Japan Mission Trip Next Week

It seems like just last week I was sharing with you about an opportunity that we have of providing the training classes for a Bible Training Conference in Japan.  Much prayer and preparation has gone into this work and now we are just 5 days from leaving for Japan.  Here is where we stand at this time.

The conference is being hosted by a pastor and church in Japan and is called the Olivet Conference.  Its purpose is for Bible Training and the theme of the conference is Walking by Faith.  The reason for this theme is that the Scripture states in Romans 14:26 that whatsoever is not of Faith is Sin; and in Hebrews 11:6 it states that without faith it is impossible to please Him (God).  Putting these two verses together it is clear that one of the most important things that  a Christian needs to learn is walking by faith; yet, I have never know a church to make this important enough to warrant a class just on living by faith.

After I wrote my book, The Mystery of Faith, I made a trip to Japan to visit my son who lives there and met a Christian pastor that became a close friend and co-laborer in the Lord’s work, who lives there in Japan.  He has made two trips to the US and we have been praying for the Lord to lead us in His will.  The last trip was to meet with our church and to plan for this conference.  He pastors a small church in Japan yet still has made multiple trips into China to train new pastors.  That training is not available in China.  When I went to China last year, I witnessed personally the need for training and it is simply not available there.

My burden for the church is to provide such training and Pastor T shares that same burden.  We are praying for direction beyond this conference.  Right now we have a few of the pieces that could become a training center there in Japan and are simply taking one faith step at a time.  We would covet you prayers and ask that you share with us whatever you believe that the Lord has given you to be a part of this endeavor. 

Right now there are over 30 church leaders from China that plan to attend this conference as well as over 20 from Japan and a few from other countries.    It will be a tri-language conference (that is it will be done in three languages).  It will be taught in English as several will be able to understand it in English.  It will also be translated into Chinese and Japanese so that it will be heard in their own language.  Materials are also being printed in all three languages as well.  The need is there, the hunger is there, the opportunity is there and in less than one week we will be there.  Our church is sending over a team of 4 to conduct this meeting.  I am one of three who will be speaking twice each. 

One of the things that we are doing is that after each session of a lesson, there will be a time for those attending the conference to discuss the material amongst themselves and/or ask us questions that they may have.  One person has even voiced a request about specific problems they are having with the current persecution of the government.   Please pray for us that we can properly represent Christ in our responses and that we can hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.

My wife and I are leaving on October 1 and we will not return until October 13.  We will get to spend a few days with our son and his family before returning here.  Then I will be going to visit another of our sons for about 3 days, returning on the 17th of October.  Then my wife is scheduled to have a knee replacement on the 25th of October.  There are two reasons that I am sharing this with you and that is to request your prayers and also to let you know that I will not be able to posts  for a few weeks.  At my first opportunity, I will share some of our mission trip upon my return and then continue posting on this website.

I would like to hear from you as well.  Do not be concerned about sending me a response in another language as I have a translator on my computer and will post my response to you.  I will avoid sharing things like cities, names and identifying pictures so as to protect those attending the conference.  I will share all I can to answer your questions so that you can be a part of the experience.  I sense that some of you have found this site and are following along on My Journey.  I want you to be as much a part of it as you can be.

Japan Mission Trip Update 8.28.2019

Some of you who have been following with me on my journey home may remember the story of how I met the pastor of the Christian Church in Japan.  My wife and I were visiting our son who works in Japan and we decided that we wanted the experience of worshiping with Christians in Japan.  Since our daughter-in-law is Japanese, we asked her where we could find such a church.  She is a Christian but has known Christianity through the Catholic Church, but she had a friend who did attend such a church that we were looking for.  However, her friend had just moved back to the States but she called her anyways.  Her friend called her back in about an hour or two and told her that she had already called the pastor who told her that they would pick us up so that we wouldn’t have trouble finding the church. 

