A convicting read, within The Heavenly Man Brother Yun (with Paul Hattaway) tells the story of his conversion and subsequent ministry in communist China. His story begins at the age of 16, during the 1970s when persecution of the Church in China began to increase greatly. His ability to endure and preach the gospel in spite of beatings and imprisonment is a testament to God’s faithfulness, and the miracles he records will surely strength your faith. His wife, Deling, and a few other fellow-laborers also share their testimony in places.
Brother Yun ends the narrative describing the continuing work of the Back to Jerusalem movement, in which Chinese Christians that have been prepared by persecution are going forth into Middle Eastern and other closed countries to spread the gospel. Because they would not choose an easy life, but a life lived wholly for Christ. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for their first-world Christianity to be rocked.
This book was recommended to me by my mother-in-law, and I’m so glad she passed it on. My personal gleanings (and struggles) have been many as I waded through the heavy material. I spent much of the time wrestling within myself, Would I answer such a call? Would I stand fast for the faith? What if my husband were imprisoned, and I left behind like Deling? I can’t know, of course, the answers to the many what ifs. If I am learning by Brother Yun’s example, every story he tells illustrates God’s matchless providence in every situation. Learning from Scripture, God promises “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10) Brother Yun writes with such joy of his suffering for Christ’s sake–certainly the joy of the Lord was (and is) his strength.
Brother Yun’s passion for the Back to Jerusalem movement also impressed me. This is what the Chinese Christians call their missions in the Middle East, carrying the Gospel to closed countries in the 10/40 window. Their Bible schools teach not only the Word of God (with intense amounts of memorization), but also how to escape from handcuffs and survive jumps from great heights. It reminds me of the missionaries Erica Fye referenced in her book, who would buy their own coffins as they set off to share the Gospel. These men and women know the meaning of a life committed to Christ.
The Back to Jerusalem missionary movement is not an army with guns or human weapons. It isn’t a group of well-dressed, slick professionals. It’s an army of broken-heated Chinese men and women whom God has cleansed with mighty fire, and who have already been through years of hardship and deprivation for the sake of the gospel. In worldly terms they have nothing and appear unimpressive, but in the spiritual realm they are mighty warriors for Jesus Christ! We thank God that he ‘chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this word and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, sot hat no one may boast before him.‘ 1 Corinthians 1:27-29.”