This year many famous Christians and pastoral leaders from at home and abroad passed away, including world-famous evangelist Billy Graham, the spiritual master Eugene Peterson, and former President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush, etc.
Many others have also said goodbye to us, some who were priests, church leaders, theologians, philanthropists, and ordinary believers.
(The article below is a list in chronological order and not in any particular order of importance)
1. Chinese church leader Wang Yongxin passed away at 93.
Pastor Wang Yongxin left the world on January 4 of Pacific Time, at the age of 93.
Wang was born into a Christian family in Beijing in 1925, and he was a third-generation Christian. In the 1970s, under the influence of the Ecumenical Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, he together with dozens of Chinese church representatives initiated the worldwide Chinese Gospel Movement, and founded the CCCOWE, whose vision was, "Chinese churches in one accord, preaching the gospel until Christ's return". At the same time, he served as the vice chairman of the World Lausanne Gospel Ministry Committee as well as the director of the Lausanne Movement International.
2. Renowned senior preacher Bian Yunbo died at 93.
On February 14, Bian Yunbo, the author of the epic "To the Unknown Evangelist", passed away in Ningbo, Zhejiang.
Bian Yunbo was born on March 12, 1925 in Hebei Province. He became a Christian when he graduated from high school in 1944, and afterward joined the Christian fellowship when he was studying in the Department of Education of Nanjing Central University in 1945. He became a missionary during that time and twice declined the opportunity to study in Edinburgh, England. Instead, after graduation, he went to the southwest frontier area of China to preach and establish churches amongst the minority groups. From the time he became a preacher until his death, Bian served for more than seventy years. He is best known for his epic poem "To the Unknown Evangelist", written shortly after graduating from college in 1948. The poem's theme was to encourage Christians to serve faithfully and not forget the way of the cross. Bian Yunbo also had experience serving with Preacher Wang Mingdao. After ministering in the southwest frontier area, he went to Shanghai to help Wang Mingdao with his writing work. After he was released from prison, he witnessed in various places. Later, he went to the United States to serve Chinese churches. In his later years, he was taken back to China according to his wishes.
3. Preacher Zhou Enying, member of the Chinese Back to Jerusalem Evangelistic Band, died at 105.
Zhou Enying was born in Zhengzhou, Henan Province in March of 1914. She was abandoned by her birth parents and adopted by an American university professor. This female American professor came to China as a missionary in 1909 at the age of 36. She became the foster mother of Missionary Zhou. Missionary Zhou was converted to the Lord when she was 16 years old, following her foster mother. In 1939, Missionary Zhou studied at the Methodist established Bible School in Kaifeng, Henan Province. In 1943, she finished her studies with outstanding scores at an American university.
In December 1943, when the Pacific War was in full swing, Missionary Zhou returned to Baoji, Shaanxi Province, spending half a year helping her foster mother raise orphans.
From 1944 to 1948, Missionary Zhou worked in the Refugee Children School in Shaanxi Province, the Gu Ying Zhen Church in Henan Province and the church in Chong Qing, respectively.
In 1950, she then went to Lanzhou, Gansu Province to teach at the Northwest Spiritual Convent. Later, in 1953 she went as a volunteer evangelist to Jiuquan Christian Church in Gansu Province to work with Missionary Wang Jixian.
In 1959, Missionary Zhou was arrested on trumped-up charges of "Historical Anti-Revolutionary Activities and American Spying ". After her acquittal in 1969, she taught English at a school for workers on a local labor farm. It was not until 1979, when the church reopened under the opening-up policy, that the church in Lanzhou began to hold public meetings, and Missionary Zhou, at the age of 65, returned to serve in the church.
Since 1980, Missionary Zhou, who was trained in pure American English, had been employed as an English teacher in two universities in Lanzhou for 13 years. At the same time, she preached the gospel to some English students. She cultivated a large number of English talents for the university, and when she was teaching she participated in church service work as well.
In 1993, Zhou resigned from her university teaching position and became a full-time minister of the church. She served successively as a member of the standing committee of Gansu Province's CCC and TSPM, and the chief person in charge of Lanzhou's CCC and TSPM Church.
4. Pastor Xu Enci, formor senior pastor of the church in Nanjing, passed away at 88.
Xu Enci, the former chief pastor of Nanjing Mochou Road Church, passed away at her home in Nanjing on March 21, 2018 at the age of 88.
Born in July 1930, Xu graduated from Nanjing Mingde Girls' Middle School in 1949 and graduated from Shanghai Christian Theological Seminary hosted by Pastor Jia Yuming in 1953. After graduation, she ministered in Jiangsu Province until she was designated as a rightist in 1958. After that, until 1978 she worked in Nanjing city and the suburbs of Nanjing for labor reform. She was the Vice President of the Nanjing Christian Association, the President of the ninth session, the former lead pastor of the Mochou Road Church, and the sixth CPPCC member of Gulou District.
5. Sun Yueh, winner of the Golden Horse award for Best Actor and a Christian hpilanthropist, left the world at 87.
Many Taiwanese entertainers mourned the man they highly respected, and many Christians in mainland China mourned him as a good servant of the Lord.
Sun won the Best Actor Award at the Golden Horse Awards. There were continuous offers from movie makers, and he held the record for making 9 films at the same time. However, behind the dazzling mask was his unbeknown struggle with vanity and emptiness. He had long dealt with the negative mood of self-doubt and even had three bouts of suicide.
