An article from China’s Millions (June 1912) by George Gibb who was CIM General Director from 1935 to 1940. The article includes stories of several Chinese who heard and responded to the gospel and how they remained faithful in their faith until death.

Born in Aberdeen in 1869, George Gibb trained as a teacher before going to Anhwei province in the Autumn of 1894. There, in December 1896, he married Margaret Emslie, also from Aberdeen, who had gone to China in 1892. After twenty years of service he became the Superintendent for the area. He joined the China Administration in 1918, becoming Deputy China Director in 1922 and China Director in 1931. His appointment as General Director in August 1935 “came about as the natural outcome of the past, being welcomed by all the Directors.”[2] A year after taking up this office Margaret died following years of ill health. One year later he married Eleanor Kendal, a teacher at Chefoo. His own health had been under great strain over these years and it was from his sickbed in 1940 that he handed over the office to Bishop Houghton. A short time later he fell asleep. D. E. Hoste gave the following tribute. “He approved himself amongst us as a wise and patient leader, a kind and faithful friend, and an exemplar of self-sacrificing devotion to the work of the Gospel.”[3]

george-gibb

“Jesus, Crowned with Glory and Honour”[1]

Mission Round Table Vol . 11 no. 2 (May-August 2016): 30-31

As I was coming to this meeting this afternoon one verse of Scripture was persistently suggested to my mind, namely:—“We see Jesus crowned with glory and honour.” It has been my privilege, during the past ten years, in the city of Hweichow in South Anhwei, to “see Jesus crowned with glory and honour” in the lives of many Chinese Christians. And I should like to tell you this afternoon about the conversion, the service, and the death, of one or two of these Christians.

Mr. Lee, the B.A.

Some thirty miles to the west of our City there is a village, the inhabitants of which are mostly called by the name of Lee. The head of the village, or, at any rate, one of the most important men in the village, was a scholar, a B.A. He was a very wealthy man, and was engaged in the tea trade. Let me tell you very briefly of his conversion. One morning this Mr. Lee was standing by his door when one of our evangelists, Mr. Yao by name, visited the village, carrying with him the Gospel. After some conversation with Mr. Lee, the evangelist sold him a Gospel of Mark. Mr. Lee took the Gospel home, and there read it and reread it. Soon afterwards he set out for our nearest out-station to learn more of what this Gospel really contained; for there were many things in it he did not understand. He arrived at our little out-station about ten o’clock one Saturday night, and Mr. Yao, who had been out on an itinerary journey, arrived soon afterwards. They talked together of what he had read from the Gospel of Mark. The next day, Sunday, one of the missionaries from Hweichow was present to preach. During that service Mr. Lee realized that he was a sinner, and he came, with all his sins, to the Cross of Jesus Christ, and trusted Him fully. Not long afterwards he came to our city and spent a short time studying God’s Word with us. We were holding a Conference, and never shall I forget those days. Mr. Lee spent the greater part of the time at his disposal, with his Bible; rising up long before daylight, and spending each evening, studying the Word. How quickly he got to know Christ, and how greatly he loved the Lord! Immediately on his return home he began preaching the Gospel throughout his district. Many villages were visited, oftentimes in company with other Christians, and with the evangelists. I have been with him myself. He was an earnest worker for Christ, and a great student of God’s Word, and extremely fond of prayer. Often have I learnt a lesson from Mr. Lee as he knelt in prayer. How simply, how humbly, how perseveringly, he came to Christ in prayer for the villages, and the cities, we were visiting together. And how fully assured he was that the Lord would answer his prayers.

In one of those journeys he caught a very severe cold. As soon as I heard of his illness I sent our evangelist to enquire, and, afterwards, went myself to see him. His disease developed into something like consumption. As he lay on his death-bed he wrote me a letter, thanking me for all the blessing I had been to him—but, oh, beloved friends, he was a greater blessing to me than I had ever been to him. In concluding his letter, he wrote: “Enclosed you will find a cheque for $500 with which I desire that you build a little hall to the praise and the glory of the name of Him I love.” As he was about to pass into the presence of the King, the Christians being gathered around him, he gave out the hymn, commencing with the words, “I have a Father in the promised land.” Before that hymn was ended he went to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, to wear the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give him at that day; and not to him only, but unto all them who love His appearing. I count it a great privilege to have known Mr. Lee. His love for God, his earnestness in God’s service, the simplicity of his approach to God, and his liberality, have made an indelible impression upon my mind.

Mr. Shao, the scholar

To the south of Hweichow, amongst the hills, is another little village. The people who dwell there are most of them called Shao. One of our colporteurs visited that village three years ago, and preached Christ there, and one gentleman, another scholar, welcomed the Word preached. After he had received God’s Word this Mr. Shao would gather together the people of the village and tell them what he himself had learned from the Word of God. He came to one of our Conferences, the Conference we held just before I left for home—and my colleague, Mr. Mead, and myself were both impressed with the knowledge this man had of the Scriptures. It was evident that he had spent a great deal of time studying them. Whether he is converted or not I cannot say, but I tell you the incident in order to solicit your prayers for this man.

The light was brought to him wholly by the work of a colporteur. How much we need to pray for these colporteurs, and for the important work they are doing, that the Word of the Lord, as it is scattered broadcast, may find an entrance into the hearts of those who read it, and bring forth fruit to the eternal praise and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord has done, and is doing, marvellous things in Hweichow district. The missionary whom I left there in charge writes me of one gentleman, also a scholar, who has spent $200 in Buddhist literature, and read the whole of it in order to find peace, but found none. He was an earnest seeker after God and after the truth. At last he found his way to our little hall in Hweichow, and Mr. Mead tells me that he has spent quite a few days with this man, studying God’s Word, and it seems as if he is not far from the Kingdom. Mr. Mead ends his letter thus: “Being in very comfortable circumstances, he is able to spend a good deal of time in reading, and he is now, I believe, giving all his time to Bible study. Please, join us in prayer for him.”

I ask you to pray for us, to pray for this man, to pray for our helpers, our colporteurs, our Biblewomen, our evangelists, that they may be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, and may be constrained by the love of Jesus Christ to go forward and preach amongst their own countrymen, of whom there are over 2,000,000 in our district. As I think of these villages, and remember that they have only been once or twice visited, my heart is almost downcast. We need many more workers; we cannot ourselves overtake the work. And I would ask you, dear friends, to do your best for us. I know you do pray for us, and I know that oftentimes we are blessed because of your prayers. Pray on, that the Lord Jesus Christ may indeed be “crowned with glory and honour” in the salvation of many souls throughout the district of Hweichow and throughout the province of Anhwei.

In closing, let me ask one question of the many young people here. In view of the awful need of China, in view of the open doors, and the great opportunities that lie before us, in view of the cry that comes from the darkness of heathenism, “come over and help us!” in view of the last request, nay, the emphatic command, of our risen Lord Jesus “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel,”—what, dear friends, will you do? What answer will you give? O may it be that from the midst of this gathering someone will say “Here am I, send me.”

[1] Originally published in China’s Millions, British ed. (June 1912): 93–4.

[2] D. E. Hoste, “Rev. George W. Gibb, M.A.,” China’s Millions, British ed. (March-April 1941): 22.

[3] Hoste, “George W. Gibb,” 22.

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