THE BEGINNING AND HISTORY OF THE MEETING
IN CHANGCHOW, FUKIEN PROVINCE
The Very Beginning
In 1925 Brother Watchman Nee came to the denomination here to lead a revival meeting. Brother Wang T’an Ch’i was revived and Brother Teng Chu Ch’in received salvation and was later baptized and left the denominations. However, at the time Brother Wang was living in Amoy and Brother Teng was in Changchow. Sometimes when Brother Wang returned to Changchow on the Lord’s Day, they met in Brother Teng’s house and preached the gospel. At that time Brothers Ch’in Szu Hsien and Wu Feng Yuan attended the meetings. Later, the Lord also raised up Brother Teng Chih Ch’eng (Brother Teng’s younger brother). Therefore, the two of them had the table meeting in their home to remember the Lord a few times. This was the condition at the very beginning.
The Next Stage
In 1930 there was a Brother Han Chin Hsiu who was very zealous in the church of the Seventh-day Adventists and was a believer who knew the Bible well. He was a good friend of Brother Kuo Shu P’an. Brother Han’s original idea was to lead Brother Kuo and his whole family into the church of the Seventh-day Adventists (at that time, Brother Kuo was a member of the London Mission). Therefore, he moved his dental practice into Brother Kuo’s office (Brother Kuo is a Western medical doctor), hoping to have a good opportunity to introduce the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to the Kuo family through his move. (Brother Han used to be a dentist and a preacher in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Then Brother Han went to Tung An. In the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he picked up many old copies of The Present Testimony. He read them carefully one by one and the Lord Himself led Brother Han to understand His word. It was not long before he left the Seventh-day Adventists. Now he preaches the Word full-time in the Amoy region. He originally wanted to bring Brother Kuo into the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but now he walks in the Lord’s way with us. The Lord’s grace is very marvelous! Praise Him!) Finally, Brother Kuo was stirred up to gather a few zealous members of his denomination to study the Bible carefully. The Holy Spirit caused Brother Kuo, his father Kuo Wan Ch’ing, Brother Wu Feng, and the rest of the brothers to understand from the Bible the error of the Seventh-day Adventists and to see that if they wanted to walk in the Lord’s way they had to leave all the traditions of man. At this time, the three of them, Brothers Teng, Wu, and Kuo, began to keep the Lord’s command by faith and broke bread to remember the Lord for several months in the Teng home. There was a brother named Chen Ch’eng Ch’ing who had been a member of the denominations for thirty years or more. He had studied the Bible daily for the previous five or six years and had realized that the denominations were too far off the path. He was looking for people with the same heart that he had when he met Brother Kuo by chance at a friend’s place. Once they began talking about the condition of the church, they discovered to their surprise that they were of the same will and same thought. We confess that this was the Lord’s leading. Glory to the Lord’s name. Amen.
At this great turning point, the Lord led his faithful servant, Brother Simon Meek, to lead the meeting in Changchow. We met in the Kuo home. Later, the Lord also raised up two brothers, Chang Li Chin and T’u Yu Lin. (Brother T’u died in 1932.) They met to break bread every Lord’s Day evening in the Kuo home. (In the day they still met in the denominations or went to work.) During this time period Brother Wang T’an Ch’i came to their meetings often and rendered them much help.
The Proper Beginning and History
Not long afterward, the brothers were reminded that they should do their part in preaching the gospel and should not just take care of themselves. As a result, they discussed renting another house so that those who desired the Word could come to the meetings. Thus, the meetings began in February of 1931 in the newly rented building. Brothers Chen, Wu, Kuo, Chang, T’u Yu Ling, and Kuo Wan Ch’ing were baptized soon after this. At this time Brother Lin Wei Min (who was baptized and left the denominations) also attended the table meetings. The table meeting was in the morning, and the gospel meeting was in the afternoon.
When we began to obey like this, the persecution came. Many people in the denominations said that we were like children building a house of clay tiles; it could not last very long. They said this to our face, in anonymous letters of criticism, or in mocking. Thank and praise the Lord because He is faithful. Those who trust in Him will not be put to shame.
During this time, two faithful servants of the Lord, James Chen and Cheng Chih Ch’eng came often to help.
Although we had only a heart to obey the Lord (the brothers and sisters left but not because they hated those in the denominations; moreover, Brother Kuo was the son-in-law of a famous pastor in a large denomination in Fukien), when we started the meetings, we were still very immature with regard to the truth of the church. Then the Lord sent one of his faithful servants with a few brothers to us at the end of 1931. All the brothers among us became clearer about the truth of the church. Not long after this, we also received Brother Faithful Luk to come lead the meetings. Brother Simon Meek also came with him for a day because he had to pass through Amoy on his way to the Philippines. At the time nine men and women were baptized. With the exception of one brother and two sisters who are still in Changchow, the rest were from other places and have all scattered to other places. In 1932 the Lord also saved the household of Brother Chen Wen Chang. This household used to zealously worship Buddha. Now they have been enlightened by the Lord and are very zealous in testifying for the Lord.
The year before last, Brother James Chen also shared several portions from his notes on the 1931 conference in Shanghai concerning the matter of the church. We who received it profited deeply.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 25: Collection of Newsletters (1), Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)