The following is a transcription of a handwritten document that gives the testimony of a Chinese believer in the Shandong Province of China in the 1930s. This was preserved as part of miscellaneous missionary correspondence of the North China Mission, S. B. C, in the archives of the IMB in Richmond, VA. In all likelihood this was originally written in Chinese and translated into English, though that is not certain.
Mr. Ka Chung Sheng’s Testimony
-written by Mr. Lu Shih Kiang as told to him
My native home is Chui Kwan Chen, Pingtu County, Shantung Province. My naame was Ka Yen Ch’ing. I am now twenty-five years old. Formerly I was a soldier connected with the Pingtu city yamen. Later I went home and worked on the farm. I was not only a non-Christian, but an enemy to Christianity and did all I could as an enemy of Christ. My sister, Wen Kuei Lan, was a member of Ma Chang church. When she came home after joining the church, she plead with me to believe on Jesus also. I shut her outside the gate and told her never to come into my home again.
My brother, Ka Fu T’ien, had placed a sum of money in the hands of two friends, neighbors, to keep for him. My brother died, and the money was still in their hands. My father went and asked them for it. Instead of giving it to him they murdered him by using nine strokes of a knife at his heart. They then fled for their lives.
After five years they thought it safe to return and did so. I went immediately to the head military official of the county and reported them. But the men had already been to him and bought him over. He told me that I was reporting good men. He had me handed over to the head county official who sentenced me for five years imprisonment. This big, proud me found myself bereft of all freedom now. They put very heavy chains on my legs. It all made me angry enough to die, as I realized my position: my money was gone, that was in the hands of my enemies as quickly as a stroke of a pen; my father, though innocent, had been murdered; I had attempted to get justice and here I was imprisoned; I had to leave my mother and wife at home unprotected and with no means of support; and day after day I was in company with bandits, opium smokers and other law breakers. They more I thought of my helpless position and the injustice of it all the angrier I grew and the more I suffered mentally! I can’t express just how I felt.
I thank the Lord when the way before me was dark and I had no hope He sent my sister, Wen Kuei Lan, to me constantly to tell me of Jesus and His love and to plead with me to accept Jesus as my Savior. She also gave me a New Testament. The Lord also sent Mrs. Kia with her one day and she had me read all of the 41st Psalm and Psalm 51:5-10. After I had finished I was so impressed that I became a Christian. I burned all the non-Christian books I had with me. Afterward, the Lord led in opening the doors of Pingtu prison to the preaching of the Gospel. The men in charge wrote a letter to the church inviting the Christian leaders to go and preach to the prisoners. They went two afternoons each week. Then I began to give all my many sins to Jesus. As I realized them, I was truly born of the Holy Spirit, justified before the Father, and given the place of a son. Hallelujah, all glory to Jesus! This chief of sinners was saved!
In a few days the order came for all prisoners who had been sentenced to three years or under and who had shown signs of repentance to be released. All in for more than three years if they showed a change of heart to have their terms shortened. But I knew my God was all powerful because He had saved me. Therefore out of no hope I sought a way of escape. My sister said, “‘The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.’ You have only to really believe and you will receive.”
The night before my freedom I prayed all night. About 4 o’clock a.m. I felt a little sleepy and was almost asleep when I heard a voice say to me,” Tomorrow you will be permitted to leave this prison.” Surely enough that morning the keeper came in and said, “Ka Yen Cheng, Congratulations! I want to drink to your health, because yours has been made a special case and you are to go free.” They heavy chains were taken off my feet then. If there had not been a gracious forgiving God who had heard my prayer, how could I have been released from prison? He not only delivered me out of “so great a death” but truly releases this prisoner from prison. His name is worthy to be praised.
The time of my imprisonment was the time when my entire family was saved. I was in prison nineteen months and ten days. As I look back over those days I feel God planned or allowed me to spend that time in prison. His purpose was to save me and my family. How I thank the Lord my family was saved. “All things work together for good” is surely true.
I was saved, no longer Ka Yen Cheng, but Ka Chung Sheng or Born Again Ka, but I had not learned by great lesson on forgiveness. I was to learn that before being released and the last month there. I learned that lesson God surely searched men’s hearts. There was a feeling, like a fire that would rise up within me that of seeking revenge on my enemies. I thank God He knew I had that in my heart and kept me another month in prison. He wanted me to know clearly that He forgives our sins even as we forgive those who sin against us. If I could not forgive He could not forgive my sins. When I thought of this, I prayed thus, “Lord, you have forgiven me. Who am I not to forgive others. Lord, forgive them for they did not know they were being led by the devil.: There fore, my first step after being released was to become reconciled to my enemies, and to plead with them and their families to accept Christ as their Savior. I will not think of the past again. If the Lord doe not remember my sins and I am at with with Him, and He has entrusted to me the Gospel of reconciliation, who am I not to become reconciled to them?
While I was yet a sinner, Jesus delivered me from the power of darkness, and hath translated me into the Kingdom of His dear Son, and is permitting me to be in the Bible Class in Pingtu City where I can learn more of Him and how to serve Him. Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, please pray for me. Pray that I may be kept from evil and that I may “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”