My name is Uu Zhenying. My Christian friends call me Brother Yun.
One morning in autumn 1999, I awoke in the city of Bergen in western Norway. My heart was stirred and excitement bubbled up inside me. I had been speaking in churches throughout Scandinavia, testifying about the Chinese house churches and inviting Christians to join us as we evangelize all of China and the nations beyond. My hosts had asked me if I would like to visit the grave of Marie Monsen, a great Lutheran missionary to China who had been mightily used by God to revive the church in different parts of my nation from 1901 to 1932. Her ministry was especially effective in the southern part of Henan Province, where I come from.
Miss Monsen was small in stature, yet a giant in God's kingdom. The Chinese church was not only impacted by her words, but also deeply challenged by her sacrificial lifestyle. She was a fully committed, uncompromising follower of Jesus Christ, who showed us an example of how to suffer and endure for the Lord.
God used Marie Monsen in a powerful manner, so that many miracles, signs and wonders followed her ministry. She returned to Norway in 1932 to take care of her elderly
parents, and by then her work in China was complete. She never returned to China, but her legacy of uncompromising faith, unquenchable zeal and the necessity of changed hearts fully committed to the cause of Christ lives on in the Chinese church today.
Now I had the great privilege of visiting her grave in her homeland. I wondered if any other Chinese Christian had ever enjoyed the privilege I was about to enjoy. When she came to our part of China there were few Christians and the church was weak. Today there are millions of believers. On their behalf I planned to offer thanks to God for her life.
Our car pulled up at the graveyard, situated on the side of a hill in a narrow valley, with a river flowing through it. We walked around for a few minutes, hoping to see her name on
one of the several hundred tombstones. Not being able to locate Monsen's grave immediately, we strolled to the office for help. The administrator was not familiar with her name, so he looked in a book that lists the names of the dead who are buried there. After flicking through the pages he told us some news I found hard to believe, "Marie Monsen was indeed buried here in 1962. But her grave was left untended for many years, so today it is just an empty lot with no headstone."
In Chinese culture the memory of people who did great things is cherished for many generations to come, so I never imagined that such a thing could happen. The local believers explained that Marie Monsen was still held in high regard and that they had honoured her memory in different ways, such as by publishing her biography decades after she died. But to me her unmarked grave was an insult that had to be made right.
I was deeply grieved. With a heavy heart I sternly told the Norwegian Christians who were with me, "You must
honour this woman of God! I will give you two years to construct a new grave and headstone in memory of Marie Monsen. If you fail to do this, I will personally arrange for some Christian brothers to walk all the way from China to Norway to build one! Many brothers in China are skilled stonecutters because of their years in prison labour camps for the sake of the gospel. If you don't care enough, they will be more than willing to do it!"
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