a surprise

Yesterday morning I was taking some laundry to the wash when I saw three older Chinese people playing a version of hackey sack on the street. It was amazing to see grey-haired folks doing tricks that very few American teenagers could manage.

As I was watching, a pretty Chinese girl and her daughter walked by. She told me I could join the game, and I just laughed. Then I saw she was carrying a huge Bible under her arm. I asked her if she was a Christian, and she said, "Yes, I'm going to church right now. Why don't you come?" Talk about the last thing I was expecting to find in China on a Sunday morning! I asked her if she was frightened to talk about her faith so openly. She just laughed and said it was not a problem.

I walked with her to a beautiful church building near the US Consulate. It looked like it was built a few hundred years ago, constructed in a Western style. It was absolutely PACKED with Chinese people, and within a few moments there was standing room only. There was a mix of poor and wealthy people, and I only saw a few Western faces in the crowd. It was surreal to hear their voices singing praise songs in English and in Chinese.

The message was very good. The pastor taught from the book of Esther, and he had insights that I have missed my whole life. When he talked about the three-day fast of Esther, he said this was the sort of fast that could kill you. Thinking about how thin many people are here, I guess three days without food would be much more serious than it would be to an American with lots of padding. Maybe his idea is closer to the original context? He challenged the congregants to really think about what it meant to trust God for hope when the stakes were this high.

There was a huge emphasis on loving others. It was beautiful to see how practically they took the exhortation to walk into difficult relationships and work situations guided by sacrificial concern for others. There was also a time for testimony where members could get up and talk about how God had been working in their lives.

I got to speak with my new friend a little about the difficulties of following Christ in China. Most of her problems seemed to come from friends and family members who couldn't understand why she would make this choice. I don't know what is happening in other places in China, but there seems to be at least some freedom of worship here in Guangzou. Maybe there is more here because of all the American tourists that visit? But everything I saw happening today was very public, open, and relaxed. There was nothing hidden or discrete about it at all. There were huge signs on the street advertising services, etc.

Our friend from Singapore showed up today. It was SO good to see him. He has a crazy sense of humor, and our kids had a ball talking with him. It was also nice that Moses liked him, because he has been very hesitant to talk to Chinese people here for some reason. He usually turns his head away when people speak to him in Chinese. (I've wondered if he was afraid they would take him back to the orphanage?) When our Singaporean friend spoke to him, Moses would respond sometimes. And the translation was a super benefit for us.

Well, I better run. We are doing a tour of the Pearl Market today, and Moses needs also two immunizations. That's fewer than any of the other kids, so we are thankful that his records are thorough and clear. Some of these little ones here will receive 6-8 shots at once.

Dana  – (July 25, 2010 at 10:32 PM)  

Rebecca, I have really enjoyed reading your posts! They're so moving and inspirational! You guys are truly blessed and I feel such pride in being able to call you friends! Many prayers and hugs from afar!! -Dana

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About This Blog

Welcome to our family’s adoption journey. As you read, you will see us stumble and take wrong paths. You will see our hopes surge and fall. You will see the gaps in our humanity, and how our God realigns us to His purposes over and again. We think the messiness of this process is important. Sometimes walking with God isn’t a neat, linear package that can be summarized in bullet points. More often, life ebbs and flows around our plans, while God works His sovereign wonders from it all. We are learning so much through this journey. And we are super excited about our new son. If you’d like to join us, we’d love to have you along for the ride.

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