My grandmother Lin Qingjie was born in Tongan District, Xiamen, Fujian province in 1892.
My grandfather Cai Zhenxun was a pastor. He married his first Christian wife Lin Desheng in Pinghe County, Zhangzhou in 1915 and the couple had four daughters. Unfortunately, Lin and the youngest daughter died of suspected infectious meningitis. In 1922, my grandfather remarried to Lin Qingjie, a rural Christian woman. They moved to Zengcuoan, Xiamen and stayed in a big abandoned house where three coffins with bodies were settled in the hall. Moving away the coffins, they turned the hall into the first meeting venue in Zengcuoan. In 1926, the couple and other believers founded Zengcuoan Chapel.
During World War II, Lin often organized church volunteers to offer water, food, and cleaning services to the soldiers from the Kuomintang's army who were stationed in the fishing village. On May 10, 1938 when the Japanese invaders landed at the Wutong dock in Xiamen, many local believers saught asylum in Gulangyu or other places. Lin and his family fled to Anxi County and lived there for less than a year. Afterward, they moved to Pinghe County and Cai worked as a pastor in local churches there.
Despite having no child of her own, my grandmother treated the three daughters with Christ's love. She adopted two boys from poor families and a girl from Chaozhou who was fleeing the war. To assist my grandfather in focusing on his pastoral ministry, she raised the six children by herself.
In the spring of 1948, my grandparents moved to pastor the Shima Church in Longhai as the church's former pastor was hired as the director of Minnan Theological Seminary. The couple and another pastor served Shima Church until about 1950.
My grandfather passed away during the Cultural Revolution and the service of Shima Church was suspended. In 1970, my grandmother Lin stayed with us in Pinghe for some days and later returned to Shima to live alone. In her former residence, she often organized ten or more Christians to gather together, to pray, study the Bible, have devotionals, and worship together. Every Christmas, she gave a grape she grew to each of the children as a Christmas gift.
Since she took pleasure in helping people, people were fond of talking with her and seeking her help. A twenty-something woman named Guo Lihui suffered from mental disorders which was caused by demonic possession. Her condition did not improve after her family sought medical advice everywhere, burned incense and prayed to Buddha. Knowing this, my grandmother came to visit her carrying the Bible and a hymnal in the Minnan dialect. She read the Bible to Guo who was illiterate and taught her to sing hymns. After she had lived with Guo for about a month, Guo actively received treatment from the doctor and was cured. Her whole family converted to Christianity. To give thanks to the Lord, my grandmother renamed her "Grace Guo". She married at the age of 28 and has three children. The three-generation family are all Christians.
In the summer of 1978, I accompanied my mother to visit my grandmother who still lived on her own. At 85, she insisted on serving Shima Church in spite of her poor sight due to cataracts. Soon after, condition severely affected her ministry and daily life. In the winter of 1982, the surgery to remove the cataract was successful. Within one month, she returned to volunteer in the church.
On January 18, 1986 my grandmother, in her sleep, went to be with the Lord. Two days later, Shima Church held a memorial service. She was buried in Xiamen Tianmashan Cemetery where my grandfather is also buried.
- Translated by Karen Luo