Can I Be Honest?

Man, so much to write about lately, and so little time to do so! We had an… interesting leaders meeting tonight. We had seven students here with us that have made professions of faith already, and I meant to have a topical study tonight about the Word of God and our relationship with it. But I started to give an update on our search for a new building. And our two party member friends came up with the idea that we could meet in a classroom at their school. I made a quick decision that it was time to have a little orientation meeting. I hope I made the right one. We’ll see…

So I told them that we had some big dreams for what God could do here in Harbin. I told them that we’d love to see Bible studies meeting all over the city. They all nod, they all think it’s great. And then I rocked the boat… I’m sorry, did I say ‘rock’ the boat? I meant ‘detonate a bomb on’ the boat! I told them that our Bible study is illegal. I’ve been so amazed at the variety of reactions this news creates.

There are smiles. There are looks of confusion. There are looks of doubt. There are head shakes. There are immediate denials. There are quick references to the nearest Chinese people, sometimes hushed Chinese arguments ensue. There are reflexive defenses of their national government. They want to know why. They want to know if I’m sure. They often immediately bring up the Three Self Church and want to know what it’s all about. We had all of the above tonight.

Bottom line: the average joker doesn’t have a clue that something like this is against the law. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I tell them that I understand the purpose of a law like this, and that it’s made to protect the people from cults, etc. One of our party member friends seemed especially upset about this truth. One of the other guys started to say something bad about the government and this guy raised his voice a couple decibels and told him to be quiet, as he wasn’t interested in hearing about it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get worried about that. There’s really no easy way to tell a patriot, “Hey, you know how some countries have freedoms? Well, yours is just like that, but without the freedom.”

So our topic of study switched to the Christian’s relationship to the world. We talked about the Christian’s citizenship, our obligation to obey God rather than men, our obligation to live at peace with all men when at all possible, and our purpose of discipleship. All in all, the best meeting we’ve ever had! It really gave me the opportunity to level with them. I told them about our plans for the church, and that we needed some leaders who were serious about their relationship with God and serious about giving others an opportunity to hear. Maybe it isn’t for you, but we need some disciples and some disciple-makers.

Th., a guy who has been a Christian for a while thanks to the efforts of an underground church in town, has a real appetite for the Word of God, and has been coming to everything faithfully. Somehow, I never seem to get a chance to talk to him, which is awful, because he’s farther along than most of these students. But tonight, after the meeting he stopped me and said, “I want to know what I can do to help.” Most of the others offered similar gestures of a will to work. So what can they do? More on that later…

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One Comment on “Can I Be Honest?”

  1. april September 19, 2007 at 9:37 am #

    I want you to know that I am praying for you both. I never really know what I can say after I read your blogs that might be an encouragement to ya’ll. Each one helps me in a very different way. I thank you for all you are doing and also for sharing it with those of us who are not shoulder to shoulder with you there, know that we are heart to heart with you where ever we are.

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