我五歲時 1955 年，父親在故鄉麻豆蓋了一棟新房子，這棟房子夾雜著台灣式、日本式，也有點西洋式；房子的四邊有圍牆及籬笆，牆門口掛了一個瓷器做的牌子，上面寫著「快園」二字；這棟房子的名字就叫「快園」。
「快園」的中間是大廳，大廳中間擺了一個櫃子，是我外公在「快園」落成時送我們的；櫃子 上半部是一個玻璃櫃，一打開有兩座神座，左邊一座寫著「李家總家神」，右邊一座寫著「南無觀釋音菩薩」；櫃子的下半部是一個書櫃，裡面放滿了我舅公遺留下 來的書；有日文和中文的，其中有政治、經濟、哲學以及佛學的書。所以，這座櫃子成為「快園」的精神堡壘。兩櫃之間有一個伸縮桌子，每逢節日就把桌子伸展出 來，做為擺放祭祖及拜神的供物之用。
1983年，我帶著內人及兩位小孩搬來美國，翌年我和內人及大兒子接受主，成為基督徒﹙ 詳情請見拙著《千山萬水覓真光》一書﹚；離開台灣時祖父已屆八九高齡。每次回台省親，看到生我養我的祖父母、父母一年比一年蒼老，看到母親由於照顧年屆高 齡的公婆，她的頭髮已一天比一天白；我每次都想把賜人生命的耶穌基督介紹給他們，但總是得不到適當的機會。
93年夏天，當兒子要上大學的前夕，我帶了他及女兒回台南十天。祖父已屆九十九高齡，尚 可起來走動，但已不能單獨到室外來了。兒子見到祖父後跑到樓上暗自流淚，我爸媽問他：「Simon 你的阿祖很高興你們回來，你怎麼反而哭呢﹖」「我知道阿祖很高興，我也很高興，但是我看他那麼老了還沒信耶穌，靈魂尚未得救，萬一去逝怎麼辦﹖」我家人聽 了很受感動。「難道信耶穌這麼重要嗎﹖」這個問題引起我家人的思考。台南市天橋教會邀請我到馬可樓講道，因此我也順便請天橋的兄姊替我家人早日信主代禱。
在九四年聖誕節前夕，我們決定全家返台南探望年老的祖父母。返台前，曾淑珍姊妹在教會做 見證說：「我們要為尚未信主的家人禱告，上帝是聽禱告的上帝，只要我們不停的禱告，有一天上帝會用奇妙的方法帶領我們的家人信主；因為人光靠自己實在無法 帶領人，但是在人不能的上帝凡事都能。」她並以她家人信主的實例來證明。
去年聖誕節，我及內人和兩位小孩離開台灣十二年後，第一次全家一起返台與年老的祖父母團 聚。他們看到四年前因癌症開刀的內人已完全康復，又看到我兒子已長大成人，喜極而泣。適時，與我們在美國休士頓美南台福基督教會同工六年，於半年前返回台 中忠孝路教會牧養的王武聰牧師也帶著他女兒來我家與我小女兒相聚。王牧師一進門見我祖母就向她傳福音，並告訴她我們一家人在美國信主如何蒙主賜福，「人的 生命何短暫，但如能信耶穌即能得永生，人在世上有生離死別及各樣的苦難，但在耶穌裡面有真正的平安。」年老的祖母開始受感動，此時祖父在臥室醒來，我們就 上前為他禱告，之後我看到祖父露出平安的笑容，與先前那種焦慮、惶恐之情完全兩樣。
三天後，王武聰牧師邀我到台中主領聚會，會後王牧師告訴我，當他與祖母談道時有一個感 動：祖母會很快接受主，而我也有相同的感動，於是我們決定取消去台北的行程，隔日再回台南，並決定與我兒子同行。翌日起床將此事告知兒子，他馬上說他昨晚 做了一個夢，夢見他已回到美國向教會的青年做見證，說他的曾祖母已信耶穌；因為我們三人都有相同的感動，於是立刻動身，帶著福音的使命再返台南老家。我們 三人同心禱告，求上帝的靈與我們同在。
然後我兒子又在旁邊說明：「阿祖﹗阿公﹗阿嬤﹗您們知不知道我在美國讀大學，有的學生離 開父母後就在外面亂搞，父母都不知道。有的家長誤以為把小孩送來美國念書就萬事OK，其實非常錯誤；有的小孩甚至蒙著父母在外面吸毒、亂搞性關係，父母根 本不知道。但是我們在德州大學有一個華人基督徒的團契，我們基督徒的同學就不會這樣；我們經常在一起吟詩敬拜讚美主，聖靈與我們同在，我們心中有平安與喜 樂，我們每人都有永生。去年暑假我們團契當中有一位同學游泳時不慎溺斃，我們有兩百多個團契的同學去參加他的葬禮，雖然大家都很捨不得他離開我們，但是我 們沒有一人過度悲傷，因為我們都知道他現在在那裡；他已經被主接回天家了，我們有一天會再和他相見。」
