1901 - 1944
"Faith is watching God work while you are on your knees."
John Sung was born on September 27, 1901 in Hinghwa of the Fukien province in southeast China. He was the son of a respected Methodist minister and was converted as a young boy at the age of nine. In 1920 John Sung at age nineteen left for America to study at Wesleyan University of Ohio. He later went on to study at Ohio State University and Union Theological Seminary. Within five years and two months from the day he entered college, he earned three academic degrees, all while doing menial labor on a full time basis. However, these high honors did not come without taking a great toll on his spiritual life. After a few years in America, sitting under a steady diet of worldly philosophy and liberal theology, John Sung found himself backslidden and doubting everything that his father had taught him.
On February 10, 1927, John Sung recommitted his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. This was just the beginning of a much deeper work. After repenting of his sins, he immediately began to preach to all his classmates and professors. This drastic change in John Sung's behavior made some believe that he had become mentally unbalanced. He soon found himself being committed to an insane asylum by the seminary authorities. He was allowed to take with him only his Bible and a pen. He would later refer to that asylum as his true theological seminary. John Sung was incarcerated for 193 days. During that time he read the Bible from beginning to end forty times. He devoted almost every waking hour to reading the Bible and prayer. Through those months, the Holy Spirit was carefully laying the foundations for John Sung's revival ministry. He was being prepared to participate in one of the mightiest revivals of the twentieth century.
After finally being discharged, John boarded a ship for Shanghai. In spite of all the possible opportunities that his education could afford him, John Sung was determined to go home and preach to his countrymen. He realized that what China needed most was not more science teachers but preachers of the gospel. One day as the ship neared its destination, he gathered up all his diplomas, medals and fraternity keys and threw them overboard into the ocean. The only exception was his doctors diploma, which he kept only for the benefit of his father. After arriving back in China, John Sung was soon married and then later joined the Bethel Bible School of Shanghai. It wasn't long before he became the school's field evangelist. He allied himself with Andrew Gih and a few other graduates from the school to form the "Bethel Evangelistic Band." God used this apostolic team mightily to spread the fires of revival all over China as they went forth preaching and singing the gospel.
When John Sung was not actively preaching or organizing a new evangelistic team, he usually could be found writing in his diary or adding to his ever growing prayer list. Nothing was allowed to hinder his time in prayer. John Sung made it his regular habit to be up every morning at 5 a.m. to pray for two or three hours. "Prayer for John Sung was like a battle. He prayed until the sweat poured down his face." John Sung believed that prayer was the most important work of the believer. Mr. Boon Mark said of John Sung, "He talked least, preached more and prayed most."
John Sung was a true revival pioneer. He lead multiplied thousands of Chinese and Southeast Asians into new realms of spiritual power and reality. The call of revival, is a call to be a pioneer!
http://www.watchword.org/smithers/ww51a.html, photo from http://www.methodistmessage.com/aug2005>