Encouraged by his good friend, Tao Dawei, Sun Yue began attending church and became a Christian. He decided that every year he would only spend four months filming and the remaining eight months devoting himself to public welfare issues, living each day as if it were his last. His interests ranged from tobacco control and blood and organ donation to helping vulnerable families, protecting the mentally disabled elderly, and caring for victims of various sorts.
6. Theologian and educator Professor Chen Zemin died at 101.
Chen Zemin, a theologian, former vice president of Jinling Union Theological Seminary, Christian musician and renowned religious scholar, died in Nanjing on June 4, 2018 at the age of 101. Professor Chen was the only pastor in the Christian church in China who received a special State Council Allowance.
Chen Zemin was born in Shantou city, Guangdong Province in 1917. He graduated from Hujiang University in 1941 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1944, he graduated from the Research Department of Jinling Theological Seminary with a Bachelor's degree in theology. He was awarded a Doctor of theology from the University of the Philippines in 1995. Since1952, he had taught systematic theology, Historical Theology and Church Music at Jinling Union Theological Seminary. He was the Dean and Vice Dean of Jinling Theological Seminary and the lead pastor of St. Paul's Church in Nanjing.
Professor Chen's family has been devout Christians for three generations. As a young man, he heard Dr. Song's spirit-filled sermon and wanted to become a pastor after he graduated from junior high school. According to his son, teacher Chen Ruoping, Professor Chen had been in contact with foreign missionaries ever since he was very young.
Professor Chen Zemin was also a big music fan and had written many very popular Chinese hymns. He could play both Chinese songs on the Chinese Guzheng and western hymns on the piano and organ.
In 2007, Seeking and Witnessing -- Selected Works of Chen Zemin was published. It is a collection of collected works based on professor Chen life-long learnings and a complete display of his theological thoughts.
7. Hong Hon-yee who turned from "The Mafia Leader" to preacher passed away at 70.
Hong died of cancer at the age of 70 in a Hong Kong hospital on June 16, 2018. After his death, people who were familiar with him posted pictures of themselves with him on social networking sites, saying they looked forward to seeing him in heaven one day.
Before 2002, he was the most influential underworld boss in Hong Kong. He established the largest mafia network in Asia, made up of more than 1 million "younger brothers" around the world. And he claimed to be the one who was specifically against Jesus. Twelve years later however, he gave up all of his "side business" and the huge income it generated, became an entrepreneur that did honest business through his own efforts, established the largest church in Hong Kong ministering to gang members, particularly helping them get off of drugs. His biggest dream was to share the gospel around the world.
Hong also shared about visions he had had about heaven and hell,. However some Christians questioned whether these descriptions of heaven and hell in his testimony were biblical.
8. Hong Kong philanthropist Tin Ka-ping passed away at 95.
The Tin Ka-ping Foundation published an obituary of the life of Tin Ka-ping, who started his business in Southeast Asia in the early years of his life. In 1958, his family moved to Hong Kong and established a chemical enterprise, becoming a leader in the industry. In 1982, he founded the Tin Ka-ping Foundation, which is dedicated to social welfare, especially education. In mainland China, the most familiar story about Tin was that he donated money to establish hundreds of schools.
In his later years, when he was 90 years old, Tin Ka-ping was baptized on May 27, 2013 at the Grace and Blessing Church of the Hong Kong Missionary Association. Pastor Su Yingzhi baptized him.
Many people didn't understand why a "good man" like Tin Ka-ping believed in Jesus. He explained in his testimony. "Frankly," he said, "I've been conscientious all my life, and I'm not embarrased to say that I'm a good man and I don't need Jesus at all. But, even good men in their own eyes have emotions and desires and will make mistakes as others do. In the eyes of the people, they might be good, but in the eyes of God they are also a sinner... However, everyone can be righteous in the eyes of God, if he or she is willing to accept Jesus as their Savior".
9. Fu Xianwei, former chairman of TSPM, passed away at 74.
Elder Fu Xianwei, former chairman of the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), died at the age of 74 at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai on August 20.
Elder Fu Xianwei was born in Shanghai in 1944. He grew up in a Christian family and was baptized into the church at an early age. After the Shanghai church resumed its activities in the early 1980s, Fu took an active part in the church's work as a volunteer. In 1987, he dedicated himself to serving full time in the church. In May 1996, he was elected as the Elder of Mu-En Church in Shanghai.
From 1987 to 2008, Fu Xianwei successively served as the director of the office of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of Christian Affairs and the Shanghai Municipal Committee of Christian Affairs. In 2008, Elder Fu Xianwei was appointed as the eighth chairman of the TSPM. Since 2010, he had been the Chairman of Jinling Union Theological Seminary. In 2013, he was re-elected as the ninth Chairman of the TSPM.
10. Yammie Lam, a TV star who suffered a rough Life, passed away at 55.
On November 3, 2018, many media outlets in Hong Kong broke the news that Lam had died alone.
Yammie Lam's life was legendary and at the same time to be pitied. In her youth, she was famous for her stunning appearance and outstanding acting talent, leaving the audience with many classic film and television images. However, Yammie Lam's fate had a terrible misfortune. Several times she experienced being ignored by TV stations, dealt with affection trauma, had a male friend committ suicide, experienced her parents' death, and generally experienced great emotional and spiritual trauma. While still not yet 50 years of age, she started to grey and had lost her relationships and career.
Apart from her personal experiences, Hong Kong's urban media's snobbish attitude towards her was also hurtful. Many times she had been photographed and the media reported that she had had mental issues.
For many years, Yammie Lam had been a devout Buddhist. Later in life, she converted to Christianity and took a minibus to church every week. When she was down and out, there was a group of Christians around her to take care of her.
- Translated by Ze Wang