In 1949, George Roy and Elizabeth Wood, an American missionary couple serving in northwest China and Tibet, were forced to leave the area. A local leader named Pastor Mung took over the church of 200 people. The Woods returned to America and by 1985 both of them had passed away without ever knowing what had happened to the church they started.
In 1988 the Wood’s son George returned to China and met with Pastor Mung and his wife, who were now in their 80’s. For 28 years the Communist government had done their best to extinguish the church. Pastor Mung wasn’t allowed to preach and he spent nine of those years in prison for his faith. It was illegal to baptize or “indoctrinate” anyone under 18. When the government finally allowed Pastor Mung to reopen the church in 1983 there were only 30 (mostly older) people in attendance.
Assuming that the church was on its last leg, George Wood asked, “Pastor Mung, how many believers do you have today?” Pastor Mung’s wife brought them a cardboard roll held together by yarn. The first page was filled with writing – five columns: name, age, gender, address, occupation. There were around 20 names. George Wood continued turning over page after page with the names of the baptized. Finally, he asked the Mungs, “How many believers do you have now?” He said, “One thousand five hundred believers.” In disbelief George Wood asked, “How did this happen?”
Pastor Mung smiled as he shared his secret for church growth. It wasn’t a technique or a program. He simply said, “Oh! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. And we pray a lot!” Then he went on to describe what the Lord had done.
Pastor Mung died in 2006 at the age of 96. But when he passed, the number of baptized believers stood at over 15,000!