In 1920, the city of Nimbo, in the province of Chekiang, Dong Yu Lan was born, the one who later would be a preacher of the gospel in South America. He became a businessman at early age. This gave him experience in a wide range of areas like entrepreneurship, business vision, administration, which later was used by God. We can see similar experiences in the life of Moses and Isaiah (Exo 3-4, Isa 6:5-8). He recently told a group of his co-workers that from young age, he worked hard in the secular field, to be perfected in order to serve the Lord in the church. Today he does that with all dedication to, in the future, be even more useful to God in the manifestation of His kingdom. In his messages, Dong Yu Lan always emphasizes that the Lord Jesus, when He was on earth, did not put his disciples in a classroom to teach them, instruct them or give them rules to follow. Instead, while he used to walk with them he would take opportunity on everyday events to perfect them (Luke 8: 1-3; Acts 1: 21-22).
A servant of Christ in favor of the expansion of the kingdom of God and the growth in life of His children
Dong Yu Lan’s grandfather was very rich, and his father as single heir, received all. However, he had problems in managing it, and eventually lost everything. For this reason, Dong Yu Lan, still quite young, although he was the youngest among his brothers, had to work hard to help support the family. He would even walk long distances to save money of the bus to give his mother. He had a great sense of responsibility. At the age of 17 he had to lead five truckloads of iron from Shanghai to Indochina, through Burma and other countries to sell the material in that region. On the journey, three of the trucks broke and had to be left behind. He took the other two trucks to the destination, detached one of them and returned with the parts to repair the other three. Going through these and many other trials, he became more mature and learned how to handle complicated situations, paving his way to become a successful entrepreneur. Later he raised a family and, in 1955, had a genuine experience of conversion to God.
One day, his older brother took him to a church meeting so he could hear the gospel. When the meeting was over, one of the brothers told him: “Mr. Dong, did you know that all men have sinned and that we are all sinners?” To this he answered, “What? Me, a sinner? I have never done anything wrong!”. At that time, Dong Yu Lan considered himself a righteous and perfect person who turned away from evil, just like Job (Job 1:1), and said further, “You all are sinners, not me!”, and went away. Later on he was enlightened by the Lord and recognized his real condition; he repented and was saved and baptized. After this his situation changed. When he lit a cigarette, as he smoked, he felt a terrible flavor. He also lost appetite for drinking or gambling. Little by little, the divine life that he had received was growing in him, leading him to have a consecrated life to God.
Due to the great responsibility that he would have towards God’s interest, quickly he became an elder of the small church in the town of Mei Tin, which later was incorporated in the city of Taipei. As there was urgent need for the vision of the unity of the Body of Christ to be propagated throughout the earth, in 1958, the brethren that shared this vision and practice were encouraged to immigrate to the West in order to spread this important revelation that they had received by the Spirit. Since he was called, he was followed along and supported in prayer by his wife Ester, who encourage him to serve the Lord, although he had to take long trips, she took care of domestic responsibilities.During the time they lived together, they passed through many struggles and spiritual turmoil, typical of those who serve the Lord and lead His work with firmness and faithfulness. On February 9th, 2008 sister Ester went to be with the Lord.
Among those who responded to the call of the Lord to migrate was Dong Yu Lan, who readily responded God’s need with simplicity. Two years later, in 1960, he arrived at Brazil with his wife and five children (sometime later he had a daughter), to reside in the city of São Paulo.
In 1975, Dong Yu Lan received the burden from the Spirit to preach to the churches in Brazil and other countries in South America. He specially helped them to call upon the Lord and pray and read the Word in order to gain Life, live in the spirit and have fellowship with God. At that time, he was invited to preach to a group of young people in the city of Ribeirão Preto. There his main burden was to lead all of them to call upon the name of the Lord. From that time, the churches experienced a great spiritual renewal. As a fruit of this labor in the Lord, more than three thousand churches were raised in all South America. This was a proof that the burden that he received was from the Spirit.
