Those were the five days best spent out of my summer
Usually in the middle of July I find myself swimming in my pool, doing volunteer work, going shopping, and eating ice cream. This past summer I was still eating ice cream, but instead I was in a KFC half way across the world in Taiyuan, China. My family and I had gone with the Mission Harmony team to teach children English at an English School, and hopefully share our faith with them, while my parents went to teach Bible camp in a local church.
I’m not sure what I expected from the mission trip to China. Teaching English to children in Taiyuan sounded like it was something that one ought to do, but I have to admit, I didn’t have a very good attitude going into the trip. Taiyuan wasn’t exactly the cleanest city I’ve ever been to, and I was ready to just get the five days over with as quickly as possible. Of course, though, it didn’t matter that I had this attitude; God used his little children to show me how unimportant my problems are, and how wonderful his creation is.
When we walked in the room the first day, the little children were smiling, eager to learn and ready to do anything we told them to. The majority of them could speak English fairly well and were excited to learn from us. I learned to love the children who call the bathroom the WC and offer you food whenever they have a snack.
Because we were in China, we weren’t actually allowed to directly share our faith with the children. Instead, we sang songs like Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves the Little Children, and other children songs about Jesus. During story time, we would sometimes share a story form the Bible, and during the puppet shows the kids would laugh as the badger and the blonde haired puppet would sing and dance along to the song John 3:16.
It was impossible to be shy or reserved in the English camp. When we took the kids to the park, we would stand in an open area and sing and do the motions to Deep in the Heart of Texas, singing/yelling at the top of our lungs, drawing a crowd of spectators. There were scavenger hunts at the supermarket, teaching random strangers how to say the color of their shirt in English, and more singing in various parks and fast food restaurants. The children were unashamed of being themselves, which taught me to also forget about what other people think.
There were 17 kids total, and I felt that I could see Jesus in every one of them. From Tina, who told me the first day “Teacher, I love frogs,” and told me the last day “Teacher, I don’t want you to forget me,” to Helen, who started out as a shy girl embarrassed that her English wasn’t as good as everyone else’s and eventually let that go and became an outgoing chatterbox. Every kid had something special about them, and I could tell that God was working in their lives
Even though we had no opportunity to actually bring a child to Christ, God helped us to plant the seed in the children. By giving us the willingness to love the children, God helped us to show the children that people who love God really care about them. I can honestly say that those five days were the best spent out of my summer, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything else.
Mission Taiwan & China 2009
The Bible mentions how one will sow the word, another will water and then another reaps the harvest. Both Mission Taiwan and Mission China were both sowing the word and watering the word. I was amazed at the freedom to talk about the Bible and Jesus in the Taiwanese public elementary schools. One little boy at the school where I served had four cigarette burn marks on his foot. One of my teammates told me that he was abandoned by his parents and that his grandmother is taking care of him. These burn marks on his foot did not look old and made it difficult for him to walk without pain. I asked through my interpreter if I could pray for him and so I did. Before I prayed for him I felt God’s compassion. I prayed in the Name of Jesus that God would heal him emotionally and physically and I asked for the salvation for him and his family.
The last time I was in China I felt scared at times and restricted because of all the precautions we had to take and limitations of what we could say and where we could say it. This particular trip I still was watchful, but I did not experience the fear that I did the first time I came. Before the trip the Lord was having me meditate on scriptures and listen to teaching tapes on the authority of the believer. One time our team was at a restaurant and a certain teammate was dealing with sickness. I knew through the Holy Spirit that this sickness was spiritual. What I mean is, this was an attack from the devil. After getting approval by the person I then took authority over it in Jesus Name and it went away shortly.
Singing some Christian hymns at the school and helping to teach them to the kids was a great way to sow the word in peoples’ hearts. A couple of times we sang English hymns publicly, as well as a couple of Christian hymns that praised Jesus, which was a great opportunity to share the good news. Praise the Lord.
The Power of Love
A Sharing on Mission Harmony 2009 to Taiwan and China
As I met with different mission teams to Taiwan and China recently, they told me about not being permitted to say the word of God or Jesus in China and sometimes in Taiwan. I realized how wonderful for us, Mission Harmony teams, to proclaim His name openly to exalt Him. While others can’t, but I think their missions still glorified God.
