I just finished reading Watchman Nee; Sufferer for China...Heroes of the Faith Series. Wow! He led an amazing life. Of course, I'm always interested in things of China, so when the Heroes of the Faith Series were available for $.99 for Kindle, I grabbed this book.
Ni To-Sheng changed his name to Watchman Nee after he was saved. It was typical in China to change your name after such a dramatic experience. He was a 3rd generation Christian--which was highly unusual. Margaret Barber, an Anglican missionary, became Watchman's mentor and friend who especially trained him to be a humble man willing to face persecution.
Watchman Nee became a great evangelist and established many churches in China. During an illness in which many people thought he'd die (including himself), he began writing the things he'd learned through his deep Bible studies. These writings spread to the Western world. After the rise of the Communist Party in China, Watchman could see that the freedom of the church was about to be stopped. He commissioned hundreds of people to spread the gospel all over China--as quickly as they could! He knew their time was short. Within a year, at the age of 50, he was imprisoned because he was a Christian leader--and was in prision for the next 20 years--the remainder of his life. No one truly knows the extent he suffered in prison. He wasn't allowed to write from prison. But word did come out through a guard that Watchman was sharing Christ even in prison. The guard himself had been saved through Watchman's evangelism.
The thing that struck me as I read this book is that within one generation, all work can be lost. I've been to many of the cities or areas where Watchman established his work...and you'd never know he'd been there. ONE GENERATION! That wasn't Watchman's fault. He was faithful with what God had given him to do. But the thought came to me: Am I doing all that I need to do to be sure the message is passed to the next generation? Am I being faithful? Will the next generation know about Jesus? Will the work continue even if there's persecution? What if our government stops religious freedom? Will missionaries come 40 years later to find it non-existent? A lot can happen in one generation.