Sure enough, they were waiting for us and took us to the church.  On the way, I remembered that gifting is big in Japan and I had not secured a gift so I silently offered up a prayer – God, HELP!!  Then I remembered that I had an extra copy of my book, The Mystery Of Faith, and decided to give it to the pastor when we arrived.

As soon as we arrived we were escorted to the worship center and was met by the Pastor, who greeted us very graciously.  I then presented him with my gift and wasn’t sure how it was received.  Not being familiar with the customs, I was unprepared for his response.  He got choked up and I thought he was going to cry.  I quickly asked, did I do something wrong?  He replied, NO, NO, you don’t understand.  You see I have been praying for some months that God would send me someone to encourage me, and you are him.  Then I got choked up as well and also felt some relief that I had not offended him.   From that first encounter we have had a growing relationship that has lasted for three years already.  He has made two trips to the USA and met with me on both occasions

He is also translating my book into Japanese and hopes to complete the translation this year.  At one point he had another person helping with the translation and there was a great flood and all of their work was lost in the flood.  On another occasion there was an earthquake that did damage to his home and I don’t know if he was able to get it repaired or not.  The short version is that Satan has been working overtime to stop his work on the translation.  Please pray for him to be encouraged and that Satan’s efforts be turned against him.

Several months ago the pastor shared with me his plan for a Bible Training Conference again this year.  He has had such a conference several times but his concern was that the attendees had been coming to be entertained, rather than be trained.  We discuss his dilemma and he wondered if I would be able to attend this year.  I shared it with our mission pastor at our church and he suggested that we offer to provide the training for the conference this year as a help to focus on the training aspect.  After the pastor prayed about it for several days he agreed and invited our church to be a part of the conference.  I had no trouble getting a team together, in fact it happened immediately.  We even had volunteers beyond our need and had to limit the team to four.  The pastor from Japan made the trip to meet with the team from our church and we saw the Lord hand all along the way.  It has been exciting to see the Lord bring it all together.

Today the mission team met to do the final planning for the Olivet Training Conference in Japan that is scheduled for the first week in October in Osaka, Japan.  We received the final schedule this week and we are making final preparations for the trip.  Everyone is excited and sensing the Lord’s involvement.  I will be speaking twice.  My first session I will be on the Operation Of Faith.  It is so amazing to me that there are so few in the church who knows how faith works and why.  The second session I will be addressing the Trial of Faith.  We need to understand that the trials are not to put us down but to build us up in our faith.  We are anticipating about 50-60 in attendance and the conference will be in three languages (English, Japanese and Chinese).  The reason is that just over half of the attendees will be from China and just under half will be from Japan.  We have an opportunity to touch the church leaders from two great nations who are presently facing great difficulty.  Already they have made request for situations they are facing and are looking to us for Biblical answers. 

When I returned home from the meeting with the mission team, I checked my website and found a comment from  one of the attendees of the Olivet Bible Training Conference that we will be doing next month.  I share his comment that you can rejoice with me.   Dear Pastor Vernon

I am one of the attendees of the Bible Training Conference in Japan. I am very exited to find this place.

I am reading your book The Mystery Of Faith, and it really helps me know more about God and the truths of faith. Praise the Lord and thank you so much!

I don’t know how he found my website but I was really blessed that he would make such an effort to let me know how they were preparing for this time.  It is my prayer that the Lord will be able to use us as His instruments to meet their needs.  I have a saying that I use for such occasions.  “It has God’s fingerprints all over it.” 

May the Lord build you in your adventures of faith.

Brother Vernon

Worship

Think back to a recent worship experience.  Was it enjoyable?  Was it memorable?  How about life changing?  Sometimes we leave the service with an “oh hum” attitude that leaves us examining the value of the use of our time. 

Your response to the worship service is quite revealing and it is worth noting how you left the worship service.  The first thing you notice is was it a positive experience or did it leave you with something missing.  It may be the service but it could also be because of what is going on within you.  Before we go criticizing the church for failing to bring you into worship, we should at least consider that it may not be their fault.  Worship is personal between you and God and must begin with us.  Worship is possible in any situation when we are focused on Him, rather than on ourselves.

