For the next few posts, I will be sharing stories that my oldest son, Luke, wrote for me upon his return from China (where he spent three months this summer). They are pretty awesome. Read on…
Our team was in Wuhan. I was at one of the universities that we worked at this summer, it was my very first time being there. I was walking around with Bryan and we were trying to meet people out of the blue, on a campus we had never been to before, who predominantly spoke another, unintelligible language. Needless to say, we were having a hard time. As we were walking along, Bryan and I stopped at a small bridge to pray. We asked that God would bring people to us that were interested in the gospel. We then continued walking until we heard a strange sound. The sound was something like thousands of basketballs being dribbled at once. We turned a corner and discovered a basketball court, or rather about 25 of them all together in one massive complex, every court taken. We took a few seconds to gawk at the sheer volume of basketball happening in our midst and continued walking. We saw two guys sitting down watching one of the games, so we went and sat down next to them and started a conversation. We were glad that they spoke English. We got to share the gospel with these guys, but they were not interested. Just as we were running out of words to say, another guy comes up and sits down right next to us. First words out of his mouth: Do you know anything about the Bible?" Then, we learned his name: John. We talked to him for a while, but had to leave to meet up with the rest of our team. We got John's phone number and we departed.
A few days later, we were going to meet up with John and he asked if he could bring a few friends. We said that would be fine. A few friends ended up being eight. We were disappointed because I didn't think we would be able to get to serious conversation or study the Bible with so many people. We still asked if they all would like to study the Bible, and to our amazement the whole group said yes. We read through Mark 2 (the healing of the paralyzed man) and shared the gospel. Brian got really excited that people were actually interested to hear about Jesus and forgot to talk slowly as he explained what the story meant. We wanted them to know that God not only can heal them physically, but that Jesus can heal them spiritually. When we were finished with what we had to say, one in the group asked "Could you share that story about Jesus with us again?" And of course we did.
Later that week we met with John, He brought two people that had come to our Bible discussion earlier that week. It is hard for me to describe that meeting adequately, other than the Holy Spirit was present in that coffee shop. We started studying in Genesis 1, emphasizing that man is created in the image of God, and God told man to spread over the earth, giving honor to Him. We moved on to Genesis 3, when man decided turn away from God. We talked about how all created things at that moment began to miss something, just as man is missing God. We showed the glimmer of hope in the man who would come and crush the head of the snake. We then went to the tower of Babel, where men wanted their own glory instead of God's and all languages were formed. We went through Genesis 12:1-4 how God began to form his people through and obedient man, Abraham. God gave Abraham a promise. In Genesis 22, it looks like God will not follow through on his promise, but God does, and makes a replacement; the blood of the lamb for Isaac's life. This was about 2.5 hours later and I asked John and the others if they would like to pray. We told them they could pray in Chinese because God can understand any language. They said "Of course, God created languages, remember the tower of Babel?"
They all prayed authentic prayer, not necessarily getting everything right, but being obedient to what they did know. Then I asked them who they wanted to tell about what they had learned. They each had people they wanted to share the Bible with, and none of them yet were Christians! Before they left, they told me "If we had tried to read this on our own, it would have been boring and we could not have understood, but with you, we can understand and the story is very interesting." This statement alone is powerful enough to fuel me for years without any other need for encouragement. I asked when they could meet next. They asked: "How about tomorrow?" They were so hungry.
On the bus on the way back to our apartment, I got down on my knees and praised my Father.
I got to meet several more times with others in the group. We discussed The Ten Commandments and the Passover. They were beginning to look forward to Jesus, and they didn't even know it.
John and some of the others are all hooked up with long-term workers in Wuhan and will continue to learn more.
I know that as I taught them those passages of scripture, they began to come alive. I became even more certain of the story of the gospel and that it has the power to change lives. I also know that prayer works. God loves to answer prayers to bring people closer to himself.