A Remarkable Conversion.
I WAS at our little cottage meeting on one occasion in a great city, in the province of Ho-nan, where we had been working for a little while. There were fifteen or twenty Chinese women in the meeting, and there, in front of me, on a low stool, sat a woman whom I had never seen before—a middle-aged, dark-complexioned, rough-looking, ignorant woman, but with evidence of a peculiar strength of character. I was rather taken back, when two or three times, she stopped me and said," Is that true? Or is it some fable like what our priests and people tell us? l never heard this before! Is it really true?" I assured her repeatedly, in the course of the meeting, that it was perfectly true. I showed her the book to convince her that it was not any invention of mine. "It is from God," I said. I was telling the people about that poor demoniac at Gadara—how the Lord Jesus healed him. When we got near the end of the meeting, this woman stopped me again and said, "What I want to know is whether that story is true? Did Jesus really cast out those demons from that man and save him?" And I had to assure her again that it was perfectly true. "All right, that is all I want to know," she said and went out of the room. I said, "That is rather a peculiar woman; why did she talk like that?" I was told that she was a Mrs. Wang, who lived round the comer, and I gathered that there was something strange about her. They did not exactly like to say it, but I saw what was meant. It was that she had, for over twenty years, been more or less constantly tormented by the possession of evil spirits, like the demoniacs we read of in the time of Christ.
I did not see anything of the woman for a little while, but she came one day to me, looking so bright, so restful. She told me she had become a Christian. That afternoon, when she left the little meeting, she went home to her cottage, shut the door, knelt down on the mud floor, and prayed. She also took down her idols. She did not know much about prayer; but probably her prayer was something like this: "Jesus, I have never heard of You before; but I believe You are the Son of the living God, and my Saviour; I want You to cast these evil spirits out of me and forgive my sins, and I will gladly follow You all my life, if You will only make me well, and forgive my sins." She told me herself, that from that time, she never had any more trouble in the way she had before for twenty years, and that she was quite sure her sins were forgiven, because she was full of joy, and felt so different.
Shortly afterwards, we were thinking of going to the city of Ch'en Chan. She said to me, "Are you going to open a new station? Have you a servant? If not, l will come and be your servant. You need not pay me anything if you do not care to do so but I will do your washing, and make your shoes, in order that you may be free to do the preaching." In the end it seemed to be the Lord's guidance, and she came with us. I spent as much time as I could in teaching her from the Bible. l tried to fill her mind with the plan of salvation and prayed that in time, God would make her a soul-winner.
I cannot tell you now all the story, but there came a day when our house was crowded with hundreds of women who had come to hear the Gospel. I had been talking to them all day, until in the afternoon, I began to lose my voice. Mrs. Wang was sitting beside me on the floor. There were about sixty women in the room. I turned to her, praying all the time, and said, "Mrs. Wang, you see I have lost my voice; don't you think you could tell them the rest?" She said, "Oh. I could not do such a thing. Don't ask me to preach.'' I said, ''Mrs. Wang, these women have never heard about Jesus. and you know all about Him; are they to go away without having heard the one thing needful?'' I had been talking about the love of Christ and had just come to the point of telling them about Calvary and the Cross. But she said, "Oh, I cannot preach." "Well," I said," then they will have to go away." Suddenly she buried her face in her hands. I could see she was praying. I sat there without saying a word. After a minute or two she looked up. I could see she was changed. All consciousness of self seemed to have passed away. After looking at me, she said, "Now listen! The foreign teacher has been telling you about Jesus and what He did in the world; but I want to tell you something more wonderful than that. Now listen!" I sat there looking at her and prayed that the Holy Spirit would fill that woman. ln all my life, as I look upon it now, I can hardly recall a more memorable hour than that, when the Holy Spirit came upon that woman, who had been for many years literally possessed with demons, and who had never heard of Christ till a couple of months before that time.
She talked for an hour or two without stopping, with great power and tenderness, the tears running down her face at times. Every woman in that room was simply riveted and listened without moving; they scarcely seemed to breathe as she told them that wonderful story. There was a Mrs. Fang sitting there—an intelligent and respectable woman, but proud and hard—she gave her heart to Christ that day, and she has been a Christian ever since.
From that day to this, Mrs. Wang has gone on preaching the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. At times, she seemed to me, as almost transfigured. Her face was just radiant. It got to be known over the whole country side, and the women would walk miles and miles to hear her preach Christ. When I met them at the time of service, they would say, "We don't want any medicine to-day; we want to hear about Jesus; we want Mrs. Wang to preach to us and tell us about that wonderful Saviour." Of course, she was there, and I have sat by her side many a day, literally all day long, and heard her. I have listened to her, prayed for her, and helped her now and then. I have thought to myself over and over again, "Now what could you desire more than this?" You could not wish for anything dearer, more rousing, more tender, more full of the power of the Spirit, than that woman's preaching.
All through the Boxer troubles, that woman went right on. She was driven out of the district, but she went on preaching. The women in that part of the country—many of them women who have been brought to Christ through her preaching, prayed about it, put a little money together, and sent for Mrs. Wang. They wrote a letter and sent it by a man with a wheelbarrow to her home, and they said, "Mrs. Wang, the missionaries are all gone, and we have no one now to teach us. We have made a little collection amongst ourselves and have enough money to support you. We want you to come on this wheelbarrow, and you shall come round to our houses and teach us while the missionaries are away." She is still, as far as we know, preaching Christ in that district while the missionaries all had to leave.
"The Railway Signal" 1909