我兒子的這一番話深深的打動祖母及父母的心。回到台南這幾天，我兒子看到我家菲律賓的女 傭與祖父母之間有語言上溝通的困難，他就細心的教他簡單的台語，把常用的字句用英文拼音寫起來，並錄在錄音機讓菲傭學習，因此祖父母受益良多，父母也很受 感動，他們親眼看到聖靈所結的果子。於是王牧師即時問祖母：「阿嬤﹗您願意像席舟一家人那樣信耶穌嗎﹖」
這時，台南天橋教會的林憲平牧師以及從東京回台養病的李約翰牧師也適時趕到。李牧師上個 月剛動過心臟大手術，手術前李牧師不但沒有一點恐懼，更為醫生及其他病人禱告，感動得醫生及幾位病人都信主，手術中上帝帶領他到天堂看到極美的世界並有讚 美吟詩的歌聲，然後又返回，現在他的身體已痊癒，並逢人就作見證歸榮耀給上帝，李牧師的見證更加強祖母的信心。
祖母剛信主時，弟妹以為祖母大概是因為我們剛從美國回來，為了讓我們高興隨便說說而已； 但祖父葬禮前幾天，我從美國回來，林憲平牧師告訴我他準備為我家除偶像並做家庭禮拜，但一定要事先取得祖母的同意。於是禱告後我把這事告訴祖母，她毫不猶 豫欣然同意；這時弟妹才知道祖母的信仰是千真萬確的。於是，林牧師及李約翰牧師帶領天橋多位兄姊來我家把以前在「快園」時就留下來供奉神明的櫃子用電鋸鋸 成碎片，並把幾個神牌除去，然後掛上十字架，上面寫著「基督是我家之主」。這個櫃子從我小時留傳至今，當天橋的兄姊一齊禱告、一齊吟詩讚美主；櫃子及神牌 被切成一片一片時，我的心深受感動，讓我憶起兒時「快園」的情景；雖然昔日「快園」笑聲不再，這個象徵我家傳統的神櫃也被破除，我家四代卻在上帝奇妙的帶 領下同時成為上帝的兒女，同時得享天國神家的「快園」。
今年1 月22 日下午是祖父的葬禮，當天早上祖母及爸爸、媽媽同時在天橋教會受洗，我在教會做見證感謝上帝奇妙的帶領及兄姊們的代禱；下午的告別禮拜有如向我們親友特別設立的佈道會，令人印象深刻而感人。
大妹本來追求佛教，有時也研讀佛經，我尚未向她傳過福音，只是常為她禱告。今年五月我到 德國參加商展，她也來德國與我會合，見面時我很驚奇她竟然帶了一本聖經解經書在看，並告訴我她剛接受主，我很好奇問她是如何接受的﹖原來上帝竟然感動她以 前大學的一位老師，每天來辦公室陪她讀十五分鐘聖經，幾個月來上帝的話語打動她的心，於是接受主。
今逢美南台福基督教會十週年紀念，我數算上帝的恩典，除了恩典外還是恩典，上帝奇妙的雙 手，領我家人一個一個信主，使我家人雖然離開兒時的「快園」卻一個一個走進主的「快園」。兒子今暑修完大學二年的課程，即整裝返回台南與我祖母及父母相 處，不但可更深入分享他的信仰給家人，又可在天橋教會事奉並教英語會話，而且使他更有機會了解台灣社會的種種。 但願他接觸到的骨肉之親都能與我們共享住在「快園」的喜樂；雖然昔日「快園」花草已謝，人物非舊，但是主耶穌基督的愛確活在我們的心中永遠常存。
“Happy Garden “ Written By Robert Lee
Paul Line and Rebecca Wang
Childhood in the Happy Garden
When I was 5 years old (1955), my father had a house built. This house is a construction mix of Taiwanese, Japanese and western styles. A walled fence surrounded the property. At the front gate, there was a porcelain sign. On it, the house was given a name “Happy Garden”.
