Celebrate Epiphany Jan. 6th
From the Field Jan. 6, 2015
There is an ancient tradition that the wise came from as far away as India or China. One tradition has a wise teacher in China disappearing for a long time and then returning to his home village… We don’t know for sure where they came from. We do know they worshiped our King, which we traditionally celebrate on January 6th.
We have tried exploring China to share the King’s message there.
Dateline: July 18-23, 1995 -The People’s Republic of China, Yunnan Province
At the time Mark Bohde was our CLC missionary in northern Thailand three of us(Pastor Lawrence Bade, Gus Falkenberg, and I) decided to see how things were going, and to investigate if teaching English in China would be a way to have Christians go there and witness. Many individuals and groups were doing this.
The four of us flew over to Kunming, the capitol of Yunnan Province in China. We stayed two nights there. We investigated with the provincial government education committee the possibilities of teaching English in Wenshan prefecture. When we went to the government compound in Kunming they did not let us talk to them, only our translator was allowed. She was the English teacher from Wenshan that Mark met a year previous. She then reported to us what they said. It seemed like the typical bureaucratic red tape and did not offer to us much hope for progress. Regardless we set off for Wenshan on a 10+ hour trip up into the mountains. Putting our confidence in the Lord we met with, over a meal, the principal of the secondary school, a vice-principal, the party secretary for the school and another official. After some initial tentativeness on their part, they indicated their favor for some form of joint effort.
The previous year when Mark went to China his efforts were hampered because of party opposition when he was found to be a Christian. This time with our presence of four and the interest we expressed, we found no party opposition. Upon going to the secondary school to see it, we encountered the director of education. He asked why we didn’t come to him. He looked with favor on our effort. He invited us out that night to a social event. We showed ourselves one with them in jovial camaraderie. During our stay there we were also invited to a much larger meeting. This is one they set up. It seemed they were interested. While Gus and I were sick and could not go, Bade and Bohde carried the ball superbly. The mayor and other officials were there and gave wholehearted support to our effort. There were perhaps 40-50 people there. Mark said that the results were beyond his fondest hopes. The Lord opens doors.
Negotiations still would have had to have been made. Mark went back in conjunction with renewal of visas to further discuss the effort. Because the local people were behind it, it seemed that any hindrance from provincial bureaucracy would have been overcome. But this never came about because we could not find support among us. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again?
Recent news reports out of China indicate that the 85 million members of the Communist Party there feel threatened by the supposed 100 million Christians in the country. Indications are that government pressure will be increased on Christians.
Here are some quotes from Hudson Taylor, missionary to China, a hundred years ago.
“God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him”
“The Great Commission1 is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed”
“If I had 1,000 lives, I’d give them all for China”
“God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him.”