Today the city of Wenzhou is known as the ‘Jerusalem of China’. It is home to well over a thousand churches, and continues to grow. Over a million of its eight million people are Christians.But all this growth started with one Scottish missionary with the China Inland Mission (CIM) 150 years ago.
Most modern missions would turn George Stott down today. He had a wooden leg; anyone playing it safe would have rejected him as a health and safety risk. China was not a safe place in those days. But Hudson Taylor looked beyond outward appearances. ‘You’re in!’, he told Stott after carefully interviewing him. In 1868 George arrived in Wenzhou, the first Protestant missionary in the bustling port city.
The years passed. Several Chinese turned to Christ and were baptised, and a small church opened in Wenzhou. One of the young Chinese lads at the school was converted. He was paralysed down his left side and found walking difficult. He went on to become the first local evangelist in Wenzhou.
The gospel spread throughout the city and into the surrounding the villages. About a decade after Stott arrived the CIM built a large church in the centre of the city, capable of seating several hundred people. Despite the events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in China, the gospel continued to spread. Then, in 1966, came the Cultural Revolution. All the churches closed and many believed that the church in China had finally been wiped out.
Today, though, this church in Wenzhou is open again and caters for a congregation of many thousands. There are many other churches in the area. Many Wenzhou Christians are also good at business and use their companies and factories as part of their witness to Christ, seeking to bless their community.
Will you pray for China?
Give thanks for God’s faithfulness demonstrated in China over the last 150 years.
Pray for Chinese brothers and sisters considering business ventures. Pray that these businesses be a testimony to God’s love.