During the past year probably many at home have heard of the wonderful revivals that have taken place in various parts of China. We here also have been reading with intense interest the accounts of those meetings and have wondered when such a similar wave of blessing would reach us. For mouths it has been in our prayers, and when we were gathered at our conference at Miencheo last November we heard that there was a possibility that one of the missionaries who had taken part in those revivals last year would be able to visit us and conduct a series of meetings. By January it was finally arranged that Mr. A. Lutley and Mr. Wang, a Chinese evangelist, should come down from Shansi; first hold a week’s mission in Pao-ning, then Miencheo, then here at Mienchuhsien and so on to the capital and other centres in Ssuchuan, making a tour of four or five mouths.
We began our preparations by sending letters of invitation to all Christians who could possibly come to this centre; a special early morning prayer meeting was held each day, and several men were sent over to Pao-ning to be present at the mission to be held there. This was a great help to us, for our evangelist, Wu Keh-chang, being one of them, got a great blessing and came back to help us prepare for our own special gatherings; he was so keen to get back that he walked the seven days’ journey in less than five days; he preached to the congregation here on the Sunday previous to the meetings and helped the people to understand what a revival meant; he told of what he had seen and of the confessions that he himself had made.
We enlarged our church so as to seat the large numbers that were expected; one side of the church was taken out and a temporary wing with a mat roof was erected; our premises are fairly wide, and so with some contriving we prepared accommodation enough for 300 visitors; six or seven men were specially employed to do the work, which would be considerable for so many people. This would permit our own servants to attend the meetings. The dispensary was closed for the time being and all other work was suspended and schools were closed.
Most of the people arrived on the 19th. Mr. Lutley and Mr. Wang also arrived on that day, and the first meeting took place the same night. The missionaries had come straight from the revival meetings at Miencheo two days away, and some of the people who had got a blessing there came here also. Several other missionaries came, Mr. Knipe, Mr. Howden, Mr. and Mrs. Seward and Mrs. Hamilton. In all 309 persons attended, and were boarded and lodged on our premises; others attended just for one day, and of course the local Christians came each day from their own homes.
We met in the attitude of expectation, and we were not disappointed; all were assembled quietly in the church at 6.30 on Sunday morning. Mr. Wang conducted the meetigg, and during prayer some women were very much broken down, and one, who was a helper, cried bitterly and sobbed out her confessions of sin; some men also were similarly affected. This outbreak of confession and fervent prayer at this early morning meeting solemnized the hearts of all. The Holy Spirit was at work in the hearts of numbers of these people convicting of sin. The messages given on Sunday and Monday were all bearing on this point, and the confessions of sin, accompanied by bitter crying and tears, which began at the ﬁrst meeting, went on at intervals right through to the end of the mission. Perhaps the most solemn seasons were those early morning meetings, when the silence was broken by fervent outbursts of prayer, not the usual kind of prayer for everybody, but it was the pouring out of broken confessions of many cries for mercy, cries for forgiveness and acknowledgments of unworthiness, coldness, pride, anger, backsliding, and neglect of prayer. At each service there were these long continued seasons of prayer; not one person praying at a time, but many in different parts of the church praying at once; then at times there were waves of prayer, for everyone was praying aloud: men, women and boys. These times of prayer were long continued, and simple choruses were now and again sung, such as “I do believe, I will believe that Jesus died for me;” many made their confessions of sin very distinctly, but some were accompanied by terrible grief and even shrieks; nothing but the Holy Spirit’s power could make these people thus confess their sins; it was terrible to hear of child murder, cheating, robbery, adultery, and impurity; more than one was for some time in great agony of soul before they could get the confession out, and one man, who seemed beside himself with grief, spoke of some sin which he dare not tell; he came and knelt across the platform, but nothing more came from him, but “our Miencheo church, I dare not tell.”—O. M.Jackson, The Chinese Recorder, May, 1910, pp. 370-372