A Saintly Old Soul

By Ruth Bell Graham   •   September 6, 2007

I can still see her sitting on a low stool in the upstairs back bedroom, her paper hand-bound Chinese hymnal open in her hands, singing in her plain, flatly nasal voice the Chinese words to William Cowper’s famous old hymn:

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.

And to my innocent child’s mind, she was the picture of a saintly old soul at worship. Not until years later, when we were considered “old enough to be told about such things,” did we learn how perfectly Cowper’s old hymn fit her. For when much younger, Wang Nai Nai and her husband had been “procurers.” That was a time when baby girls generally were not wanted, so the shady business of buying them to sell to certain houses in Shanghai was not difficult.

But one day, Aunt Sophie Graham*, one of the pioneer Presbyterian missionaries, told Wang Nai Nai about a God who loved her but hated sin. To become a child of God one must repent of sin and ask God for forgiveness through His Son, Jesus. It was as blunt and simple as that.

Wang Nai Nai repented and turned to God.

Mother and Daddy told how when she first came to work for them, she longed to be able to read her Chinese Bible for herself. They found her flat on the floor one night, close to the fireplace with her Bible open, trying to learn the characters by the light of the dying fire. We had no electricity then, so they bought her a lamp of her own, and she taught herself to read the Bible.

Of such material God makes some of His choicest saints.

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