During our week long English summer camp (7/14-19) at a private school in Taiyuan, our team of 12 persons started with 2-hour long singspiration by singing English Hymns and shared messages by playing puppet show and skits. All hymns are the same as here, not a word change, and so are the puppet shows which demonstrated John 3:16. It quite amazed other teams that we are able to say and talk about God and Jesus so openly. I have to point out that they have glorified God as well although they can’t mention His name.
In the same mission week over the city’s official church which has a congregation of more than 35,000 brothers and sisters, our team of 15 persons ran another Chinese Bible camp for students of all grades from elementary to college. Pastors gave us free hands to teach truth without any reservation, as long as they are from the Bible. In fact, no pastors were around, they trust us with the whole camp. I was amazed to see our team teaching Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and faith discussion so enthusiastically. I have to say it’s God grace at work.
Over Taiwan, we had different mission Taiwan team of 34 persons to lead English VBS camps in two elementary schools and one night camp (7/5-10) in front of the Buddhist headquarter mountain. Again, we proclaimed Jesus openly without any hindering, which encountered some objections from school and parents last year. This year, we had no problems saying anything about God and Jesus, praise the Lord!
I don’t exactly know why we can do so openly, especially in China, as I reflected that in the beginning when I started the mission to the school in China, I insisted on providing all camp handbooks and other materials as a condition for our trip, although they wanted to use theirs, and submitted them beforehand for approval. From that on, the school understands what we are up to, and accept our gospel message as part of our Christian culture here. But I assure them that I will not impose our beliefs on kids by trying to converting them into Christians, since it’s illegal in China to convert kids to any religions. So our team just share the gospel as their own personal things or relationship with God. By doing so, the message becomes even more powerful, I can see quite changes in kids’ and their parents’ attitudes and feelings toward God comparing to last camp in this January. I even gave a short speech in Chinese during the closing ceremony on the purpose of our trip: For the love of God.
But, is it really because of our boldness and smartness enabling us to proclaim gospel so freely in China and Taiwan? By final analysis, I believe that is all because of the power of love. When those kids felt our love and their parents saw us so loving their children by paying a lot to come, to stay away from our comfortable homes in US, every hymn and each message are planted deep in their hearts. And this love from God is so much rooted in our faith on Him (Eph 3:17) to empower us to do so joyfully in making them to want to have the same God’s goodness. And as we lead these kids to worship Him, His glory radiates to touch them for us to lead them to Christ effectively, 170 kids and 10 adults came to Lord.
All glory be to God!
How faithful and powerful His words are!
During Mission Harmony (7/14-19) to Taiyuan church this July, one early morning I was praying for the church, Psalms 3-5 came to my mind and I read it and medicated over these verses.
At noon time as I walked into the church from our other camp, English VBS camp in a nearby school, a troubled mother brought her son over to ask me to pray for him. These kind of things happened to me before in this January’s mission, but when I saw him bringing a mid-aged man, I felt like asking other team members to pray together for him. However, everyone is talking with his or her students in the church’s Bible camp, so I calmed down and prayed to God and talked with them alone.
The mother hesitated in talking about his son, while his son was wordless in sadness. As I was observing them, I asked God to reveal to me what to say. Soon the “sleep” word, mentioned three times in Psalms 3-4, occurred to me, I asked him how his sleep situation was. He was kind of shocked and confessed it was bad. Then, I asked him to read Psalms 3-4, especially paying attention to “sleep” related words, and meditated on them. After explaining further, I laid my hand over him and prayed for him.
Right then a verse showed up, “.. let their evil designs be the cause of their fall; let them be forced out by all their sins..”(Ps 5:10), then I asked him if he was troubled by his coworkers’ plotting against him. He said YES. I asked him to read Psalms 5 and medicated on 5:10 -12. I then prayed over him, asked Lord to be “a shield for him; his glory, and the lifter up of his head.”(Ps3:3), since he believes in God, and “that the Lord is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”(Heb 11:6)
Afterwards, they seemed to be relieved, some smiles showed up on their faces. As I saw them leaving the church, they dropped some money into the church’s offering box. I continued to pray for God’s grace and peace be with them to overcome the current difficulties.
God revealed His words to me in my morning prayer for the church, by noon these words were turned out to be the strength and encouragement in building up His people. How faithful and powerful His words are! Praise the Lord.