Father Forgive Them, For They Know Not What They Do

Chinese farmer, Chang Fang Yuan, was nearly beaten to death for preaching the Gospel in his village. But he didn't die, and instead prayed to the Father for the forgiveness and salvation of his attackers. His prayers were answered.

Following excerpt from 46% into Answered Or Unanswered, Miracles of Faith in China by Louisa Vaughan

A Chinese farmer named Chang Fang Yuan from a near-by town, doing his business in the market place, happened to engage in conversation with one of the Christians, who invited him to the meeting that evening “to hear a white woman speak Chinese,” no mention of the subject to be discussed. My friend Chang promptly said he did not believe a word of what his friend was saying. No woman could speak Chinese so he could understand. Indeed he went so far in the heated argument which followed, as to tell the Christian very plainly, he was a liar, and he, Chang, knew it, and would prove it, as he would spend the night in Liu Kia Ku to attend the service and listen. This he did, with an unlooked for result.

Our place of meeting was a rather commodious tent, erected on a threshing floor near the church. By eight P. M. the tent was packed, men on one side, women on the other, with not an inch of space left for standing room. It must have been at this time that Chang, the farmer, arrived on the scene. He found it impossible to get inside. But being a Chinese man who had made up his mind to hear, he was going to hear. Outside he moved from place to place until, directly behind the rude platform, he discovered one of the flaps open, through which he stuck his head. In this fashion he could both hear and see.

Remember, he had never heard the Good News before. This was the only information he had ever received of the Gospel: the Elders in his home town had sworn an oath and signed it with their blood, that if a foreign missionary or Chinese evangelist would come to their town preaching “The Devil’s Doctrine,” they would kill them; or if any person or persons in the village would become secondary, or second-class devils (local name for native Christians) they too would be killed without delay.

With this scanty knowledge Chang listened to the story of the Prodigal son and its application to. himself. It came a direct revelation of the Holy Spirit enlightening him, uncovering the secret sins of his heart, unveiling the righteousness of God.

The service closed. The crowd dispersed. Chang entered the tent, rapidly made his way to the space before the platform, and flinging himself at my feet he cried out, “I am the prodigal! I am the prodigal! How shall I get back to my Heavenly Father? Will He receive me? Oh, I have wandered so far awav! Tell me how to get back?” We knelt together, pleading for and with him, telling him to say, “Lord, forgive me for Jesus’ sake!” Soon the peace of God filled his soul, the Holy Spirit revealing the risen Lord in him. He spent the remaining days of the Conference with us. He had some education and could read.

The parting day came quickly. “My brothers and sisters, pray for me,” Chang cried out at one of the closing services. “I may never see you again in the flesh. I go back to die, unless God delivers me.” With heavy hearts we commended him to God and proceeded on our journey.

He returned to his village, his heart overflowing with love to God and man. Like Paul of old, no fear of death could close his mouth or prevent him proclaiming the Good News. He had returned to his Heavenly Father, and his Father had received him.

Down to the market place, into the dense crowd he pushed his way and delivered his message. The crowd rushed on him, furious with hate and anger. Soon a messenger ran into his home crying, “They have killed your husband for preaching the devil’s doctrine; he is lying dead in the market place;” and then fled.

Relatives carried the body home, where it was discovered that life was not extinct. One leg was broken in three places, every tooth in the front of his mouth was knocked out of his head, and one eye and one ear were destroyed. Three months he lay on his brick bed unable to move, praying for his enemies and those who had despitefully used him, “Father forgive them, they do not understand,” and praising God that he had been found worthy to suffer for Jesus’ sake.

Later he prayed for the entire town, asking the Lord to send the Pastors and Miss Vaughan to his benighted village and proclaim the “Good News to all.”

A year passed, when the answer came. Every detail was remembered by a loving Heavenly Father. The way opened for me to go and the first two days the Lord gave twenty-five souls, heathen women who had never heard the Word before. The missionary in charge of our station, Dr. Charles Ernest Scott, baptized these women two years later, when I was in America.

The men who had attempted to murder Chang Fang Yuen, when they heard we were coming to hold a Christian Conference in their town, waited on him, saying, “What can we do to help you? Let us dig the holes for the tent poles and put it up. Let us do anything, but let us help.”

They attended the meetings and some were converted then and there; all began to attend church and read the scriptures.

Thus grew the body of Christ in China, making increase of itself in love,—a vision of suffering with Christ that the church in the United States has not yet received.

