"I remember Elder Yang, after his first amputation, he still accepted invitations from seminaries on the Mainland to provide training classes. In one of the training sessions he spoke about Jesus' many miracles -- he made the blind see, the lame walk, and continues to save and heal in the 21st century. As he was speaking, he stretched out his left leg and knocked twice on his prosthesis with a cane, which made a ‘pong pong’ sound. Immediately all the students in the room clapped and congratulated him." ("Remembrance" by Yang-Cheng Jimei, from the Spiritual Sword Collection)
To me, that was the most moving and inspirational scene I read in the Spiritual Sword Collection. It was through reading the Collection that for the first time I learned to know this devoted preacher and respected man: Pastor Yang Yuying.
Here is a memory from Pastor Kou Shaoen on Elder Yang: "Elder Yang Yuying was one of the closest and life-long colleagues of my father, Overseer Kou Shiyuan. Elder Yang watched me growing up. In my church, everyone used to affectionately call him 'Daddy'. Yes, he was 'Daddy' to all the young persons in my church!" (A Fatherly Mentor by Kou Shaoen)
Pastor Yang Yuying was born in Ninghe County, Hebei Province, on November 19, 1919. He was baptized in 1951 and in 1971 he enrolled at Dongfang Seminary (later renamed North China Seminary). He received respectively a Master's degree and a Ph.D. degree in theology. In 1973 he founded the Chinese Christian Mission (CCM) to facilitate evangelism and the ministry of seminaries for remote and poor inland churches of China. In 1974, he started full-time ministry. The following year he was ordained as pastor in the Zhonghe Church. In 1989 he was ordained an elder in the Home of Christ Church. In 1997 his right foot was amputated. He had to rely on a prosthetic limb and continued his ministry between Taiwan and the Mainland for a decade. On 1 April 2007, the aged pastor passed away. His main works were "The Spiritual Sword Collection I", "The Spiritual Sword Collection II", "The Basic Truth Based on the Bible" and sermons.
On September 11, 1984, Changsha Bible College invited Elder Yang to Hunan where there were many needs. After many visits he discovered an important fact: "The fields are ripe for harvest, but the workers are few." There were usually hundreds or thousands of congregations in the areas he visited, but to his surprise he found pastors and ministers were too few. There was a serious need to equip more theological graduates to carry out God’s ministry. The elder made this a priority—to support theological students and poor ministers. CCM of Taiwan gave Hunan grants for 15 students in proportion to the number of applicants.
In 1994, Wang Zhenren, principal of the Mid-Southern Theological Seminary in Hubei Province, invited Elder Yang Yuying to teach a training course. While he was there, a theological student reflected that only one bun was not enough to eat for breakfast. The students were in their early 20s. Yang and CCM made the decision to support 10 poor students at the seminary with a monthly contribution of 5,200 Yuan.
On his second visit to the seminary, a new church had been built. The enrollment of the seminary increased every year. The school building was converted into a building with eight floors, but the construction ceased at the seventh floor. They told the elder that the project had run out of money. Yang provided them with a back-up fund. The CCM provided more money this time so the need was met and the eighth floor was constructed.
In addition, Pastor Yang Yuying and his wife Yang-Cheng Jimei funded the reconstruction of eight churches in Hubei.
In 1994, the work in the Hubei theological seminaries was completed. Pastor Yang Yuying and his team turned to seminaries in Sichuan. A local female minister there told him that one of the fellow believers owed money to the hospital and couldn’t pay. CCM paid for the believer. When Elder Yang passed the payment to the minister, she looked at them and said in tears, "I cannot thank you enough. This must have been a long way for you to come at your age. I will tell of God's love all my life. I pray for your safety and peace on your return home."
Afterwards, they visited seminaries in Henan. There were 86 male and female theological students in the province. The facilities in the seminaries were quite poor. The average age of the students was in the early 20s. The eldest was no more than 30 years old. It is not easy to decide to serve the Lord for the rest of one’s life. Elder Yang Yuying sent each student a copy of the collection of Bible studies by Overseer Kou Shiyuan. They also had a similar situation where the students didn’t have enough to eat. Since that time the CCM has supported 30 students at Zhengzhou Theological Seminary in Henan Province.
In Henan, Pastor Yang delivered sermons. The province was his second hometown. He first asked the congregations whether they wanted to hear him speaking in Mandarin or in the local dialect. A roar burst out—"local dialect!" It'd been more than fifty years since he left his hometown. His local accent was still fresh and moved his listeners to tears. The local accent and connection to relatives reminded the elderly couple of their youth. Thank the Lord for allowing him to return home to preach the gospel. God had answered his prayer. The reunion of the pastor and his daughter Qin Zhu, who had been separated from him for more than 40 years, was great news. The topic of that day’s sermon was "Peace". The congregation listened quietly and saw God's work. After the service, he received prayer requests for strength and encouragement. It was moving to see the enthusiastic responses.
Pastor Yang supported many poor theological students from five provinces in Mainland China, including Changsha Bible School in Hunan, Nanchang Theological Seminary in Jiangxi, Chengdu Theological Seminary in Sichuan and Zhengzhou Theological Seminary in Henan.
CCM funds helped to support 26 small churches in remote areas in China. There are now 12 churches that can support themselves.
In 1996, because of the pain in Pastor Yang’s legs, he could only walk from 200 to 300 steps. In April he visited the Mainland’s poor ministers and students. He was seen walking with great difficulty as he visited Sichuan Theological Seminary, Zhongnan Theological Seminary and Jiangxi Theological Seminary.
Amputation saved his life and he relied on a prostheses after that. When he was mostly recovered, he began to preach the gospel and worked for God for another ten years until he went to be with the Lord.
I wrote this account of Elder Yang according to his wife Pastor Yang Yuying's memoirs, which were provided by Brother Yang Daming. Sometimes he is called “Elder” instead of "Pastor" because in the Taipei Home of Christ Church there are only the positions of "overseer" and "elder" and no ordained "pastor." Elder Yang Yuying was ordained a pastor because he was appointed to minister in the Zhonghe Church. This made it less confusing for each church to communicate with each other. He was called Elder Yang at the Home of Christ Church but was otherwise called Pastor Yang elsewhere.