Sources - A Family History Of A Lost Person
4A Family History of a Lost Person is a short history of 18 pages. The author Youxin Wang (王有心) is the son of a man who was often hired as a cook and helper for Margaret Barber and Margaret Ballord. In this book, Mr. Wang details the spiritual history of his family from his grandfather down to his generation.
Of particular interest are several pages recording how his father and grandmother became acquainted with Misses Barber and Ballord. Also of note, this record is the only source to state that Misses Barber and Ballord settled in White Teeth Rock in 1911. Many sources tell how they left England for Fuzhou in 1909, but little is know about the years 1909-1920. From Mr. Wang, we learn that the two sisters lived in other places for over a year before they felt God had called them to settle in what would the the scene for the rest of their labor, the mountain side known as White Teeth Rock.
Written in 2008, this book has not been officially translated from Chinese to English. We are in the process of translating the complete work. But in the interest of making the history of Miss Barber accessible, a rough translation of the relevant pages is offered below. Chapters 3 and 4 are presented in their entirety.
A Family History Of A Lost Person, by Youxin Wang
3. Salvation of Lord’s love
A place that God has prepared: the meeting place of Baiyatan (White Teeth Rock) and where my family lived.
My father used to work as a kitchen worker for two sisters, Margaret E. Barber and M.L.S. Ballard. He was entrusted with ten townhouses from 1911 until 1950, when Miss Ballard returned to her country after China’s liberation in 1949. During that time, Barber passed away in 1930 at age 61.
In 1951, the government decided to lodge sailors in these townhouses. My father and a nearby family of foreigners were forced to relocate to a dilapidated and unoccupied house next to the former customs office. The government offered some money as compensation and also for repairing the rundown house.
Problems soon arose between the two families. Both families had coops for raising chickens. However, the neighbor threw our coop into the river so he could have more land for his own coop. The neighbor’s family was also stronger than our family. I was thirteen at the time.
In light of this situation, my father told me, “We can’t live with this neighbor. If you want to farm, you need a good farm next to yours. If you want to live in a house peacefully, you need a good neighbor. We should try to find another piece of land and build a small house so we can leave peacefully.”
Thank God, my father did not fight with him. My father found another piece of land and built a small house. Annual rent was 50 kg of millet (7 RMB). In 1953, the government changed the land ownership policy. The owner of the land no longer charged us rent since there was no longer any private property. I live in that small house to this day.
Here are two proofs that this land was God-given: 1. We would have continued living with our original neighbor if he had not thrown our coop into the river. 2. We would have continued living with our original neighbor if my father refused to give up the land to the neighbor.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good. (Romans 8:28）
We can only learn to obey God’s plan. If you meet an enemy, it’s God’s plan. God used the land He gave me to build the church and resume the meeting. God also took me out of the coffin and kept me alive to watch over his church since 1988.
God says that He will “show steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:6). I want my children and grandchildren to become people who love God and keep his commandments for generations to come. And the word of God shall surely be fulfilled in my family unto a thousand generations.
Reading: 1 John. 4:19 - We love because God first loved us.
John 15:16 - You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the father in my name, he may give it to you.
I admit that we are saved through God’s choice. Margaret E. Barber and M.L.S. Ballard came to Fuzhou and Bai Yatan (White Teeth Rock) in 1911 to spread the Gospel of salvation and work for the Lord. However, the work did not go as they expected and the message was not heard. They prayed earnestly for people to rise up in China so that Chinese people could spread the Gospel to other Chinese, hoping that someone would receive salvation.
God listened to their prayers. There were many young and promising Chinese who were raised up by God in Fuzhou ten years later. There were brothers like, Watchman Nee(倪柝声), Zai Wang(王载), Lianjun Wang(王连俊), Zhongxin Lu(陆忠信), Zaisheng Chen(陈再生), and Zhi Wang(王峙). There were sisters like Songfang Ye(叶松芳), Xijiang Song(宋希姜), Muxian Li(李牧先), Duansan Lin(林端三), Shuzhen Zhang(张淑珍), and Lude Chen(陈路得).
4. The Lord’s love and choosing
I now tell you the process of how God chose and sought to save the descendants of the lost person (my family). John 15:16 - You did not choose me, but I chose you.
One day in 1911, after an afternoon nap, Miss Barber and Miss Ballard went for a walk in the hills near the thatched house where my grandmother lived. My grandmother thought to two sisters were searching for something and asked, “What are you looking for?” They replied, “We are looking for the road home.” My grandmother asked, “Where do you live?” They answered that they lived in Bai Yatan (White Teeth Rock). My grandmother then offered to have her son (my father, aged 14) show them the way home.
