Thursday, March 14, 2013

It’s the People!

If you read last week’s blog ( you know that I just returned from a short-term missions trip to China. As I’ve run into various people they all ask the same question; “What was the highlight of your trip?” The answer is both very easy and very challenging: it’s the people.

It’s easy because the Chinese were incredibly warm and welcoming. They translated our western concepts in a way that made sense to the Chinese mindset. They brought us gifts.  They listened to us talk about our families.

sharing family pic in china

Best of all, they invited us to their home to make dumplings for dinner.

making dumplings

Their joyful attitude made it easy to love them. The hardest part was saying good-bye, not knowing if we would see them again this side of heaven.

But the Chinese people were also challenging, because they exhibited qualities that I only wish I possessed. They were so hungry to hear God’s word, and eager to learn. We taught at one place for five hours, and when we finished they clamored for more. They love passionately because they have sacrificed to know Him. Because they take risks to be together there is uncommon unity among the believers.

I think everyone on our team would agree: we learned far more than we taught. We received much more than we gave. And none of us will forget them, nor will we be the same. Because our hearts were united not only by a common love for Jesus, but also an anticipation of the day we will see “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9b-10.

I saw Jesus in them. And I was humbled by it.

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.    1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

Further reflection:

1. Have you ever met someone who challenged you, as a Christian, to be more?

2. Were you at all changed by them?

Father, thank You that You created us with such diversity. Thank You for the privilege of meeting the Chinese people, and joining in their lives for a short time. I have grown to love them, and ask that You would strengthen those believers. Continue to be what brings joy, and meaning, and purpose to their lives. I cannot wait for the time when we sing together before Your throne!

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