Not a Shred of Peace: Testimony of God’s Grace and Call

Editor’s note: Shortly after Covid-19 began to spread across the world, Wu Jinyang, a Chinese missionary serving in eastern Europe, contracted the virus. He eventually died of the virus, leaving behind his wife and young children. His widow and children have now returned to China, where the local Chinese house church supports and cares for them.

Wu grew up in a Buddhist home, and like many other Chinese converts, he did not turn to Jesus the first time he heard of him. Instead, God used several events, over many years, to soften his heart and help him see his need of Christ. After becoming a believer, Wu faithfully served the Chinese church for several years before God called him abroad. His tragic death at an early age is a reminder of how fleeting life is, but also of how God is gracious to allow his children to follow and serve him while we remain on this earth. This testimony, which Wu wrote himself a few years before his death, is a good firsthand account of how God is moving in Chinese lives and of how he is calling people to himself. To protect Wu’s identity and that of his widow and children, some details have been changed or obscured.

This is the first part of his testimony, which will run in three parts over the coming week.


An Unstable Childhood

I was born to a large, traditional family, with many extended family members in the area. My own parents had three children, among whom I was the eldest. Within our family, all of us were constantly engaged in activities relating to idol worship. My grandfather and grandmother were devout Buddhists, and had many idols of worship within the home. Not only that, we also had many ancestral tablets in our home.[1] At every holiday and day of commemoration, our entire family had to lay offerings before the tablets and kowtow to them. My deepest memories involve eating only vegetarian dishes on the 1st and 15th of every month.[2] I grew up in this environment full of idol worship. Though I often had a hard time understanding why we did what we did, I silently acknowledged that this was our culture and tradition, a form of respecting our ancestors. I thought that it should be continued.

Although there were so many idols and Buddhas, none of this brought our large family even a shred of peace.

Although there were so many idols and Buddhas, none of this brought our large family even a shred of peace. In my memories, our family did not have a good relationship with any of our relatives, excepting only my eldest aunt. This was especially true with my uncle’s family. My family and my uncle’s family were constantly at odds. Neither my mother nor my uncle’s wife had good tempers, and the two women often argued and fought.

I remember when I was 10, my father had gone to work, and for some reason my uncle’s wife and children rushed into our home, using sticks to beat my mother. My siblings and I were very young, and did not know what to do. We all hid behind the door crying, watching as our mother was beaten and bleeding from the head. My mother had to spend a month in the hospital as she recovered. The experience further deepened my hatred for my uncle’s family.

Though I could not beat them up, I was determined to think of ways to avenge my mother. I used my own methods to get revenge on my uncle’s wife and her family. One night, I sneakily went down to my uncle’s wife’s vegetable garden with a kitchen knife and chopped down a gourd vine that was just beginning to fruit. Sometimes, I would throw rocks at her windows. From my earliest memories, I never once addressed them as uncle and aunt.

Because I grew up in such a quarrelsome family, I became hot-tempered and irritable. I did not like talking. In my view, everyone else was bad to us and was bullying us. Because of this, I had only hate and vengeance toward others.

Power That Can Change

A few years later, when I was attending high school in the city, my class studied a short story: “The Cop and the Anthem” by American author O. Henry. The story talks of a homeless man who, out of his desire to spend a warm winter in jail, thought of every possible way he could get arrested and taken to jail by the police. He stole; he ate at a restaurant without paying; he broke glass windows; etc. But every attempt to get thrown in jail brought only a beating at best, with no cop arresting him.

I became hot-tempered and irritable… In my view, everyone else was bad to us and was bullying us. Because of this, I had only hate and vengeance toward others.

One night, he came to stand beside a church. While listening to the beautiful anthem streaming out of the church, the man repented. He wanted to give up his former way of thinking, reform himself, and take on a new life. At just that point, a copy showed up and clasped a cold set of handcuffs on his wrists. At the time, our teacher told us that this reflected how Western society confounds black and white, and turns right and wrong around.


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But I was prone to taking a unique perspective. Or, as my teachers would say, I was prone to obsess over meaningless details. At the time I thought, “What does an upside-down Western society have to do with me?” I didn’t live in the West. The important thing about the story was the power that could cause the homeless man to change. What sort of power was that? I needed that power to change me.

From that time on, I began to go to Catholic churches near my school to listen to hymns, seeking the power that would allow me to change myself. Many members of the Catholic church shared the gospel with me, trying to get me to believe in Jesus. But my reason told me God did not exist, and so I never accepted Jesus.

The important thing about the story was the power that could cause the homeless man to change. What sort of power was that? I needed that power to change me.

[1] Ancestral tablets, also known as spirit tablets, are tablets inscribed with the name and accomplishments of a particular ancestor. These tablets are treated as the actual deceased person, and family members “feed” these tablets and light incense sticks before them.

[2] Many Buddhists go meatless on the 1st and 15th of each month in order to “pay respects to Buddha and accumulate good karma.”


Wu Jinyang is a pseudonym for a deceased Chinese pastor and missionary who served in eastern Europe.

Pray that those who live under the captivity of idols will recognize God’s power.

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Further Reading

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Nanjing: Loving People Through Prayer
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Nanjing: Love Under Pressure
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Why Should I Love My Enemies?: Give Up Revenge, Love Enemies
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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