In the Happy Garden, there was a beautiful flower garden in the front. Many kinds of plants, fruit trees and a cluster of green bamboo plants were in it. Quite often my grandma (Tsai-Jim) and I went looking for fresh green bamboo shoots. There was also a patch of tropical ferns covering parts of the garden. Next to the fern patch, there stood a small man-made mountain looked like the shape of Taiwan. I was raised in this Happy Garden.
In the middle of the house, there was a large living room with a chest in it. The chest was a house warming gift from my grandfather on my mother’s side. The top half was covered with glass and it housed 2 gods. The left one was the god of the Lee family and the right side a goddess, Pu-Sha. The bottom of the chest was a book case that was filled with my granduncle’s Japanese and Chinese documents and books including articles of politics, economy, philosophy and articles of Buddhism. So it became our spiritual safety deposit box. In the middle of those 2 half compartments, there was a retractable table top for offerings to gods and goddesses.
Since I was young, I did not come in terms with those gods and goddesses. My grandma took me with her to worship them. She was a devoted person and even did her morning ritual by eating non-meat breakfast.
Became a Christian in America and ……..
In 1983 I brought my wife and 2 children to America. We became Christians the year after (See web site). When we left Taiwan, my grandfather was 89 years old. I went home to visit them yearly. I realized that my grandparents and parents were aging fast year after year. My mother had been taking care of my aging grandparents all those days. Her grey hair also showed signs of aging. I wanted to bring Jesus to them, but the timing was not quite right.
Before my boy was about to enter college, I took my boy and daughter to Tainan, Taiwan for a 10 day visit in the summer, 1993. My grandfather was 99 years old then. He could walk around the house, but could not go outside by himself. My boy went upstairs and began to sob. My parents asked “Why are you crying, Simon? Your great grandfather is so happy to see you.” “I know he is very happy to see me. I am also very happy to see him. He is an aging great grandfather. He is not yet saves. What if he dies?” said Simon. So, every one was very touched. My family started to think, “Why is it so important to believe in Christ?” During that trip the Tien-Chiao Church in Tainan invited me to preach in the Marco building. I requested that brothers and sisters in the Church to pray for my family.
God Listens to Prayers
I went back to visit my grandparents in Tainan again Christmas eve, 1994. Before I left, Sister Shu-Jen Tseng gave a testimony in the Church. She said ”We must pray for non-believers in our families. Our God listens to our prayers. We need to pray continually. He will bring them to Him miraculously. We are weak and unable to do it. But, nothing is impossible with God.” Her testimony was how her family turned to God and it really touched me. Since then I prayed even harder for my family.
I took my whole family back to Taiwan for a visit in Christmas, 1995. The trip was 12 years after we left Taiwan and the first time my family was able to travel together to visit my grandparents. They were over-joyed when they saw my wife, Lily and 2 children. My wife had recovered from her cancer treatment 4 years prior. Up to that time I have co-worked with fellow brothers and sisters for 6 years at EFC. We also met up with Pastor Peter Wang(Wang Wu-Tsung) who left Houston 6 months before our visit. He started his ministry in Chung-Hsiau Rd. Church in Taichung. Pastor Wang brought her daughter along to meet my daughter. As soon as he arrived, he evangelized to my grandmother. He told her how my family was blessed in Houston. He said, “Life on earth is short. We will have eternal life if we believe in Jesus. We will face deaths, hardships and tribulations. But, we will have peace in Jesus.” My grandma listened. At that time my grandpa woke up. We walked to him and prayed for him. Afterwards, we saw his smile and no longer in a worrisome and sad mood.
