The Eye of the Beholder

J. is probably a foot shorter than I am (I love this country!). And he has come to our Bible studies and our leadership meetings faithfully since he got back from his hometown this summer. He’s funny – he talks during everything, but mostly to himself. He smiles a lot – seems like the happiest mug in the world. He’s the one that told us there’s a bunch of students at his school that would really like to have a Bible study. And Thursday he proved it. About forty-five minutes before our study was scheduled to begin, we get a call from J. Every week we get a phone call like this – a half Chinese/half English message shouted above the clamor of a crowded bus. This week it was J. wanting to know if he could bring ten friends from his school.

I was so proud earlier that day because St. and I had gone out and bought five folding chairs to add to our seating in my living room. Man, you’d think I’d never read about prophets, vessels, and oil! One of those ten students made a profession of faith that night! Maybe someday I’ll learn to have more faith!

There’s a lot of people painting a lot of different pictures of God’s kingdom in China today. Some portray it as dark and dangerous, as risky of an endeavor as a Christian could ever find himself in. Some depict a surging revival, a job nearing completion, holding few, if any, places for foreign workers. But after living here for a little while, I could never dream of painting this as anything less than a labor-crisis for the church. Anything less than acres of crops rotting for lack of harvesters.

I was at a conference one time in America for college students interested in missions. There was a missionary going to China giving a lecture about, naturally, the need for trained laborers in China. Great job – stirred interest, created excitement, and generated good questions. One of those questions was offered by a college student who wanted to know, “As college students, what can we do to help in this ministry of training?” The answer?

“Nothing, really.” I wish I was joking. That’s not all I wish…

His prescription? Give money. Get a doctorate. Pray harder. All great things. But we desperately need people here on the front lines. I refuse to paint a picture that doesn’t reveal the out-of-control need for passionate laborers here to witness, organize, teach, train, disciple, lead, record, distribute, and RISK! Any takers?

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3 Comments on “The Eye of the Beholder”

  1. Ben August 31, 2007 at 8:10 pm #

    where do i sign up?

  2. april August 31, 2007 at 10:28 pm #


  3. tesser September 1, 2007 at 1:01 pm #

    Thanks for your faithfulness in sharing your experiences. I have some questions. I know you are working in a communist country, but do the people still pass down legends from their ancestors. If so, what are a few, and what do they involve? For example, do they speak about death, life, customs, etc? Do the people still follow them even in the midst of all the brainwashing they go through? Do they have any certain character qualities, good or bad, which others would respect? Joy, humility, cheating, treachery? Do they still have physical idols in their homes respecting false gods or their ancestors? How different is the language compared to English comparing the characters and structure? Does the language string a lot of vowels or consonants together? Do the people have a food that is served at every meal? Do they eat much meat? vegetables? fruit? desserts? Compared to a college graduate in America would the people you work with be more or less intelligent? What is the main hindrance which keeps them from making a decision for Christ? What persecutions do they face once they receive the Lord as their Savior? What do they think of Americans? Do they have a good knowledge of things that go one outside of their country? What type of freedoms do they have? Free speech? Voting? Representation in the government? Thanks for your time! God bless your work!

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