Now look at the focus of the worship.  To what did the service call your attention?   Did it focus on life in the here and now or in the sweet by and by?  Did it emphasis individuals or the Lord?  Sometimes it seems as though the leaders are saying, “Hey, look at me” rather than “Hey, look at Him.”  Was the main emphasis the church growth, a program, a performance, or was it one of what God is doing and how He is leading.  Oh, and be sure to check out your own expectations.  Were you looking to be entertained or were you looking for some direction or answer from God?

Thirdly, Look at the message, itself.  Did you take notes?  Even if you never look at them again, taking notes are beneficial for you to digest the message and to organize your thoughts.  Can you tell about the message in a word or sentence or two?  What was the message about?  Another very important point is was the interpretation in agreement with clear biblical doctrine.  The message should be directed by its text.  Preaching should break open the hidden things of the text and expose it to be examined by the listener.  Where did you thoughts travel?  Did your thoughts travel heavenward or were they anchored here in this world by circumstances or needs.   Were they led by the speaker or was you focus on things of this life and you never caught the concept of what is beyond this life only. 

Fourthly, consider your vision of life, were you left with the feeling of times are getting worse and worse, or did you leave with hope in the end that God has a plan and He is in control.  There are needs a plenty and difficulty is common to all but how does God fit into all of life.  What is the purpose of God in allowing us to go through all of this?  How can we have peace in the midst of all of this turmoil?

Finally, as you think back over this experience, were your expectations met?  This may sound strange to you at first, but I hope that they were not.  Many people leave a church because their “needs” were not  being met.  The criticism vary and may include such things as the sermon was too long, the choir is always off key, so and so has this problem, and so on.   This type of criticism is selfish and focuses only on self.  It lacks understanding of the others and the point of worship.  Worship is a corporate event and includes everyone.  Though it is true that God is concerned about your every need, it is also true that He is concerned about everyone’s individual needs.  We all need to be loved and valued.  True worship finds us as a part of God’s plan that includes everyone and excludes no one. 

So, as you consider your own worship experience, consider that worship requires and investment of yourselves, a discipline to bring self under His control, a vision beyond this life into the next, a faith in God and not in something temporal such as a man or church or a plan, and  a surrender to the will of God rather than just your will. My prayer for you is that your worship will become richer and fuller with each experience. Since worship is at least a part of our eternal existence, we should be practicing it now.

I cannot take credit for this insight as it was outlined by David Jeremiah with the following thoughts:

                It is not about us – it is about Him

                It is not about here (the physical) – it is about there (the eternal)

                It is not about what is seen – it is about what is unseen

                It is not about now – it is about then      

                It is not about one person – it is about many people

My Tribute to Joel Bandy

This Saturday, at 2:00 PM we will be attending the memorial service for Joel Bandy who was translating my book into Russian. He passed away about three weeks ago. Apparently, he passed away shortly after we talked on Saturday night. He had just finished Chapter 6 and he said that he would send me a copy the next day. He never had another day to send me that chapter but his brother has his laptop and told me that he would be sure that I would get it.

Joel and I talked about my trip to China last year and he wondered if something would happen and I would wind up in prison or something and he would lose me as his friend. You need to understand that he had called me several times a week for over 25 years. We had come to understand each other quite well. I was one of the few friends that he had and I had become one of his closest friends, but more than that I was his counselor, pastor, and father figure.

