23
MAY
2014

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”: Chan Sui

Chan Sui: “I’d rather have Jesus”

 

Chan Sui in Chinese Outfit (left) and in Western Outfit (right) Taken from the Methodist Recorder, Victoria, B. C., December, 1900 圖照:中式服裝的陳水(左)與西式服裝的陳水(右) 攝於一九零零年Chan Sui in Chinese Outfit (left) and in Western Outfit (right)
Taken from the Methodist Recorder, Victoria, B. C., December, 1900
圖照:中式服裝的陳水(左)與西式服裝的陳水(右)
攝於一九零零年

The life of Chan Sui, almost an unknown figure in Chinese Canadian history, tells the story of transformation through his encounter with Christianity. While many Chinese people were attracted to Christian missionary services for benefits they could receive (such as English language training, upward mobility, financial help, etc.), Chan was a true disciple of Jesus who was ready to pay the price for living out his Christian convictions.

Chan Sui was born in a village near Canton, China, to a farming family. His parents were devout Buddhists. When Chan was sixteen years old, he came to Victoria, British Columbia and secured a job as a household servant. Eager to learn the English language, he attended the Night School for Chinese ran by the Methodist Mission. At first, he had no interest in religion but was soon attracted to the preaching of Rev. John E. Gardiner, a pioneer missionary working with Chinese people in B.C. Chan made the decision to become a Christian and committed himself to lead his fellow countrymen to Christ.

After working as a household servant for a while, Chan wanted to start his own business. He partnered with a Chinese Christian friend in the Chinese grocery business. Because of his desire to keep the Sabbath holy, their store did not open on Sundays. As a result, their business was boycotted by the Chinese community because Sunday was the day for the Chinese from the rural districts to come into the city for trading. Other Chinese merchant friends advised him, “Either give up your business or give up your religion.” Chan was put under much pressure and he prayed for God’s guidance. He finally gave up his grocery business and switched to a laundry business. Despite many obstacles, he succeeded in his laundry business and was able to save money for future educational opportunities. He felt compelled to preach the Gospel and returned to Canton to attend the Wesleyan College there to prepare himself for the work of the Gospel.

The life of Chan Sui is best summarized by the lyrics of a favourite Christian hymn, “I’d Rather have Jesus.”

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today. (Refrain)

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name.
(Public Domain)

Reference:

Doddridge, D. D. “Chan Sui or Our Chinese Christians and the Sabbath.” Methodist Recorder, Victoria, B. C., December 1900. Pp. 4-5.


陳水:「我寧願有耶穌」[中譯文]

陳水(譯名)這個人在加拿大華人歷史中鮮為人知,他的一生見證了因接受基督教以至生命得改變的事蹟。當許多華人因只想得到基督教各類宣教服務所帶來的好處(如學會英語、透過教會提升個人在社會中的地位、得到經濟援助等等)而成為基督徒,陳水卻是一個真誠的門徒,願意付代價來活出他的基督教信仰。

陳水出生於中國廣州市附近的一個鄉村農家。父母是虔誠的佛教徒。他十六歲時來到卑詩省域多利市當家僕。因渴望能學會英語,他到循道會的華人夜校上課。起先他對宗教毫無興趣,但不久他被John E. Gardiner牧師(一位向卑詩省內華人傳福音的先鋒)的講道所吸引,於是決志信耶穌成為基督徒,並且誓言要領他的同胞歸向基督。

陳當家僕做了一段日子後,他想開始自己的事業。他與一位華裔基督徒朋友合夥開辦了一間華人雜貨店。因他堅守主日為聖日,雜貨店於每星期日休息。結果華人社區抵制他們的生意,因為星期日是市郊地區華人到市區進行買賣交易的日子。其他華裔的生意朋友都勸告他說:「你只能在你的生意和信仰中選擇其一。」陳在極大的壓力下,祈求神的指引。結果他結束了他的雜貨生意,轉行開洗衣店。雖遇不少障礙,他的洗衣生意做得很成功,使他能為將來接受的教育機會積蓄金錢。他心裡感到要傳福音的催逼,就回到廣州衛理學院進修,裝備自己投身福音事工。

「我寧願有耶穌」這首詩歌最能表達陳水的人生:

我寧願有耶穌,勝得金銀,我寧屬耶穌,勝得財富無邊;
我寧願有耶穌,勝得華宇,願主釘痕手,引導我前途。

勝過做君王,雖統治萬方,卻仍受罪惡捆綁;
我寧願有耶穌,勝得世界榮華,富貴,聲望。(副歌)

我寧願有耶穌,勝得稱頌,我寧忠於主,成全祂的事工;
我寧願有耶穌,勝得名聲,願向主聖名永赤膽忠誠。

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