Another striking feature of this servant of God is to help the churches to not only listen and enjoy the Word of God, but also practice it, apply it in their daily living and to spread it to others. In this way, by giving the due regard to the name and the Word of the Lord, churches that receive this help can enjoy now the reality of the church in Philadelphia, example of a normal church mentioned by the apostle John in the book of Revelation (3: 7-13) .
For 40 years, year after year, this servant of the Lord has ministered regional, national, and international conferences throughout South America and other continents when invited. His biggest burden is to help the children of God to prepare themselves and hasten the Lord’s return through the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom (2 Pe 3: 9, 12; Mt 24:14). His whole life and ministry are controlled by this vision. In many trips that he has done in different countries, he always says that “Christ is our life, the church is our Living; to promote the return of the Lord is our mission and reign with Him is our goal.” To fulfill this burden and meet God’s interests, he has helped the children of God to take the Word as food and not as mere knowledge.
In order to record and disseminate the precious revelations dispensed by the Spirit to this servant of God during the conferences he held, the Editora Arvore da Vida began to publish them in books. There are now over 100 titles produced and distributed on a large scale in Portuguese, Spanish, English, German, Italian, French and Korean. One of its publications, which has helped many children of God to walk and live in the spirit, is the “Daily Food,” a bimonthly journal that now has more than 40,000 subscribers.
The burden that burns in the heart of our Brother Dong, over the years, is to expand the sphere of God’s kingdom on earth. He does it cooperating with the establishment of the testimony of the unity of God’s children in every city. To expand the work of the Lord on earth, the Spirit, through Brother Dong, produced some effective tools like the Estancia Arvore da Vida – an extraordinary event space, with capacity for 10,000 people, where international conferences are held; Editora Arvore da Vida – publishing house of his own books; the Jornal Arvore da Vida – monthly publication which aims to supply the word to all the children of God having articles directed to adults, youth, couples, parents and children; Cooperatives of colporters – dissemination centres and distribution of books for colporters and churches, installed in different regions of Brazil; the CEAPE – perfecting centre for gospel propagation and Colporters – brothers and sisters who take spiritual food to the children of God through the written word. There is also the project Expolivro – bus-bookstore-library that traveled across America South, taking the word of God in a simple and practical way. In Brazil, these buses traveled all capitals and major cities.
Once after dinner with his co-workers, Dong Yu Lan took a napkin and wrote three pairs of Chinese characters, meaning vision, propagation and innovation. Who accompanies him knows that in his ministry he is never held in what is traditional, conventional; on the contrary, he always seeks light from the Lord to have new revelation of the Word. The characteristic of an innovator is very strong in his Christian path, precisely because he does not lean on the spiritual structure obtained with the many experiences and years of life with the Lord. By his words and actions, Dong Yu Lan shows always to be ahead of his time. The vision of the kingdom and the consequent commission to preach this gospel to all, leads him to seek an ever more intense fellowship with God. So, since 2009, a wonderful tool was revealed to him to facilitate and speed up contact with people through the printed word: the Bookafé, which means books that lead to Faith.
Dong Yu Lan also has another name given by his father at the beginning of his studies: Dong Mao Yi. It is very interesting that this last name pretty much describes his personality. “Mao” means splendid, grand, majestic. “Yi” means resolute, decisive, firm, persistent, persevering and resilient. The first character portrays his person, which has a different brightness, thinks big, is not mediocre, has a majestic air. The second character portrays well the characteristics of an entrepreneur, determined, resolute, does not hesitate when he is convinced of what God wants, even in the midst of adversity, he is persistent, persevering, that people sometimes confuse with mere stubbornness; he has what every successful entrepreneur must have, which is the resilience, that is, to support the difficulties till the point of exhausting all forces. These characteristics were very useful to God in His work.
Among the books of Dong Yu Lan, we highlight the following ones: Success and Failure of a Leader; No longer I, but Christ; Walking according to God’s will; The way to live and reign with Christ; A faithful and wise servant; The promise of the life and the reward of the Kingdom; Daniel – the destiny of human government; The vision of the Tabernacle; The greatest suffering of Jesus; Spiritual progress; The Lord’s return is near; God’s focus: the Kingdom; Our vision and commission and The peril of the good side of the soul. Published either by Jasper Life Publications or Bookafe Publications.