To Evangelize Together
Three days later, Pastor Wang invited me to Taichung for a fellowship gathering. After the meeting, he shared with me that my grandma would soon believe in Christ. I also had a similar feeling. We then decided to cancel our trip to Taipei and returned back to Tainan with my boy the next day. I told my boy about our journey the next morning. He told me that he had a dream the night before. He dreamed that his great grandmother became a believer in Jesus. All three of us had a very similar message from the Lord. We left for Tainan immediately with Gospel of Peace. We prayed together and asked our Lord to accompany us all the way. As soon as we arrived, grandma and my parents were waiting for us in the living room.
Pastor Wang greeted them and said to my grandmother “You are very blessed. Both you and grandfather have had long life. All your children are very obedient.”
“Yes. I am very blessed. Children are very obedient, especially my daughter-in-law. The last 10 years went by like a day. My daughter-in-law took care of me in those years after my stroke without any complaint.” said my grandma.
Pastor Wang then said “Grandma, you are blessed. But we all will leave this place one day. Grandma, you are devoted to your gods and even does your breakfast ritual. Do you know where you will be going?”
Grandma replied “I don’t know.”
Pastor Wang asked “If someone blindfolds you and takes you on a plane, will you be scared?”
Grandma replied “Of course.”
Pastor asked, “If someone has a passport and visa ready for you and accompanies you on a plane to America, and another will be waiting for you at the airport, will you go and not be afraid?”
Grandma replied “Of course not.”
Pastor Wang said “Our life is like taking a plane. If we believe in Christ, we will have our destination and goal. Believers will have eternal life. You will then know where you are coming and going.” He then told her and my parents how Jesus came to the earth and was nailed on the cross for our sins.
My son, Simon standing next to me told them “Great grandma and grandparents, in my American college many students went wild at school. Their parents did not know and thought their children would be OK at school. That was a big mistake. Many kids took drugs, committed sexual immorality, and did other bad stuff. Parents did not know any thing about what their kids did. But we have a Christian fellowship at UT. We are different than they. We praise and worship our God and Holy Spirit is with us. We have peace and happiness. We all have eternal life. A friend in our group drowned while he was swimming. More than 200 people went to his funeral. Although we were sad and missed him dearly, we knew where he went. He is at home with God. We will meet him again one day very soon.”
Ah-Ma believes in the Lord
The words of my son really touched my grandma and my parents’ hearts. Also, during his short stay in Tainan, when my son saw how difficult it was for my grandparents to communicate with their Pilipino housemaid, he spent time teaching her some common used Taiwanese, recorded them in the recorder, so she would become fluent in Taiwanese. His endeavor brought much benefit to my grandparents and had a positive impact on my parents. They witnessed the fruit of the Holy Spirit personally. Thus, Pastor Wang asked grandma immediately, “Ah-Ma, do you want to believe in Jesus like
Hsi-Chou’s (my Taiwanese Name) family?”
“I’m willing to accept Him, but I don’t know how?” Grandma replied.
“This is simple. If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that “Jesus is
the Lord”, you’ll become His children.” Pastor Wang answered.
So Pastor Wang asked grandma to pray with him upon her conversion to Christianity. My parents stood nearby also recommitted their lives to Christ. When my parents saw their own parents trusted in the Lord, they wanted to put their faith in the Lord again, because
they had never attended a church since their conversion two years ago in America.
