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Long Overdue Trip Report On China

August 30, 2009 2 comments

Below is an excerpt from the newsletter I sent out in June.  Sorry it has been so long in coming!  Some of the info below has been changed or removed to protect our brothers and sisters!

Niˇ Haˇo!  Hello!

We have wrapped up our time in Shanghai and we leave with joyful hearts.  Before we say anything else, Tim and Chris wondered after the first day or so (albeit for a millisecond), what in the world are we doing here?  Why has God brought us to a place where it seems for the most part, the body of Christ is just working…without the trappings of the West?  Why would they need us?

We arrived on separate days and Tim started teaching pretty much right away.  Chris came in a day later and was whisked from the airport right to the place where Tim was teaching.  It quickly became apparent as we approached the area that our host did not want us gringo’s to be seen much.  He walked into a charged room!  Tim was teaching, the students were interacting and within 5 minutes of being there, Chris broke a chair and came crashing to the floor!  Needless to say, that “broke” the ice for him very quickly!  In all seriousness, we  learned in a short amount of time we were working with some very bright twenty-somethings.  God is doing something powerful here with the young people.  We were constantly amazed at their rapid fire responses to biblical questions and their ability to work within scriptural context – something we do not often see with the older groups.  They love the Lord and despite the ever present tension and extreme carefulness in how they go about things, they do not hold back their desire to follow God.  During our break time at lunch, we were sequestered in a small room for a couple hours while the students ate their lunch or studied.

It struck home knowing that these believers really are persecuted for their faith.  Our hosts have put a GREAT deal on the line for the work that they do day in and day out for these students.  But you see the results and you see God’s protection and grace.  We realized why we were there.  Not only was it to strengthen and encourage these young people, but – as unselfish as I can put it – we were blessed and encouraged ourselves beyond what we could have imagined!

While this was an exploratory trip for us, it did not return void.  It has opened doors for us in the future and has given us a vision of who might be most reachable.  We may not have this same group of students to follow up with, but we know that God is at work here in a huge way and will direct us where we should go.

Pray that through our connection, many more doors will be opened throughout China.  Pray that we can reach a few strong, young believers who can then take the gospel to places we never could and reach thousands more as a results.  Remember, there are 140 million+ believers in China and that number is climbing!

Both Tim and Chris were able to preach on Sunday morning at different places.  Tim in a home church with the younger students, Chris travelled towards downtown and ended up in a one room place that appeared to be used as a workshop, but I’m not sure. Most were migrant workers in their mid to late 30’s.  What a powerful time we both had – kneeling next to other believers who were crying out to God with their tears falling to the dusty ground…we had never experienced anything like this.  Spending time with believers who truly know the cost of following Christ, it certainly makes the American church look so weak.  We take so much for granted, wallowing in our traditions and denominations.

Later on, we were able to visit a brother who is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease.  It was special being able to encourage he and his wife, but what a difficult place to be.  It especially touched Tim as his father died of the same disease.

Probably one of the more touching times was the baptism we attended.  We drove in the evening out to an area that housed some of the students.  They took what looked like a tall kiddie pool and put it in the bathroom, then about 20 of us crammed into the hallway/bathroom area trying to see the baptisms.  We had to take turns watching, but what a powerful time to witness these young people going into the waters.

Shen zhu fu ni!

Chinese for “God Bless You”

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