Joel had many problems but faithfulness wasn’t one of them. I always tried to tell him the truth, even though it hurt at times. He had grown from an angry man to a patient and forgiving person. He struggled with his ministry to the Lord and would often try to guess what it was. He made many guesses but none of them ever went anywhere. He would often come back to translating Russian which is what he was doing before his mental illness took hold. One day I suggested that if he wanted to be used in translation then he should be active in translating. He said, I have no one who wants to hire me and I have no avenues to take. I said, then you should just start translating something so you would have it to show. We talked back and forth for a few minutes and each time we came to a wall where he would just stop. Then I said to him, Okay, then translate my book to which he replied that it was too big a project. So then I said that he should try just one chapter and again he said that was too much of a commitment. I finally suggested that he had to start somewhere so just do a sentence. After a bit he said that he would do a sentence.

When he called me back he had done a whole paragraph, even though it was a short one. We then went over it and he read it to me in Russian, and it was fine. Then he was willing to take on one more paragraph which turned out the same way. Then for the next two years he would call when he had completed a paragraph and we went over it until he had finished a whole chapter. Then it was two, then three and the last time we talked he had finished six chapters which was over half of the book. Why do I recount all the details. Because he was that detailed. He would search a word that didn’t say it exactly right until he found a way to say it that carried the same meaning that I had intended when I wrote the book. He took great pride in doing a great job.

He was that same way in his personal relationship with the Lord. It took him a long time to get the doctrine right but once he understood it he would stand as strong as any one could. I had the privilege of leading him to the Lord and I was often rewarded by his example. I have never know anyone who spent more time in prayer and the study of the Bible, than Joel. He was a very lonely individual but he would often say that the Lord was his comforter and he longed to be with the Lord. Not in a suicidal way but in an eternal way as he recognized the temporary nature of this life and the promise of the eternal life of the Lord.

Though we talked about death and how he would make it if his mother, brother or I would be gone, we never considered how we would continue without him. That now is where I sit and I rejoice in his victory. I know that he is not lonely any more and he is with the Lord.

To Die is Gain

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Yesterday was a very different day that will have extensive repercussions.   I was just walking out the door for an appointment when my daughter called me with the news that her brother-in-law, Joel Bandy had passed away.  The news was quite shocking as I knew him quite well and had for a quarter of a century. 

During that time I worked with Joel as his fried, pastor, counselor, and whatever else he needed, along with many others.  He would call me once or twice a week and share his struggles.  He fought through mental illness, personal worth, etc.  Over the years he changed from an angry man to a gentle loving person.  He found his greatest joy in the Lord and that was always the subject of his conversation.  He spent multiplied hours reading through the scriptures and could quote scriptures with the best. 

I don’t know why we became so close.  Perhaps it was because he was so genuine and unpretending.  He knew who and what he was and had little to no time trying to be someone else.  His greatest desire was to be used by the Lord and wanted others to know the Lord as he knew Him.

This struggle was continuous until one day, in an effort to give him something to work on that he would find challenging aa well as rewarding, I suggested he use the college training he had.  He majored in the Russian language and had worked as a translator.  It had been years since he had used it and was rusty.  He then asked me how to do it?  He said he didn’t know how to start and had no contacts that would hire him.  I told him to find something to translate and just start doing it for the experience.  I told him that the job would follow.  He still seemed reluctant so I suggested that he translate my book into Russian.  His immediate response was that no, it was too big a task and that he wouldn’t want to start with such a big project.  I then suggested that he take small bites and just do a chapter but that was still too much so I suggested that he do a paragraph or even a sentence.  I wasn’t looking for a translator but simply a project that would help him focus on developing his skills.  He said he would pray about it and let me know.  That was Joel, he prayed about everything.  Then, a few days later, he told me that he would at least make an attempt at a sentence but he wasn’t promising anything beyond that. 

That was nearly two years ago.  After he translated the first sentence, he said that he would try another, which he did by the next day.  He began to enjoy translating and then it was a paragraph, and then another and each time he said he didn’t know how long he would continue but for now he would continue.  Within a few weeks he had completed the entire first chapter.  Sometimes he would find a word or phrase that didn’t translate so he would call me and we would figure it out together.  It wasn’t long until he began to clear out the rust and the familiarity would come back and he really began to get better and doing it.  He began to collect the tools he needed to do an accurate job.  He took pride in doing a good job and would chase a word to its beginning and through its uses to get it right.

