Shock-and-Awe Campaign

Quite a night. It started to rain a little bit before our Bible study, and one of our guys wrote us to ask if we were still canceling. He apparently had “Bible study” confused with “baseball game.” So I didn’t know what would happen to our attendance. Praise the Lord, we had about 80 people show up! I say “about 80” because I can’t tell you how many people were there, and I don’t know who in the world could get an accurate count in that environment.

Last night we watched a movie in Chinese about Jesus. Having never been exposed to the coloring-book-like Sunday school lessons that taught me to imagine the Bible (albeit in cartoony fashion), the average student has a difficult time wrapping their mind around the whole thing as historically real. Since I’ve had a couple people tell me that people come only to listen to English, I wasn’t sure what would happen. But, like the last time we had a Chinese speaker, we had a record attendance. It seems when we announce that something will be in Chinese, a lot of students tell their friends who don’t understand any English, and they tag along, too. (more on wrong motives for attendance some other time)

I have to admit that I got a little scared yesterday. About our security, I mean. We were sending out our weekly mass text messages about the Bible study, and all of a sudden, we were unable to send anything from my wife’s phone. Several people have told me that the phones are easily “spied on,” but I’ve never exercised any caution on that front. Then I found out a couple of hours before our Bible study that the movie we showed is officially banned in China. Awesome. So we racked up some double bonus illegal points last night.

The movie really shocked them. With every whip lash, punch, or hammer blow, there was a room-wide gasp. They’re hardly the same gluttons for gore as the American movie-goer. There were people crying, standing in anticipation, and looking away from the screen. My wife told me she was afraid that we would turn the lights on and have a bunch of angry students on our hands. They were shocked, no doubt.

Sitting with a group of our regular guys afterwards, I asked each one of them what they thought about the movie. Pretty typical and pretty frustrating. Almost everyone said something like, “It’s amazing that Jesus loved those people,” or “I can’t believe that people could be so cruel,” or even “I never understood how God could kill an entire nation, but now I do.” So when it was my turn, I leveraged that hatred they felt for the Jews and the Romans and told them that I realized I was just like those Romans and those Pharisees. It was my sin, after all, that took Him to the cross. I was the enemy of God. Once again, a few more mouthfuls of Chinese could really help here. At least St. told me afterwards, “I can’t hardly watch that movie. I feel so bad and guilty.”

Tonight I’d like to write some about the crisis you face when 80 people unexpectedly come to your 60-people room.

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