Pastor Lin Hsian-Ping of Tien-Chiao Church in Tainan and Pastor John Lee from Tokyo
also arrived at this moment. Pastor Lee had just gotten out of his heart surgery last month. Before his complicated heart surgery, not only didn’t he display fear, but he also prayed for his doctor and other patients. The effects of his loving actions brought the doctor and several patients to the saving grace of the Lord. During his surgery, God took him on a nice trip to heaven; he saw everything was beautiful and wonderful and he also heard voices of singing praises. But he had to leave. So after his full recovery, he grabbed every opportunity to bring glory to God by telling his testimony. Pastor Lee’s testimony really strengthened grandma’s faith.
We then returned to America after two days. Before our departure for America, we prayed together that the Holy Spirit would dwell in my family. My grandparents appeared to be well at ease. But upon our returning to America, my grandpa’s illness deteriorated and after two days, he passed away at the age of 101.
Grandpa was very peaceful before his passing. The pastor, brothers and sisters of Tien-Chiao church also prayed for him. Although I’m not sure if my grandpa had accepted the Lord before he passed away, my non-believing brother Jim Lee (Lee Hsiao-Fong) unexpectedly saw Jesus welcomed grandpa in his dream.
Christ is the head of my house
After my grandma became a Christian, my sister-in-law didn’t think her conversion was for real. She thought it’s her way of winning our favor since we had just returned from
America. But a couple of days before my grandpa’s memorial service and upon my
arrival from America, Pastor Xian-Ping Lin advised me to get permission from my grandma, because he was ready to have the idols removed and to have a family worship service held in my house. After much prayer, I approached my grandma and she concurred without any hesitation. My sister-in-law then realized my grandma’s faith was absolutely true. As a result, Pastor Lin and Pastor John Lee along with several brothers and sisters from Tien-Chiao Church came to my house. They got rid of some memorial tablets and with an electric chain saw they cut down the deity chest from the “Happy Garden” into pieces. Next, they put up a cross with these words” Christ is the head of my house” on it. This chest had been kept until now since I was a child. I was really
moved seeing these brothers and sisters prayed together, sang praises together and demolished the objects together. It brought back my childhood memory at the “Happy Garden”. Although laughter in old times had gone from the “Happy Garden”, it symbolizes the abolition of the deity chest. Four generations of my house have wonderfully become God’s children and have delighted in the heavenly “Happy Garden” simultaneously.
My grandpa’s memorial service was held in the afternoon of January 22nd, 1995. On that morning, my grandma and my parents were also baptized in the Tien-Chiao Church. I then gave a thanksgiving testimony and thanked the brothers and sisters for their prayers.
My grandpa’s memorial service in the afternoon was like an evangelistic meeting planned especially for our relatives. It was impressive and soul stirring.
First-younger sister believes in the Lord
My first- younger sister was in pursuit of Buddhism, she also studied Buddhist texts. I had not yet told her the Gospel, but I prayed for her often. In May this year, she and I met at a business show in Germany. I was surprised to see her reading a Bible reference book and I was eager to find out how she accepted Jesus. She told me that her conversion to Christianity was through her 15 minutes of daily Bible reading with her former university teacher. God was at work during those months of reading the Bible. She couldn’t help but to surrender to Jesus’ Lordship.
Today I count God’s many-fold blessings on the 10th Anniversary of the Evangelical Formosan Church of Houston. It’s by the wonderful hand of God that my family came to know the Lord one after another. My family left behind the childhood
“Happy Garden” and is now heading for the Lord’s “Happy Garden”.
This summer, my son went back to Tainan to spend time with my grandma and my parents after completing his two- year college coursework. The trip had given him a taste of many aspects of Taiwanese culture. Of course, he was also able to share
his Christian faith with relatives and serve in the “Tien-Chiao” Church and teach English as well.
May the relatives and friends my son encounter enjoy the joy of living in the Lord’s “Happy Garden”. Although the grass withers, flowers fall and people change,
the love of Jesus Christ stays in our hearts forever and ever.
P.S. This article was written in September, 1995 to commemorate the 10th Anniversary
of the Evangelical Formosan Church of Houston
P.S. This article was written by Robert Lee in Chinese, on March 25, 2009 Brother Paul Lin and Sister Rebecca Wang translate in English.