Thursday, January 14, 2010
This picture was taken just 3 weeks ago the day after my plane arrived in Hong Kong. The city sky line and Victorian Harbor is in the background. Our youngest son, Aaron lives about two hours away from Hong Kong and goes there often. He has been in China for six years. It was such a blessing to see him again and awfully hard to say good bye when we returned home last week. But, God's grace is always sufficient when we are in His will and living out His plan for our lives.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
(Pictured above: Me with my son Aaron Sunday night down a dark narrow alley standing in front of a "closed" registered church in China).
My wife and I are presently on our final two days on what is my second visit to China. It was not that we just had a bag of extra money and tons of free time on our hands that brought us here. Basically, there were two main motivators which caused us to borrow money and come to China for the Christmas and New Year's Holiday. First, we have a son who was commissioned to come to this country six years ago, and he lives here. We have not seen Aaron for a year, and he could not come home for Christmas. Secondly, God gave us peace that we were to make this trip.
The truth is that even though Aaron is surrounded by millions of Asian people, he still gets home sick for his family and friends from the States. If the Lord ever moves one of your children or grandchildren half way around the world to serve Him, I know you would want to do the same thing we did.
Although these are the main reasons Coletta and I went to China, God used this trip in many other ways to really grip our hearts. I have seen thousands of needy people. A few days ago was New Year's Day. Our son took us to a nice restaurant, a foot massage, then, we walked to a huge supermarket up town about 3 stories high to pick up a few groceries. Every ounce of the escalators' both going up and coming down were packed shoulder to shoulder with Asian people. When we left the store to cross the busy city streets of Dongguan City (population, 7 million), It was like the whole town of Van Wert was all crossing the same road at the same time. As our side of the "crowd" hit the street at the flashing of the green light and "walk" sign, so did the other side. Most all of these people need the Lord, have never heard about salvation, and most have never seen a Bible.
The adrenaline rush (to me anyway) New Year's Day was what I would think the Knights in Shining Armor must have felt when they were meeting in the center of a battlefield with their enemy. Only here, we just all walked right by each other. Hundreds at the same time! Everyone we meet here seems very gentle, and non-violent. When we walked forever trying to find a taxi on this first of the year Chinese Holiday, I told Aaron, "I would even ride a city bus to get back to your apartment!" Until I looked up and saw a city bus and it looked so full I would think one would be squeezed to death inside. We walked the city streets all the way to our son's apartment. This is the place God has placed our youngest son. He has been here six years now.
And then, there's the "Fellowships." Last Wed. night I was asked to give my testimony of salvation at the fellowship where Aaron attends. With the help of an interpreter, I also briefly explained some principles from the Bible. I asked if any desired to know the details of these principles for their lives to stay after the service was dismissed and I would stay at the building to talk with them. 18 young adults stayed for over an hour, and when Aaron had to turn the lights out, the people didn't want to stop hearing the Word of God.
This past Sunday, Aaron took us to an ALL KOREAN Church, where the whole service (music and message was all in the Korean language. (about 300 people). Sunday afternoon, we went to the Fellowship where our son lives, and listened to someone else preach. The song service was in both English and Chinese, and Coletta and I stand there crying as we watched and listened and sensed the sincerity of faith in their singing.
At the conclusion of the service (they stand around and fellowship for about an hour after church is dismissed). I listened to 2 boys and 2 girls who are university students who started coming going to this "Fellowship" as the result of the English Corner Class Aaron's group goes to every Tues. night at the University. The two girls I Interviewed just received HIM, one in Nov and the other on Christmas Eve while we were here. One night I want to show our church these brief testimonies. They ride a bus one way over an hour from another city to come hear the Word of God, and they are thrilled to do it!
Anyway, I think my wife and I needed this trip much more than Aaron did. In church ministry, the sinful depraved nature in all of us as believers (especially in the American culture) seems to constantly gravitate towards being "inward centered." I struggle with this constantly. At church, it's all about "what we want." It's "our church, our class, our teacher, our pastor, our building, and it's all for us!" If "our agenda" gets derailed, we pout and want to take our toys and go home!
I get so drained and empty after trying to help people with life's problems and the every day stress of the ministry, that getting away to get a fresh vision and fresh oil from the Lord is a must for me. This trip was my "Pastor's Seminar" and "Continued Education Course!"
So, God used our 2009 - 2010 trip to China for all of the above. I will return to Van Wert and to Liberty with more spiritual fire and passion. I have been firmly reminded of "why I am here" and why the "church is here." So once again, Jesus has brought me back to a proper balance with a Christ centered focus. Now, due to this trip, our church, class, teachers, pastor, and yes, the building is all about Jesus and others.
Thank you Jesus for letting Coletta and I go visit our son and see his city and place of service. I hope Aaron and his "Fellowship Friends" were as encouraged in our coming as we have been in visiting them!
Today, we weathered the subways, went across the border, looked back after crossing into Hong Kong and saw a tall barbed wire fence and a long "mote" which divides Communism from "Freedom." I could see a red Communist flag waving in the distance flying over a tall building. Aaron took two days off for some R and R, and to bring us to the Hong Kong Airport. We are staying in a hotel close to the airport. Aaron will see us off Wed. night your time, send us to the airport, and take the subway back to China, (alone).
Please pray for his safety as he returns to mainland China, and ours as we fly home.
Thanks for your love and support.
Jim C. Burns, Sr. Pastor
Liberty Baptist Church
(Typing from Hong Kong)