History of Our First 3 Years in China
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Our Entry Into China
We entered China sometime in 2000 crossing over one of the land borders. After some travelling, we eventually arrived in a huge city of 12 million people. Almost immediately we felt overwhelmed! At that time in China, foreigners were still a novelty especially ‘inland’. Most people wanted to be ‘your friend’ and practice their English.
The Lord led us to a part of the city and a three-bedroom apartment which was virtually next door to the prestigious university. We stayed at this place for well over three years and loved every minute of it. The Lord gave us such wonderful landlords who were from a small town in eastern China and they received Jesus Christ in their lives and became good friends to us.
A few of our neighbors, notably a 35 year old business man ‘Jerome’ and his wife ‘Katrina’, were also very close to us. (Many of the Chinese under 40 years old have English names which they choose themselves. I have chosen to use their English names in this chapter). We visited them almost daily and ate with them often in various places in our neighborhood. It was always with such joy that we saw our friends and any Chinese accept the Word of God. Almost seven hundred of them during this three year time came to know Jesus.
At Christmas times our apartment was always filled to overflowing with students and young people and business people. It was a great joy to experience the hungry hearts of many Chinese for the Word of God and the warmth of the Holy Spirit flowing through us at that time. Truly it was harvest time!
Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
Through our friendship with our wealthy neighbour, Jerome--spoken of above, local people seemed to accept us, as ‘Guanxi’ (who you know/relations with) or ‘Mianzi’ (face or image) which is vital in China. Nobody bothered us as we were ‘under the protection’ of a rich man just by reason of being his friends.
We conducted hundreds of Bible studies in our apartment, but usually never more than two people visiting at the same time, who could be assumed by outsiders to be ‘having an English class’. On Sundays, about four or five people came, but arriving at slightly staggered times. When all were present we sang (quietly) read the Word of God and prayed for others and ourselves and learned to pray to Jesus and know Him better.