After returning home from China, friends, family, and co-workers all wanted to hear what the best part of the experience was. It was a struggle finding the right story to paint how vivid of an impression this country left on me. I didn’t know if I should describe the culture, the food, the people, or a mixture of it all. What I ended up going with was none of those things. I had to tell of how I saw Christ most clearly, and that was through my team. You see, journeys like Bibles for China are rarely an individual revelation, but rather God uses those on mission with you to speak to you and through you. It is in this community where great testimonies are formed; where God revels His unending love to those around you.
On my trip, I was lucky enough to travel with my husband, father, and father’s friend that became my adopted Uncle. We were joined by Jenny, our Chinese translator and liaison, and Sim, an adventurer from Singapore. The six of us became a new family in a matter of days; worshiping, eating, laughing, and praying with each other is a sure way to bind hearts together. These relationships poured blessing after blessing for me, challenging and strengthening my faith.
For example, we were leaving an amazing experience at a Seminary school and had an hour car ride ahead of us. I was exhausted and ready to close my eyes, however, Sister Sim proceeded to engage our driver and ask him his story. He had served as a top tier official in the Communist party for 18 years, leading him to denounce any religion and forced others in his regime to do the same. During this time, his wife was diagnosed with a terrible heart condition requiring an experimental procedure with unknown odds for survival. She was invited to pray before the procedure, and was one of the few who survived and even thrived post-op. She gave her life to Christ afterwards because she saw that He protected her, but she had to keep this secret from her husband, knowing he might divorce her if he knew. Her husband (our driver) sensed a change of peace about her throughout this entire procedure, and eventually asked her why she was so joyful in the face of this danger. She clung to bravery and told him she was now a Christian. He knew her faith was real after seeing her life change, and also asked Jesus to be his Lord! He went to church with his wife, but when walking in the building everyone left in fear that he was a spy! It took him an entire year of proving that he truly was a Christian with his actions of love before people would come near to him. He ended saying he spent 18 years convincing people to not believe in God, so he would now spend the rest of his life serving as a testimony to the Truth! What an incredible story…that I would have missed without Sim. I would have chosen comfort, but my teammate chose connection. Her faith spurred mine, and I was blessed.
But God is so good that the blessings from my team didn’t stop at me. It was the same avenue for showing Christ’s love to our Chinese brothers and sisters. Local pastors shared that the rural churches were encouraged by our team being a family because familial connections hold such high value in the Chinese culture. To travel thousands of miles as a family, serve as a family, witness as a family- proved to be an enormous testimony to the value God places on family. So not only was I blessed by being with my new family of six, but I was a blessing. And isn’t that what Christ calls us to? To use the gifts and enjoyments He has given us to show off to others. He is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. I was so deeply satisfied traveling with Bibles for China thanks to my team that became family, and through that God was glorified. Amen!