The History of the Church and the Local Churches, by Witness Lee


Now I would like to begin relating the history of the local churches, beginning in the early 1920s in China. China was a country with an ancient culture, full of the teachings of Confucius and full of Buddhism. Eventually, however, the Lord sent His gospel there. The Lord’s name, which is the Lord Himself, the Bible, and the gospel were brought to China. I believe that the Chinese version of the Bible is one of the better translations. We thank the Lord for this.

In 1920 there was a prevailing evangelist in China by the name of Dora Yu. She was saved when she was young and was sent by her family to England to study medicine. When her ship reached Marseilles, France, she went to the captain and told him that she had to go back to China to preach Christ. Thus, the captain sent her back. Her parents were extremely disappointed with her. Obviously, she came from a wealthy family who could send her to England to study medicine. But she was strong in her desire to preach Christ, and her family could not persuade her to do otherwise. They told her that they would have nothing to do with her and that she should go her way to preach her Jesus. From that time onward, she became prevailing in the preaching of the gospel.

In 1920 she was invited to Brother Nee’s hometown, Foochow, which is close to the province of Kwantung, near Hong Kong. She was preaching the gospel in the Methodist church where Brother Nee’s parents attended. Neither he nor his parents were saved at that time. Brother Nee’s mother spoke English well, and his father had a good position in the Chinese customs. His mother was saved in one of these meetings with Dora Yu. Before being saved, his mother was very fond of playing mah-jong, a game of chance played by many of the Chinese. She was a very strong, talkative woman and was very dominant in their family, even over her husband. Brother Nee’s father was a very nice gentleman who was very quiet. Brother Nee’s family was composed of four brothers and four sisters, Brother Nee being the third child. The two children above him were sisters. The children also had the impression that their mother was too domineering at home. However, after their mother was saved in that gospel meeting, she came home and made a thorough confession to the whole family. She confessed all her failures and mistakes in a serious way. This was really the Lord’s doing. Brother Nee was amazed that she could be converted like this through one meeting. He was so impressed by his mother’s confession that he wanted to go and see what was there.

The next evening he went to listen to Dora Yu, and he was caught by the Lord. In those meetings many people wept with repentance. These meetings were very prevailing, and Brother Nee was fully caught. He was saved in the evening. That night, according to his testimony, he saw the Lord Jesus on the cross, and through that he was called by the Lord (see pp. 8-9 of Watchman Nee’s Testimony published by Living Stream Ministry). He was called on the night he was saved. He told me this personally. He told me many things that he kept as a secret from others, and I realized that he was speaking to me for my training. After being called by the Lord, the Lord began to prepare him and use him in a marvelous way for His intention.

(The History of the Church and the Local Churches, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)