“Do Cops Shoot At Bank Robbers?”

What goes through a bank robber’s head as he stands in the lobby before pulling out his gun? He knows that he’s there on illegal business, and he knows that no one else knows… yet. I don’t really know what that feels like, but I think about it sometimes (in a purely healthy way, I promise). Our primary business here in China is illegal, and we can just wonder how long it is before someone knows what we know. We’re hardly scared, as this is far from a scary place, and sometimes it’s hard to believe that anything we’re doing is not legit. But every once in a while, at our Bible study or at our leaders meeting, I’ll remember, “Oh yeah, this could get me arrested and kicked out of the country.”

Last night at around 7:30, my wife and I heard our doorbell ring. Without a clue as to who it could be, we opened the door to reveal a police officer. A real live Communist police officer. Cool. So he ambles in, thick notebook in hand, and friendly smile on face. He fumbles through the pages of his book, asks us how we’re getting along here in China. This guy was at the police station when we first registered in the neighborhood as residents. Still not sure what’s he’s doing here… He comments on our cat and asks about the students we’ve got at our house sometimes.

I instantly (the paranoid underground church worker that I am) think he’s talking about the Bible study. So I tell him that we’ve got a bunch of friends who are students and they come over to listen to English. He looks at me kind of puzzled and asks what we talk about. “Um… English,” I offered. Man, I’ve got to get better at this indirect question answering if I’m going to avoid expulsion. He said, “So they’re foreign students?” I told him they were mostly Chinese students. He nodded or shrugged. Don’t really remember. My mind was whirling, waiting for him to hand me my “Go to America. Go directly to America. Do not pass language school. Do not collect anymore souls for Jesus” card. But Lieutenant Happy-go-lucky wasn’t about to get rid of us yet. In the end we just exchanged phone numbers and wished each other a good night. I have no intention of calling him, though, to tell you the truth. Apparently, this is just a routine, “Hey American-living-in-our-precinct, are you still alive and not dealing drugs?,” check-up.

In hindsight, he might have been asking about the American students that we had working with us this summer. We might have mentioned them when we registered at the police station. But he might have been told by the guards at the front of the housing development that we have big college parties at our house. Who knows. And it appears to not matter. For now. But today is a new day, with plenty more opportunities to get kicked out.

I just think some of the extremist “try-to-not-get-kicked-out-of-China” thinking is kind of unrealistic. Who are we kidding? The Chinese government if they exerted a hint of effort in our direction, it would completely expose us. We’re not as clever as we think we are. We remain for the same reason we came – God’s will. We’ll be as not-dumb as we can possibly be, and trust Him to let us stay as long as He desires.

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