He pressed on and finished the first chapter, then the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth chapters.  As we worked through the ends of the sixth chapter, he seemed to be pressing hard and did the final three paragraphs at one time, and we rejoiced together.  He said he just wanted to get it finished and was glad we had it done.  He said he would be forwarding it to me soon.  That was on Saturday evening.  Then on Tuesday morning I got the news that he had gone to be with the Lord. 

We talked on various occasions about this life being so short, yet he longed to be with the Lord.  The Lord was his comforter and understood him.  Now he is enjoying life in a whole new dynamic.  His struggles are over and his victory is won.  While I lost my friend, brother, co-laborer, and translator; He has gained peace, victory and the presence of the Lord.  I rejoice in his gain and I will miss him until we are reunited there with the Lord.

Arrows in a Good Man’s Quiver

Psalms 127:3-5 Lo, children are a heritage of Jehovah; And the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, So are the children of youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: They shall not be put to shame, When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

The Holidays are nearly over and life will soon get back to normal. We have been blessed to have 4 of our 7 children and their families, home for Christmas. Our other three could not make it but we still had contact via phone. Family is so important to us and we have a great time whenever we can get together. Truely we are greatly blessed and our hearts are full. This scripture has come to mean a lot to us and is so true.

Did I say normal? What I mean is back to a routine. The thing is that all routines undergo constant change. The one thing that is certain is that change is constant. But change is not necessarily bad. The joy of seeing our children grow up and become responsible adults raising families of their own. Then there are the grandchildren and later, the great grandchildren.

What does it mean to grow up? That is, at what point are we grown up? Is it when our body reaches a certain point of development? Could it be when we reach a certain point of mental maturity? Or is it when we have become what God had in mind for us to be? I think it includes all of the above possibilities. The important thing is to remember that everyone is at a different stage in their development yet they are to be valued as though they had already reached maturity. For example, an embryo is a person in development, a small boy is to be considered as a man in development, a youth is an adult in development and a person is a child of God in development. The only thing that can become a person is an embryo, the only thing that can become a man is a small boy, the only thing that can become an adult is a teenager, and the only thing that can become a child of God is a person.

How far reaching is the understanding of family. No wonder that the happiness is his whose quiver is full of them.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving this year has taken on a whole new dimension.  I have so much to thank the Lord for that I hardly know where to start.  The top of the list is my salvation.  I used to think that I was a pretty good guy and that I didn’t have all that much sin to be forgiven for.  Now I see just how much sin there is.  The older I get the more I see my sin and sometimes it seems that I have more than I had when I was first saved.  The truth is that it was there all the time but I just had not seen it for what it is.  I find that now, sin is more repulsive and devastating so I am more thankful than ever for His forgiveness.

Next, I am thankful for my family, especially my wife of nearly 53 years who has stood faithfully by my side and is a continual source of blessings.  The Bible says in Psalms 127:4-5 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.  My wife and I have 7 children; 21 grandchildren and  10 great grandchildren who are a continual source of joy.  There were plenty of times that it was more than hard with the burden of raising my family but now that burden has turned to joy and hope.  Seeing them build their lives on solid principles and grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord is a constant pleasure.

I am thankful for my church family.  They are a tremendous blessing in more ways than I am conscious of.  They not only minister to my spiritual needs but also to my social needs as well.  It is nice to be edified by healthy support and encouragement as well as prayers, music, sermons, teaching, and on and on.  I thank God for my church family.

I am thankful for my ministry.  It gives me an outlet for all my erg serve a real purpose.  I really enjoy sharing the Word of God and ministering to others in their faith walk.  One of my favorite verses is III John 4, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.  I am thankful that the Lord moved me here to Texas to meet several contacts that I am working with to translate my book into 4 other languages.

