has shown us has been released as messages, and most of it has been printed in books. However, there is one unfortunate thing among us. During the past twenty or more years, time and again turmoils have occurred. About once every few years there has been a storm. Some of you can remember that from 1949 to 1957 our number jumped from three or five hundred to forty or fifty thousand. But the visit of Brother Sparks brought in the dissension of a few brothers, and a storm was formed. The storm began taking shape in 1959. Within a period of six years, the whole situation became quite damaged. Prior to this I had gone to America to work overseas. I did not come back until 1965 to deal with the situation. That was the first storm. After this, the Lord propagated His work in the United States through us. By 1978 there was another storm. That storm was not as complicated. In less than a year, it was over. During the past few years, there has been a third storm. This storm began developing and fermenting from 1985. By 1987 it had become a definite turmoil. Now after over two years, the storm is almost over.
(The Mysteries in God's New Testament Economy, Chapter 0, by Witness Lee)