The Good Shepherd Who Loved God and Men - Rev. Wu Naiwen of Fujian Shima Church
By CCD contributor: Lin Muli , September 12, 2019 10:09 AM
Wu Naiwen, born in 1914, was originally from Longshan Town, Nanjing County, Fujian Province. He graduated from North China Theological Seminary in Teng County, Shandong Province in 1941 and got married the following year. Shortly after the wedding, he devoted himself to missionary work in the Anxi and Tongan Church in the Minnan mountain regions of Fujian Province.
From 1945 to 1946, Wu preached in the Xiamen Guankou Church, and in the winter of 1946 he and his wife went to the China Bible Seminary for six months and worked as a short-term missionary in Shanghai. In May 1948, he was recruited as a pastor by the Shima Church to work with Pastor Cai Zhenxuan. On October 16, 1949, Wu was ordained as the fifth pastor of Shima Church.
After the founding of the new China in 1949, Chinese Christianity launched the "Three-Self" reformation movement, and Shima also established the "Christian Three-self Reformation Patriotic Movement Committee". In the early days of the new China, the government encouraged women to work, so the caring of many families' young children became a problem. So Rev. Wu suggested that Minli Primary School reopen the Minli kindergarten. And so it was the first kindergarten in Shima Town in the new era.
Rev. Wu served as the people's representative for Shima Town, the people's representative for Longhai County and the Standing Committee of the CPPCC in Longhai County, and a representative of the religious circles in the Standing Committee of the CPPCC in Longhai County. In addition to the normal sermons, the Shima Church arranged daily prayers and Bible studies. Wu often visited the countryside churches to preach the gospel and gained popularity among believers. Rev. Wu's wife, Shen Biyu, was also a good helper in the church, training the church to do a good job of fellowhip, Sunday school, choir, and visitation.
On June 9, 1960, Longhai was hit by a typhoon and a major flood, flooding even the whole town of Shima, with many houses having collapsed. As the church was located on higher ground and therefore little affected by the flood, Reverend Wu determined to open its doors to shelter the victims.
In 1956, the enthusiastic Rev. Wu went to Nanjing Union Theological Seminary to study. There he wrote a number of articles on the faith, including "The Good Example Paul Left", which was incorporated into the Seminary's correspondence teaching materials. In it, he reminded believers to consciously resist heresies and cults.
In 1966, after the "Cultural Revolution" had broken out, the Shima Church stopped all activities and its property was requisitioned to the public. Church items such as Bibles, hymnals, crosses, spiritual books, etc. were all torched. Rev. Wu's home was cleared by the Red Guards. He was forced to walk around the streets carrying a "counter-revolutionary" banner strapped to his chest to make himself known. In extreme pain and despair, he committed his soul to the Lord, relying on the Lord's mercy and grace. He quoted the words of the Bible to tell everyone, "...we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." (Psalms 66:12)
On February 5, 1969, the Wu's were banished to farming in the Nanjing Shuyang countryside, about 100 kilometers from Shima.
In June 1979, the Wu's returned to Zhangzhou in accordance with the policy of home return. While living in Zhangzhou for about a year, the couple took a bus every Sunday to the Shima believers' family meeting place to preside over the worship.
In 1980, Wu's position of pastorate at Shima was restored, the original property was reclaimed and taken charge over, and the church was reopened. Although only about one-third of the original believers were left (about thirty plus male and female believers), the number of congregants increased. Because of demands by believers, the Shima Church promptly resumed its weekly prayer meetings, Bible studies, encouragement sessions, etc. in order to again instill the faith in the believers. Between 1980 and 1985, nearly 180 believers were baptized in four churches in both urban and rural areas of Longhai County.
The Wu's were not only parents to their seven children, but also parents to all in the congregation. Brothers and sisters in the church shared their most intimate matters with Rev. Wu and his wife - marriage, illness, making a living and studying - almost all the topics about life. No matter when they were approached, Rev. Wu and his wife were always sincere and ready to answer questions.
Rev. Wu Naiwen studied in three theological colleges during his lifetime and emphasized theological education by encouraging young believers and preachers to go to seminary.
In the fall of 1985, Rev Wu, nearly 70, retired with honor, and the couple moved to the United States to be reunited with their children. On April 26, 2008, the pastor went to be with the Lord at the age of 94.
- Translated by Charlie Li
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