Answered Or Unanswered, Miracles of Faith in China

Publisher:Christian Life Literature Fund
Library:Open Library

Scripture Testimony Index stories in this book

Louisa Vaughan's very first experience in ministry to women in China was discouraging. The prospect of teaching illiterate women, who were completely occupied with the tasks of daily life, seemed impossible. When Ms. Vaughan took the matter to God in prayer, He spoke the promise of John 14:13-14, and her burden rolled away. She had merely to ask in His name and trust Him for the outcome.
Mrs. Wang was a woman whose husband reviled and cursed her for six months. But instead of responding in kind, she constantly prayed that God would forgive him...because he didn't understand. One day God answered her prayers, and her husband was truly converted.
In a conference meeting, Miss Vaughan was led by the Holy Spirit to ask everyone to stop and pray a specific prayer. As they obeyed this leading of God, the Holy Spirit fell upon them with great power and conviction.
Miss Vaughan writes about the results a great revival among the Chinese Christians with whom she worked. Men and women alike were confessing their sins of covetousness and then giving liberally of their time, experience, and material wealth for the advancement of God's cause.
Louisa Vaughan's cook, Shao Wei Chao, fell in with bad company who convinced him to leave her employ and seek a dubious opportunity. Miss Vaughan spent three days praying for her cook's deliverance from this plan. God answered her prayers and the boat carrying Shao Wei Chao was turned back by a terrible storm.
While on a journey with “friends,” Shao Wei Chao was deceived and robbed of all his belongings, leaving him stranded in a strange land. In his confusion, he was reminded by the Holy Spirit to pray. He prayed for help, and what happened was clearly God's mighty help.
Mr. Swen, a Chinese farmer, was convicted of his sins and he publicly confessed them, promising to renew his commitment as a servant of God. As he matched his words with actions he saw, like never before, God's powerful blessing on his business.
Mr. Swen was enjoying an increasingly bountiful harvest from his farm as he faithfully gave a tenth of each harvest like he promised. But soon, he gave in to covetousness and stopped giving like he had promised. The result was a woeful harvest.
Louisa Vaughan and her assistants had arrived in a village to conduct revival services. Their host was inhospitable, and the place smelled of opium, so the group knelt in prayer to ask God what they should do. The revival band decided to leave, which angered their host. But when he randomly opened his Bible, he landed on Matthew 10:14 and realized that Miss Vaughan was shaking the dust from her feet. This broke the heart of the host and ignited a widespread revival.
Before the revival meetings, a spiritually asleep village church was unwilling to support a school for girls. But on the tenth day of a conference, a backslidden evangelist came under Holy Spirit conviction. His public repentance led to a revival amongst the congregation. Echoing Psalm 110:3, "That His people will be willing in the day of His power," the school was enthusiastically supported.
Miss Vaughan and Mr. Leng's family agreed to pray every day for Mr. Leng, a backslidden evangelist on death row for the crime of vandalism—specifically for sharing in the looting of the Imperial Palace. After over a year of keeping to their word to pray, Mr. Leng was delivered in an unusual way.
Chinese farmer, Chang Fang Yuan, heard the story of The Prodigal Son from Miss Louisa Vaughan in a tent meeting. Chang had attended simply "to hear a white woman speak Chinese," but by the end he saw himself as the Prodigal and begged to know how to get back to his Heavenly Father. This farmer was converted and boldly returned to his village in spite of the promise of great persecution.
Chinese farmer, Chang Fang Yuan, was nearly beaten to death for preaching the Gospel in his village. But he didn't die, and instead prayed to the Father for the forgiveness and salvation of his attackers. His prayers were answered.
Louisa Vaughan's "one method of work" was to pray with complete reliance upon the promise of John 14:13-14. When faced with a particularly difficult situation of presenting the Gospel to a highly distracted young mother, she simply asked for her conversion in the name of Jesus. God glorified Himself in the woman's thorough conversion.
Mrs. Jang died and saw heaven. The next day she was miraculously brought back to life to share with her family and many who flocked to listen to her stories of heaven. While there, the Heavenly Father told her to return to her people, but that He would take her back on the 12th day of the following month. On the appointed day, Mrs. Jang happily went back to God.
The people of Shan Tung province were desperate for rain. For weeks they made sacrifices and offered prayers to their rain god, but to no avail. Ultimately, giving up, they threw the idol in a ditch. At the same time the Christians of the area had been praying for rain and were discouraged that their prayers also brought no rain. In a purposefully public demonstration of James 5:16-18, Miss Vaughan led the believers to seek right relationship with God through repentance, which resulted in a dramatic answer to prayer.
The chief official of a village was so opposed to the Christian doctrine that he had made believing or teaching it to be a capital offense. But after witnessing the clear deliverance of a demon-possessed man, the villagers begged to hear the Gospel, and many were converted.
Louisa Vaughan insisted that a deranged woman was mentally ill, not demon possessed. However, the fact that the woman was nearly physically incapable of saying the name of Jesus, combined with the fact that Miss Vaughan and her fellow workers independently heard the same thing from the Lord that “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting,” convinced Miss Vaughan to recognize the woman's true condition.
Two men who had nearly killed their widowed aunt were independently visited by the same dream, on the same night, in which Jesus warned them to repent or perish by the sword. This dream corresponded exactly to the prayers of the church inspired by Exodus 22:22-24 which says, "Ye shall not afflict any widow...I will kill you with the sword..."
A Chinese church was attacked over a child's desecration of a pagan temple. In the conflict, a persecutor was shot in the arm and falsely accused the pastor of the act, producing a gun with the pastor's name on it as evidence. There was little hope of justice from the non-Christian official, but the believers stood on the promise of John 14:13-14 and prayed. God moved the official to examine the evidence impartially.
Louisa Vaughan prayed for a new cook, whom God provided in the person of a profligate young man with a notorious reputation for vice. At first she resisted, but he said that he wanted to learn to be good, and that she was known for teaching people how. Within a week he met the Lord Jesus and was completely transformed. He had been made good, and he went home to his people, a changed man.
Louisa Vaughan's cook had been so dramatically changed by the Gospel, that his village elders wanted to learn the secret. Like the Macedonian that the Apostle Paul saw in a vision, they pleaded with her saying, "Please come over and help us, we are hungry to learn."
The Christians of Lao Shan Wei earnestly desired revival in their community, so like the Apostles devoted to prayer in the upper room in Jerusalem before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as described in the second chapter of Acts, the Chinese believers prayed for a whole year. And then the revival came.
The believers of Lao Shan Wei had been praying specifically for a place to hold revival meetings as their little church was too small to hold those who had already expressed a desire to attend. Not only did God answer their prayers, but He did so by casting the idols out of a large temple building.
Mrs. Yuen was persistent, praying three times a day in her inner courtyard for a son to be born to her and her husband. In time they joyfully welcomed a baby boy named “Tien shi,” which means “Heaven's Gift.”