In 1887, American missionary John Abraham Otte built a Christian hospital named Neerbosch Hospital in Pinghe County, South China's Fujian province, with funds donated by churches in the United States and Holland.
Lin Wenfeng, the hospital's only preacher all his life, played a part in promoting evangelization in Pinghe.
Born in a rural village in Pinghe in 1865, he labored for a landowner. Due to poverty, he left the village to run a small business in another place five kilometers away. At 30, he married a woman who soon died of illness and three years later married another woman who passed away from a disease in a year.
Not knowing what to do, he burned paper, built festoon, and worshiped idols to ensure that his wives could enter the Western Paradise. He spent much money inviting Buddhist monks to chant sutras but ended up with a stomach disease relapse.
Knowing his situation, Rev. Lin Zhicheng, the father of the famous Chinese writer Lin Yutang, often comforted him at his home. One day he suffered from serious gastrorrhagia, Rev. Lin sent people to carry him to Neerbosch Hospital. He was saved. Afterwards, the pastor preached to, comforted, and enlightened him. Lin Wenfeng was baptized and became a fervent Christian.
In 1903, when he was 38, he married a maidservant introduced to him by Rev. Lin. Their first son was born three years later and dedicated to God at one month old, and became a pastor. They had six sons and one daughter.
Outstanding for his fear of God, Lin was sent by his church to study theology in a seminary and worked as a preacher after graduation.
In 1907, Neerbosch Hospital constructed a two-story brick building including 24 inpatient wards, a small chapel, and a preaching chamber. Lin was recommended by Rev. Lin Zhicheng to work as a preacher in the hospital.
Despite his salary being insufficient to support his big family, he was always glad to give to poor people and beggars. He kept giving thanks to God when he got up, took a lunch break, or went to bed every day.
Except for emergency patients, every patient should talk with him and hear his preaching before receiving any treatment. Every morning he led the medical staff and workers to read the Bible and pray before working. In the evening he shared the gospel through slides in the wards. He also taught patients who couldn't read pinyin, a pronunciation system for Chinese characters, and the writings of Minnan, a dialect spoken in Fujian and other places. Normally, patients could read hymns written in Minnan and the Bible within a few weeks. He treated patients like his own family and became their intimate friends.
His good deeds won him praise and love among local Christians and non-Christians. The lifelong minister died at the age of 84 in the hospital in October 1949.
About one thousand people, including officials, army representatives, and students from a church-run primary school and two middle schools attended his funeral.
- Translated by Karen Luo