On the early morning of March 17, Mr. Sun Jinbiao, the conductor of Zhangzhou Beimen Church, passed away at the age of 69. I can't help recalling the past when we met and got to know each other.
On the Tomb-Sweeping Day in 2005, I accompanied my second brother, Rev. Lin Muzhong (who had returned from being abroad), to visit the Zhangzhou Dongbanhou Church where my deceased uncle Rev. Lin Qinmin served and then Beimen Church which was under construction in Zhangzhou city.
During the meeting, Mr. Sun introduced himself, "I'm Wen Lin's friend Sun Jinbiao, and my mother often went to Dongbanhou Church for worship before the Cultural Revolution. She often mentioned your uncle pastor Lin Qinmin..." This was the first time I met Sun. Later I learned that during the "Cultural Revolution" in 1966, Peking Opera was the only opera that could be passed down in the country. When the Zhangzhou Peking Opera Troupe was also established, the young Sun Jinbiao (born in 1953), particularly good at playing the flute, was recruited into the Peking Opera Troupe together with Wen Lin, who played the cello. As the Peking Opera Troupe was disbanded after the Cultural Revolution, Sun attended the Music Department of the Fuzhou Normal University. After his graduation, he returned to the Zhangzhou Normal University Music Department as a teacher and head of the department. In 2003, he retired to serve at Beimen Church as the conductor of the choir.
The year 2014 marked the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Banzai Church in Pinghe County, Fujian Province, the hometown of world literature master Lin Yutang. The church invited the Beimen Church Choir to participate in the celebration. At 6:00 am, setting off from Beimen Church, they drove 70 kilometers to Banzai. At the ceremony, Rev. Lin Muzhong preached a sermon with the title "The Axe Is Borrowed".
The Beimen Church Choir directed by Mr. Sun and choirs of Dongbanhou Church, Xiaoxi Church, and Banzai Church in Zhangzhou sang at the ceremony, which won waves of applause from thousands of believers at home and abroad!
When Mr. Sun learned that our relatives at home and abroad who were the descendants of Lin Wenfeng (a preacher) 's family were going to hold a memorial service at the ancestral tomb of the Lin family in Xiaoxihulu Mountain after the ceremony, he took the initiative to attend the memorial service with the choir. At the memorial service, praise echoed throughout the mountain.
On Sunday, November 11, 2018, Rev. Huang Lihong of Beimen Church was invited by Fuzhou Guanxiang Church to preach, accompanied by the Beimen Church choir. When we met again after more than four years, Sun was obviously a little emaciated. He told me, "Due to illness, it's been two months since the surgery, and I'm still undergoing chemotherapy. Thank the Lord who always watches over me. I'm recovering well as the surgery went well..." My colleague told me Sun went back to the church to train the choir after he was discharged from hospital and that he insisted on taking the choir to Fuzhou by himself. Sun said that it was the grace of God for him to perform in Fuzhou, so he did not want to glorify the name of the choir, but to glorify the holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ and to spread the gospel.
Early on the morning of March 17, Wen Lin sent me a message on WeChat, "Sun (the choir conductor of Beimen Church) returned to heaven in the morning..."
On March 18, Sun's memorial service was held in Beimen Church.
- Translated by Leo Liu