Stephen Chan

The Late Home-coming Prodigal Son – Chapter 4

A translation from ‘遊子遲遲歸’

Chapter Four        Salvation and Downfall

Just when I was increasingly daring to steal money, I suddenly had the opportunity to hear the Gospel. In the summer of 1936, Dr. John Sung (宋尚节博士) was leading an evangelical meeting in Caine Road Baptist Church (坚道浸信会) in Hong Kong. My mother was ill at the time; she asked Dr. Sung to pray for her and was healed immediately. Therefore, she brought the family to the meeting the following night. Dr. Sung used the object lesson of a coffin to illustrate sin. He took out the ugly decomposed items out of it one by one. The Holy Spirit spoke to me. I realized I was a sinner, not only a thief, but also a person full of hatred and wicked thoughts. I confessed my sins that night, and accepted Jesus as my personal savior. It was June 14th, 1936, around 9 or 10 o’clock at night, a date that I would never ever forget. I went to the meeting again the following night. Later I joined Miss Xie Gu-Ling’s (谢顾灵) Bible study group (She was Dr. Sung’s interpreter), and the outreach evangelical group as well.

I was only twelve years old. Although my whole life was completely changed, my foundation on the truth was very shallow. I was blindly following the church leaders. I remembered one time Dr. Sung was speaking in a small church in Shau Kei Wan (筲箕湾). There were only fifty odd seats, but the room was jam packed with people and a bit out of control. Dr. Sung was preaching as if he was speaking to hundreds, like the time when he was speaking at Caine Road Baptist Church, shouting and calling for people to repent and come to Christ. Outside, people were throwing rocks, breaking windows; but the service went on. I was only a helper, setting up chairs everywhere, but I felt honored to be able to serve. However my zeal lasted only a short period of time.

My mother also accepted Christ at one of Dr. Sung’s meetings. She was very involved and attended every meeting. Later she joined the Christian Assembly, which I also joined. For two years my situation in the family did not change after my mother became a Christian. So my spiritual life back slid gradually. Besides, I wasn’t doing well at school. I was much older than all my classmates and I couldn’t catch up with English. No one would help me, and all my grudges and questions were left unsolved. Soon I became a hypocrite attended church services but at the same time sinned fearlessly. As I grew older, animosity towards my family also grew. I was not quite fifteen then, I felt the English colonial education merely promote the superiority of English and English people. These thoughts eventually fuelled my decision to run away from home. I wouldn’t be bothered to study, and began stealing and gambling again. I watched for a chance to steal a large sum of money from my parents, and then disappear for good.

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