I have realized God did not call you to this alone—he has also called me. I see the flood of God’s salvation in our marriage and in our lives, and I see his plan and will in us. I have experienced the beauty of the Holy Spirit dancing with me. I have finally learned how to pray. The Holy Spirit himself is leading me.
For the first time since coming to China, I was able to actually go inside a KTV. In my city, KTV’s are highly guarded by the mafia, and there is no way to get in. We are only able to approach those who work inside by going to make-up shops and hair salons as they prepare for work. But in this city, the KTV scene operates differently, so we were able to walk freely into the KTVs to see our friends inside. I walked up the stairs to one and saw a line of women sitting at the top of the stairs, waiting for customers to arrive. The place was seedy—full of tacky pictures on sound-proof, padded walls, and smelling of alcohol, cigarettes and sweat. I spoke to a few girls. My friend told me that one of the girls I spoke to has her mother working as a cleaner at the KTV. “Her mother sees her here?” I thought. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around that.
The purpose of adoption is not because we need a child, nor to satisfy ourselves. It is God’s calling for our family to take this child in and bring this child to God. Many have shared with me about the challenges and difficulties of adoption. I know it is not easy. But we believe that, as God has called us to adopt, he will also provide the strength and grace we need. I also believe that this child, including our family, will become a walking witness. When people see this child, they will be reminded that we were all orphans, but now we are taken-in by God, becoming his children.
On the outside China seems like any other modern country…But underneath the veneer of modernity and high-tech gadgets, the government still wields incredible control over individuals’ lives. In this big brother type of surveillance state it is risky to be a Christian. It is well known that in recent years, persecution against any group that is deemed a threat to the government has been systematically targeted and been subject to a major crackdown—Buddhists, Uyghurs, and Christians. This fact is felt acutely by the locals. The difference between us in the West and them is this persecution is normal and they have always found ways to remain faithful and thrive.
In the midst of such challenge, I could not pray, “Thy will be done.” I was anxious I would become bitter and resent God. I was afraid I would not be able to bear the call of suffering. I was like a warrior trembling on the battlefield with a sword. I tried to cheer myself, but God only showed me my own cowardice and how scary the enemy is. Yet, when I finally confronted the enemy with fear and trembling, I found the trumpet of victory had been blown, and the enemy had turned into clouds of smoke.
Our organization focuses on creating relational space for women in ministry, encouraging them to engage a robust gospel that frees them to embrace and to live their truest identity…Knowing so little about Chinese culture, let alone the intricacies of the many ethnicities and micro-cultures represented, I couldn’t fathom how effective our training would be. I would be asking women to donate their trust, to share stories of wounding, to begin tracing the thread of redemption through their own journeys, to listen to one another without trying to fix them, and most importantly, to consider how the truths of the gospel affect their daily living. Oh yeah, and I didn’t speak Mandarin!
I asked them to wait for me at the door. Then I went into a room and prayed with my son. I gathered my nine-month-old baby’s things, changed my clothes, and took my two sons to the police car. Praise the Lord! My son and I sang hymns the whole way and were very joyful.
Honorable Mayor, I am just an ordinary citizen who believes in Jesus. I am raising my children according to the teachings of Jesus in a small corner of this city over which you govern. It is my hope that they will grow up to be good citizens. We love this city, but when I encounter these illegal things, I cannot help but be concerned. I don’t know when the door of my house will suddenly be illegally pried open and my personal safety and that of my property threatened…May you be a ruler who rewards good and punishes evil!
Chinese culture emphasizes good works. Believers have a tendency to focus on works but ignore grace, and so undermine the importance of our relationship with God. Counseling is helping them to ponder how their theology is connected with God…How can we understand our struggles—our situation—in a more biblical way? How can we use what God has given to us to address marriage, parenting, depression?
Their life is not richer or deeper or better than mine or than yours. But it is different, and the challenges they face are not ones the Lord has laid before those of us in the free world. Learn from them. Know them. Support them. Most of all, pray for them. Love them.
They are my sisters, and they are yours. May your life, as mine, be deeper and richer for its intersection with China.