When he had taken them about halfway, my father told the sisters, “If you follow the tracks of this road, you will get back to Bai Yatan. The sisters then offered, “Since we are already halfway there, come and sit with us.” My father happily accepted.
Upon returning to White Teeth Rock, the sisters brought out cakes and jam that my father had never eaten before. They also gave my father two silver dollars because they saw that my grandmother was living in a straw hut as a disabled person. My father was surprised and took the money back to my grandmother.
My grandmother was filled with emotion when she saw the silver dollars. “How could you accept so much money from them?!” Two silver dollars were worth three or four days of skilled labor and could be used to buy more than 50 kg of rice. However, my father spent less than two hours guiding them home.
My grandmother had a grateful heart like the leper who returned to thank Jesus after Jesus healed ten lepers (Luke 17:11). The Lord gave double grace to this leper who returned in thanks. Grandma knew she needed to repay this kindness, but her poor family had little to offer. She decided upon a gift of fruit (longan) that grew near her home. My father delivered several kilograms of fruit to the two sisters.
When delivering the fruit, the sisters asked my father about his family members.
My father replied, “I only have my mother after my father passed away.”
The sisters inquired, “What do you do now?”
“There is nothing to do.”
“Then how do you survive?” they asked.
“We rely on the loquat, longan, and guava planted next to the house. I harvest them every year so my mother and I can live.”
Upon hearing this, the sisters offered my father a job working as their handyman and asked my father to go home and discuss the offer with my grandmother.
My father was very happy to receive this offer. My grandmother was even happier and commented that poor people without money or land would be satisfied with a meal in exchange for their work. After receiving my grandmother’s blessing, my father began working as the sisters’ assistant. He carried water, washed vegetables, made tea, and so on.
After some time, the sisters said to my father, “Your mother is a senior citizen and is living alone at home. Would you like to bring her to live here? This way you can work while taking care of your mother.”
My grandmother was filled with even greater joy upon hearing this because they were double-blessed for giving the sisters longan.
My father’s life improved dramatically after this. He worked as a handyman for several years, mastered some cooking skills, and even got married.
However, people become dissatisfied after they acquire some skills. My father no longer wanted to work at the Ten Townhouses because the chefs at the next door customs office were earning triple the salary. He also wanted to use his savings in White Teeth Rock to do business. As a result, he left working for the sisters.
“Leaving the sisters is leaving the Lord. The Lord said, ‘You can do nothing without me.’ There’s no grace when you leave.”
I grew up hearing my father say these things.
My father returned to the sisters after losing his money doing business. The sisters asked if business was good. My father did not speak, but simply shook his head. After a while, he admitted that he could not make money and had lost money.
“What is your plan now that you’ve lost money? What do you want to do?” asked the sisters.
He answered, “I have nothing to do.”
The sisters replied, “If there is nothing to do, will you come back and work with us again?”
My father returned to work for the sisters after this. He told me that the cycle of leaving and returning happened three times. I went to White Teeth Rock with my father in 1945 when I was seven and have stayed there until now.
At first, I did not understand that this land was from God. In time, I understood.
In 1951, my father rented a piece of land to build a house for us to live in. After 1953, private land ownership was abolished and all land was claimed by the government to be shared by the collective. However, the government did not claim the land around our house because it was considered a wasteland. My father and I cultivated this land over several years and raised about 3,000 sweet potato plants.
In 1959, the government began allotting land to peasants in response to a severe nationwide food shortage. Peasants were allowed to use this land to grow food for themselves. Each person received an allotment of land that could sustain 80 plants. This meant my family of five would have received enough land to grow 400 sweet potato plants.
However, our family was already producing sweet potatoes in the wasteland around our house. In response, the village leaders decided that our family would not receive the standard land allotment from the government. Instead, we were allowed to keep the wasteland for ourselves. Also, there was a second round of land allotment where our family retained the wasteland and received no additional land from the government.
After ten years or so, there was another disturbance in the village regarding the distribution of land. The peasants were dissatisfied because some of them had received low-quality land or land that was very far away while others had good land or land that was nearby. The village leaders decided to resolve this dispute by having the agricultural production team redivide the land by casting lots.
On the appointed day, the leader of the production team called his men together to cast lots. As the meeting was starting, the leader said, “We should allow the Wang family to keep their current allotment because it is near their home. If there are no objections, let’s exclude their land when we cast lots.”
Miraculously, not a single member of the production team objected. I believe it was the hand of God that shut the mouths of those men. Everyone knew my family’s land was both good quality and close by. My family’s land would surely have been lost if any team member had objected.