Ji Zhiwen, known in the West as Andrew Gih, was a gifted evangelist whose long ministry was divided almost equally between years in China and years among the Overseas Chinese churches. Ji Zhiwen was born in Shanghai in 1901 and was baptized in 1925 by Wang Zai (王载弟兄-Leland Wang). That same year he began his ministry as an evangelist by cofounding the Bethel Worldwide Evangelistic Band, an outgrowth of Shanghai’s Bethel Mission. His associates were Lin Jingkang (林景康-Frank Ling), and teenage musicians Li Daorong (李道荣-Philip Lee) and Nie Ziying (聂子英-Lincoln Nieh). In April 1931, Ji invited Dr. Song Shangjie (宋尚节博士-John Sung) to join the Band, and a fruitful 2 1/2 year collaboration followed. John Sung and Ji were speakers at the Shanghai Bible Conference in August, a gathering that attracted over 1,200 and saw every province in China but one represented. Their next trip was to China’s three northeastern provinces (Manchuria), even though this was in the midst of the Japanese invasion. Over 3,000 came to Christ in their four-month campaign, with marvelous responses in Shenyang and Harbin among Koreans and Russians as well as Chinese. They next traveled through south China on a six-month campaign, and during this time John Sung emerged as the primary speaker while Ji focused on prayer meetings and counseling. They returned to Shanghai for another summer Bible Conference, and in the fall, the Band held meetings in Beijing. Afterwards Ji took the other three members to Shanxi while Sung went to Tianjin and Zhengzhou. They joined together for another trip through north China in the first half of 1933, but after that summer’s Bible Conference, the team broke up. Ji and Sung had a falling out in Changsha, and like Paul and Barnabas, they were thereafter used mightily by the Lord in separate ministries.
At one time there were as many as ten Bethel Bands traveling, and in one four-year period they held 3,389 meetings in 133 cities and saw 51,659 people make initial decisions or re-affirmations of faith in Christ. During the years of war with Japan, Ji preached in Vietnam and traveled throughout southern and western China, working especially with students and children. In the chaos of post-war Shanghai, he founded an orphanage and school that would grow into the Evangelize China Fellowship. Ji moved the ministry to Hong Kong in 1949, and in the next decade the ECF expanded to Malaysia, Indonesia and Macau with orphanages, schools, seminaries and churches. Ji moved to the United States and retired there in 1978. He continued to write and speak in his retirement years, and finally this faithful servant went to be with the Lord in 1985, leaving Dorcas, his wife of 57 years.
Praise the Lord for choosing me from the meek and lowly of the world and for giving me a ministry of reconciliation. Since I have been entrusted with this ministry of reconciliation, woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel. Although I am nothing, I give myself to the Lord and ask Him to use me for His good will.
Shifeng Zhu [Serving the Lord for Fifty Years] (in Chinese). Ji Zhiwen. (Sheng Dao Chubanshe, 1975), p. 120.