Sunday, June 23, 2013

China: One Big Country and Three Simple Prayers

Soon after God and I came to an agreement that I would, indeed, to do the job he asked me to do, he raised the bar. No big surprise there, God does that kind of thing. But I still shook my fist and pounded the table and said, "Really God? Our first agreement wasn't enough?" I imagine him crossing his arms and leaning back on his throne as he chuckles and shakes his head.

Fine, I can make a trip to China. There God, see how much easier that was this time? Notice I said a trip, as in one. I spent a lot of time talking to God about this one trip.  Friends prayed too. I asked for three simple things. Well, one was a little more than simple.

The only jewelry I took was the cross necklace with the word faith a friend gave me. She thought that was exciting so we prayed someone would ask about the necklace. Prayer #1.

I wanted to be able to share my faith and talk about God with someone. Prayer #2.

The last request was a little trickier. I told God I didn't want our activity in China to only be about raising pigs and selling them to people. I want to find how to use pigs to share Jesus, say support mission work, but I wanted a real connection to the missionaries. That would be cool. Prayer #3.

After days full of meetings, interviews and contracts, we took a morning to see some sights. We have an assistant who is our interpreter. A young woman named Snow. She started talking about some of the bad things happening in the country. Maybe you saw the recent story of the Chinese couple who tried to send their newborn down the toilet. She said a lot of people in China were talking about that. Some thought it was terrible, some were allright with it. Because we have no faith, people can do terrible things and not even feel sorry for it.

Why do we have no faith in our country?

Prayer #2. I told her I'm a Christian and I have faith and that is what I live by. But she wanted to know how you get to heaven. Do you do enough good things to get heaven? No, Jesus is how you get to heaven you know him right? I asked her if she had ever heard of Jesus, and she said that she'd heard only a little. All you have to do is believe in Jesus and that he died for you because he loves you so much. You do good things because you love Jesus and you love other people. The conversation ended, but the seed was planted.

That night I decided to give her a gift. I took two devotional books to China. Jesus Calling and Promises for Life for Women. I chose the Promises book because Jesus in big bold print on the cover might cause problems. This little devotional has scriptures about all kinds of subjects. Anger, joy, resentment, peace. Things we all struggle with at any given hormonal level. I wrote in the front cover how to get to heaven so she could study it.

The final morning in our hotel room, we were chatting about business and Snow suddenly looked at me and said what pretty shirt you have on and what is that necklace? Prayer #1. I told Snow I got it from a very special friend because we both believe in Jesus and it signifies the bond we have because we are Christians.

Perfect time for the gift. I handed the book to Snow and explained it has bible verses about all kinds of topics that would help her. Does God really help you? Absolutely I said. Remember the other day in the meeting I got really angry? You saw that didn't you? I took a walk, talked to God and asked him to please give me patience and love and he did. She wanted to know if  he really helps with anger. More than that, I explained, he gives me peace. Snow told me that is what I need. She said there is a church in her home city that believes like I do and she is going to visit.

She clutched the devotional to her chest and declared with passion, I will read every word of this to my son and I will tell him that it is from you. Snow doesn't have a son. She's not married. Snow isn't even engaged yet. God's word never goes out void.

As I was answering some questions for my father and working on emails, I picked up the other devotional, you know the one with Jesus real big on the cover, just to show it to Snow. She grabbed that book out of my hands and set it together with the Promises gift.  Well ok, I thought, she can have both. I wonder how many people will read them?

God makes me smile. As we headed for the airport, I thought about those two amazing answers. I got there hours early because my father was heading a different direction on a morning flight. I went through the sliding terminal doors one step from leaving China.

I walked and walked circles around that terminal killing time and talking to God. Will he answer my third prayer? The first two were fairly painless. Do I even want the answer?

God um, I'm at the airport now. As if he didn't know.