I have had many friends travel overseas in the past year or so. Many people come back with amazing stories, postcard-perfect photos, and stories of lives changed. Although I brought back all of those as well, I would like to share a few reflections I’ve had of my overall experience. This is as much for me as it is to share with others.
In a word, I’d say China was about connections. Flight connections, language (verbal or nonverbal) connections, holiday connections, friend connections with many new people, but most of all, connecting with humanity.
Although I may have been raised without a touch of Mandarin, the Chinese people spoke to me beyond the language barrier, through the eyes of God. It’s not that they are Chinese, this isn’t about race- I don’t think God differentiates. It’s about immortal beings who are given the choice as we all are to know and follow our Creator, or to not do so.
We often laughed at the same things, wanted to know each other’s backgrounds, wanted to hang out and have fun… but when it came down to the tough questions, I was comforted by the fact that they were questions common to humanity. God isn’t limited by them.
“What made you follow Yesu (Jesus)?”
“How long have you believed?”
“Does your family fight because of your faith?”
“How does following Yesu change your life?”
It was challenging, but sweet to share the love I have known for most of my life. As I shared with some of my friends, if you go into a situation assuming you have nothing in common with someone, chances are you’ll never find common ground. However, if you meet someone and know that, at some level, you are very much alike because of your humanity, I can almost guarantee you won’t run out of things in common or conversation.
I wouldn’t say I’m overly attracted to China as a whole in a long-term sense, but I’m keeping an open mind. I know better than to make plans. They need many more people and prayers, and it’s so easy to share! I would consider it if I were you. Just remember they’re people- people who may not otherwise receive a chance to learn truth.
As for me, I learned that I have a long way to go. China revealed a lot about my character and heart that I wasn’t initially very fond of, but I am glad to have my eyes opened to new things to work on. China was hard. It was also good. It was growth.