Brother Minoru’s Tribute to Brother James Churng
James Churng, my beloved brother, was a kindred spirit, a trusted help, and a faithful comrade. A fellow walker in truth and partaker of the divine life for God’s eternal building. What a joy and honor and privilege it is to have served with a member of the Body and a co-worker with God like him!
I have known James for over 35 years since the inception of the Chinese-speaking work in North America. Although he eventually distinguished himself in the all-important literature work in the ministry office, his heart was always preoccupied with the welfare of the saints and of the churches here and there in the Lord’s recovery. As a laboring priest, he was in equal parts a scribe and a shepherd. He was a warrior besides, when the demand for such arose during times of turmoil and rebellion.
A person of few words, and one who loathed display and shunned acclaim, James spent most of his serving life laboring behind the scenes. The Chinese-speaking saints in both the West and the East owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his decades of labor to translate the ministry into Chinese. He was directly mentored by Brother Lee in the preeminent work of the New Testament Recovery Version. To this day, most are not aware of his enduring commitment to the Lord’s move in China.
As I gazed at his face for one last time the morning after he had departed, the thought overwhelmed me of a God-man who pursued Christ as reality in resurrection, who was constituted with these splendid characteristics: consecrated, single, clean, absolute, earnest, frank, loyal, diligent, assiduous, unambitious, unpretentious, uncompromising, and unwavering. Shall we not say that, though imperfect like the rest of us, he was a person found in Christ imbued with His human virtues?
James and my relationship never lapsed into the natural realm. Our bond was forged in service. Our common interest was the Lord’s. Our single obligation was towards the ministry and the churches, and our shared burden was the growth of the saints and the spread of the Lord’s testimony on earth. Our one calling was to live out and work out the New Jerusalem.
A year ago I penned a little hymn entitled “Write Thou on Me, dear Lord, Thy Name,” based on a few scriptures in the book of Revelation. In less than a week, James turned around and prepared a most elegant and faithful translation in Chinese. I wish to dedicate this hymn to his honor. It may be apt, on this occasion, for me to suggest those treasured names of God and the Lamb and of the Holy City, and “My new name,” are now inscribed on our brother. God is surely his and He is truly God’s.
Dear Sister Ruth, Michael, and Sarah, where human words of consolation fail, Jehovah reassures us with His tender promise in the book of Psalms, “A Father to the orphans and a judge for the widows is God in His holy habitation.” In the coming days, may the Lord Himself continue to guard and grace you, cherish and help you, and meet your every need as only He can. The Lord took your husband and father in His goodness. He has now rested from his earthly sojourn, but we shall soon join him with Christ above!
Glory to the Triune God and peace be with us all.