I am thankful for my health.  I have been completely healed from stage 4 cancer as well as from an infection in my leg that put me in the hospital for 8 days with level 10 pain.  It was so great that my body just shook under it.  I was on 7 different antibodies at the same time just to save my leg and my life.  I didn’t return home for 31 days but even in the midst of all that, the Lord worked a miracle in healing and even the nurses were asking me about the Lord.  Just last week I got the good report that they could not find any problems with my heart, even though I am a diabetic, am overweight and have family history of heart issues.

I am thankful for God’s provision for life.  I haven’t always had all I wanted but I have always had what I needed and enough of my wants to keep me occupied.  I have seen God come through more times than I can remember.  From total strangers walking up and telling me that God directed them to give money to me; to boxes of groceries when I was totally out; to a school changing their written policy to open the way for me to enter that school, etc.  This walk of faith has been the most exciting venture that I could ever have imagined.

I am thankful for God’s unspeakable gift in the Holy Spirit who teaches me, guides me, comforts me, and enables me to do the will of God.  I cannot live up to His standards but the Holy Spirit enables me to walk according to His will.  Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

I am thankful that I was blessed to make the mission trip to China and see the underground church at work.  They were an inspiration to me in many ways.  Faithfulness under fire may be an apt description.  I am thankful for God’s protection and the prayers of so many around the globe and was able to return home safely.

The list goes on and on.  I am indeed a blessed man.  My prayer for you is that the Lord will watch over you and bless you as you follow Him by faith.

 

The Church in China

I am sharing some information today that is not common knowledge here in America but I feel it is important for us to see the actual situation with the Church in China.  I do not know what the actual number of believers there are in China and furthermore, I’m not sure that anyone knows.  I hear reports of 40-60 million; another source says over 100 million and still another source says that the number may exceed 300 million.  What ever the number it is great enough for the Chinese government to feel somewhat insecure because of the shear number.  To put it in perspective, China‘s 2018 population is 1.42 billion, based on United Nations projections.  If the number of Christians there is 100 million that means that one in 14 people in china is a Christian.

The church historically has flourished during persecution while it has grown apathetic during prosperous times.  The hunger there for Bible knowledge is far beyond what it is in America.  This example is common for the church there in China.  Most churches do not own property or their own worship building and meet in homes.  They do not have access to the outside church in  that printed documents are not allowed.  Christians are quizzed as to the content of their worship services.  Outside speakers are forbidden and training is almost non-existent.  Bibles have been available in most areas but even that is now being limited.  A somewhat typical picture would be that an individual may have to travel up to two hours to meet with other Christians that they felt safe with.  They would meet in a home, sit on a plastic stool for two or more hours, visit, share, eat and then travel up to two hours to get back home.  They would arrive quite early, maybe a half hour or more and spend much of the time praying until it starts.  They would stagger their times of arriving so that only one to three at a time would enter.  They would take extensive notes as fast as they can, which they would study as they could.  They may be interrogated about their activity at any time.  Should the authorities find anything that they had deemed illegal then they could be imprisoned and their properties confiscated.   Those not imprisoned would be “retrained” and forced to sign an affidavit saying they recant of their former profession and pledge allegiance to the government.  It is not illegal to be a Christian but you are forbidden to evangelize or propagate your belief.  Under this type of conditions the Church has grown to amazing proportions.  Yet in America the ratio of Christians is somewhere between 1 in 50 to 1 in 100.

Within the actual worship the spirit is one of a shared love.  There is an absence of greed but rather one of sharing and giving.  The hunger is real and deep and sincere.  They want the truth about God and are willing to pay the price for it.  The leadership is mostly untrained and inexperienced, yet they possess the ability to recognize the truth where they find it.  If you are real and have the truth of Christ, they will love you deeply, but if you are a fraud, they will not only recognize it but will also give you a wide birth.  Never have I seen a greater hunger or a deeper need than in China.   More later.

