Update #5: Devotional Time and In the Village
We met with 8 believers who our Christian friends are discipling. It is a diverse group composed of equal numbers of men and women. Ranging in age from one female college student to a 52 year old male high school teacher. Due to concerns about security, the Christian friends did not meet with us. Thankfully Tim was here as many of the group spoke little or no English.
We began with several of them and us praying out loud, we in English and they in Mandarin. Then we sang some hymns accompanied by the music played on one of their laptops. They had song sheets of the hymns in both English and Mandarin and we both sang in our respective languages. (God can understand both at the same time!) This group typically meets twice a week. Once on Sunday morning for worship and teaching, and on Tuesday nights for praise, prayer, and discussion.
Myself, Chris, and Pat shared a few verses which we read in both Mandarin and English. They asked a few questions which we all discussed. The high school teacher was burdened by the fact that he could not tell his students the good news about Jesus. It is against the law for him to do so. He knows they need the truth of the gospel.
A young man who is a recent graduate of the college told Sandy he feels very much alone and uncomfortable with others because they are not believers, and he craves the fellowship of this group of fellow believers.
When we finished our meeting, no one left. They stood up and continued fellowshipping together. It was a blessing for us to see believers eager to spend time together, to pray, to study and draw strength from one another. Again we were struck by our blessings in America which too many of us take for granted. We can meet with other believers anytime and anywhere we want without fear of government censorship or persecution. We have so many avenues open to us for growing in our faith, but fail to take advantage of them. We have churches on every corner and don’t go because we have something better to do, or the pastor preaches too long.
In the Village
Following our devotional time we left with our van driver to tour the villages. At our devotional time we discussed this would be an excellent opportunity to witness to the driver and also to see if he was honest and dependable for our teams to use on future trips. Tim sat up front so he could talk to the driver. When we made our first stop Tim told us the driver’s mother was a believer, but he was not. All during the day Tim poured into him and at the end of the day, Tim gave him a copy of the four spiritual laws.
The countryside is some of the most beautiful I have seen in China. Narrow roads wind thru the mountains following and crisscrossing rivers. Small groupings of houses, villages are only short distances apart. We stopped at a market town, which serves several nearby villages and it was market day. There are permanent stalls and there are vendors who come just for the day, selling their items from the sides of the road. There were lots of people but no other westerners. We drew lots of friendly stares. Many of the vendors were eager to talk with Tim and he asked a number of them if they knew Jesus. Most had never heard the name.
I was very impressed with our driver. He seemed very friendly and had several ideas of places to take us and would stop along the road where he knew there was a scenic spot for us to take pictures. At one of the villages we were walking through, he moved aside to a house where an elderly man was working with some bamboo. He gestured for us to come up and Tim went up first and began talking to the man. Then the driver went up to the door of the house, inside was the man’s wife working with some beans she harvested to sell. Soon all of us were sitting in the woman’s small house and Tim began to talk to her about Jesus. During the 30 minutes or more we sat with her we showed her the animated plan of salvation in Mandarin that Jonah had given us before we left. This 3 minute video is loaded on our cell phone and presents the plan of salvation using an animated drawing and voice over narration in Mandarin the principal language of the Chinese people. Only God knows for certain whether this woman became a believer yesterday, but I know she is very close.
Towards the end of our touring, Chris remarked “we need about a hundred of Tim”. I believe there is much truth in this statement.
-Thank the Lord for believers like Tim, for our opportunity to work with him, and pray that the Lord would raise up hundreds more like him.
-The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, pray to the Lord of the harvest that he send workers into the fields.