People are everywhere as we push forward to the trains. Our guide, a petite Chinese girl, urges us forward as we hurry onto our train car. It’s hard to believe, but here I am in Beijing, China boarding a hard sleeper train that is headed to Xian, China. Just yesterday I met my team in person for the first time at the gate in Chicago’s O’Hare airport as we prepared to board our flight to China. It was an unlikely group. The leader is a pastor in his 70’s who could have legitimately said his years of service had ended years ago but continues to serve Christ in a significant way. His wife, a kind woman still serves Christ through her husband’s ministry. The office manager with a heart for world missions and her husband who has a love for both Christ and China. A tall kid living out of a backpack who would take video of our trip and me.
It started as a slow, deliberate plan. Years ago a commitment to Christ radically changed my thinking and my life. Bible studies, teaching and service followed. The call to ministry became evident as my retirement grew near. So what next? A flight to the Midwest had me sitting next to a fellow who mentioned Bibles For China and an opportunity to serve. Interesting. During the next weeks, a little research. It seems exciting…..and a chance to serve. Phone calls lead to a decision and a decision starts the request for donations. The donations began trickling in and a March 24, 2015 departure was set. It was still a long way off.
I spoke to many people about the trip as my excitement grew. Donations continued to come in. Some wanted to support Bibles For China and some wanted to support me. Suddenly I was packing for my flight to Chicago and the transfer to Beijing.
Our guide urges us to hurry off the train. We have a day layover and time for a little sightseeing. The Terra Cotta warriors, the 8th Wonder of the World. Incredible! After dinner we are headed back to the trains for another overnight ride to our final destination.
We check into our hotel and have an opportunity to rest during the afternoon. That night we meet 3 local church leaders from the region over a traditional Chinese dinner at the hotel. Plans for the next two days are put in place and I learn that we will be distributing Bibles in 5 different churches. Many of the recipients will be receiving a Bible for the first time.
The next morning we leave the hotel and drive outside the city into the rural areas. I have never seen so much poverty. As we arrive at the first church we are greeted with music and singing. 1500 church members have waited 3 hours for our arrival. The joy and excitement on their faces was evident and I felt that the Holy Spirit was in this place. A church service was followed by the Bible distribution. We walked through the crowds and handed out the Bibles to each adult. Many cried and afterwards they crowded around us so that we could pray for them. It was a humbling experience. Who am I that people would ask me to pray for them? I didn’t feel worthy.
The next church was even poorer than the first but we were again greeted by crowds of Chinese Christians. You could see the hunger for God’s Word. We found the same thing in the next 3 churches and then it was over. 5,820 Bibles were distributed and I saw for myself that the Church in China is alive and growing!
A train ride back to Beijing and a couple of days later we are headed back to the airport for our trip home. So, what about you? What is your legacy? How have you served? Can you pray for the team, donate to the ministry or give 10 days of your life for an experience of a lifetime? Contact Bibles For China today.