Customs

I knew that customs differ in other parts of the world but I did not know how much.  While I was in China, I had the opportunity to observe this first hand.

After our first session we were enjoying some food together and I noticed that there were different ones that would suddenly place additional food on my plate without me indicating in any way that I wanted more.  At first I thought that they were just excited to see an American and wanted to show special attention.  But then I noticed that there would be two or three bringing me more food at the same time and I began to wonder what was going on.  I would be eating my soup and someone would be pouring more soup into my bowl while I was eating it.  Another would peal an orange or open a fig, or add more meat.  I was getting full and I couldn’t keep up with their hospitality.  I said that I didn’t want any more but it kept coming.  I certainly didn’t want to offend anyone but I didn’t know how to stop the flow of food, either.

I was raised in a country setting in southern Missouri.  We were very poor and food was quite simple.  It was beans and taters for the most part.  Occasionally we would fry a chicken and if we got tired of the menu we could switch it around and have taters and beans.  In the summer we also added the garden veggies and rarely we would have beef or pork if one of the neighbors were butchering.  Because times were tough we didn’t waste anything and my parents taught us to always clean our plates.  It was the courtesy of the times to show your appreciation by eating everything.  The cleaner the plate the better.  I also taught my children to clean their plates.  The thought of wasting food was never entertained.

Then I went to China and learned that the custom there is quite different.  You show your host that you are full by simply to stop eating.  If you clean out your plate it means that you are still hungry so they put more on your plate.  I didn’t know that so I was trying to empty my plate and sending the wrong message.

I think that sometimes we study the Bible without knowing the customs and miss a lot of it’s meaning, in the same way I did by not knowing the customs and setting.  One of my tools in my library is a book titled, The Life and Times of Jesus, The Messiah” by Alfred Edersheim.  If you don’t have the book, I suggest that you try to get a copy.  It will help you to understand the customs of how it was in Jesus’ time and add meaning to such places as the Lord’s supper and many others.

 

Returning from China

Wow!  What a trip.  It took me 10 days to experience the trip so there is no way that I can share it in one or two short blogs.  I will try to keep my focus on what I share so that it is a complete and concise topic and will post them from time to time.  Also, I want to be considerate of the Christians in China so that they do not incur additional persecution from the forces that oppose them.  And finally, I do not want to misrepresent our Lord to the government as they have a responsibility to govern their country and I do not desire to inflict any conflict between them and our Lord or His people.

That being said I want to first say that I left here with one concept of who the Chinese are and came home with an all together different opinion.  I had envisioned that theirs was a country of poor living conditions and way behind in the cultural world.  In fact, their conditions are comparable to those in our country.  The streets are clean, the conveniences are modern, and  I found the people to be quite wonderful with much the same dreams as ours.  They were more than gracious and considerate, and they have many qualities that I wish were here as well.  They do not seem to value possessions the same as we do and are content with what they have.  For an example, they would travel for two hours or more to meet with people of like faith, then sit on a plastic kids stool for another two hours without fidgeting or complaining, another hour visiting and eating and another two =/- hours returning home. and do it again the next day.  They were not tardy and would spend their time praying while they waited for the time to start.  They were not problems to either the civil authority or each other.  They were not critical of others, but helpful.  They were model citizens.

They were hungry to know the truth but careful to reject error where ever they find it.  They were especially cautious about false religions.  In several way they were way ahead of many churches here where freedom and ease has made us dull of hearing and apathetic.  Daniel understood this truth and refused the king’s dainties to be free from greed and laziness.  This is probably why Christianity has always prospered under persecution and floundered under prosperity.

You rarely see a single family dwelling except on a rural area where farming and the like have historically had such dwellings.  From my room I looked out my window and could see three major construction sights of 6 to 12 buildings each one about 30 stories high.  There were also three more that were not in my view, just as close.

I came away with a huge respect for the Chinese people and they taught me a lot.  I went there to be a blessing but I came back the blessed.  More later.