My Bibles for China mission trip fulfilled more than expectations could have imagined. Even though you may bring a long history of mission activity, God’s Spirit and joy will occupy any unfilled vessel as long as you are open and serving. Visiting with Chinese Christians in their local churches and observing their joyful Bible distribution celebrations, was indescribable. It is amazing to see believers so hungry to get their hands on The Word. It would be remarkable if we had that same desire in other countries.
One of the humblest moments was at a time least expected. We stopped at a church for a meet and greet; a small rural church under disrepair and showing years of weather abuse. The roof leaked and the walls were cracked, but the Holy Spirit lived within the community of believers that met us there. We shared stories and listened to their concerns and prayed for different members of this congregation. Before we left, they also brought us a cup of hot water; not tea, just hot water, a simple sign of graciousness. But as we left, we were greeted by the chief caretaker for this old church building; a small gentleman, 81 years old, with a passion that overflowed from his frail body. He shook our hands, thanking us all for visiting them, and to remember them in our prayers. He was so joyous, thankful, and full of life; you could not help but be drawn to him. I tried to bend down to look him eye to eye as I thanked him, but being over a foot taller, that was difficult, but I feel I did make a connection.
Our team headed toward our vehicles up a small rise, and as I started to climb, a hand grabbed my arm from behind, and as I turned I noticed the frail old man taking my arm to help me up to the car. This little, frail man was helping me; a tall, younger and larger man up the hill to the car. I was overwhelmed with this act of grace. At this point I needed assistance due to the tears in my eyes. What a lesson in servanthood and caring.
This mission experience reminded me of a quote from Karen Watson: “The Missionary Heart: Care more than some think is wise. Risk more than some think is safe. Dream more than some think is practical. Expect more than some think is possible. I was called not to comfort or succeed, but to fulfill. There is no joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him.” All I can say is AMEN!