Thursday, September 1, 2011

Far Into The East: Intro

When my group returned from our short mission trip in China, we were asked if we wanted to submit a trip testimony for the missionary's blog (found here). The following is what I submitted:
“How was China?”

Since returning home, I’ve heard this question many times. Even though it is the simplest of questions, it has been one of the hardest for me to answer. How do you summarize a two week, life-changing trip? As I thought about China, I realized what had impacted me most.

It wasn’t the food.

It wasn’t the Great Wall, Tienamen Square, or the Dragon Tower.

It wasn’t even the surprisingly eventful fourteen hour layover in the Tianjin airport.

What impacted me the most were the Chinese people.

One morning, after we arrived in Harbin, I was reading in Mark 6, “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them…” I don’t know how many times I’ve skimmed this verse and never comprehended its meaning. Being in China shed new light on it.

One of the men from our group made the remark, “You know, in DC you can go from a crowded area to somewhere quiet, but here… you just move from one crowd to the next.” Everyday we spent the majority of our time with people – students from the university, children from the church’s apartment complex, and leaders from Omega. We passed out tracks and flyers, shared our testimonies one-on-one, and helped put on a VBS. The only alone time we had was in the shower.

Our visit to the Je Li Buddhist Temple also helped bring Mark 6:34 into perspective. That particular morning, our group had been singing hymns and passing out gospel tracts on the steps to the temple. As we entered, I was stunned. Going from worshiping the only true God to watching ritualistic obeisance to false idols was sobering. As we walked along, we grew quieter. At one point, we were stopped and motioned to the side as a long line of monks – men, women, and children wholly dedicated to Buddhism – passed us while chanting. In that moment, I understood.

…and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

I was watching a literal march to Hell.

There I stood, crying, weak, and insufficient. These people had dedicated their life to finding truth and enlightenment and I, a daughter of the Truth and the Light, could not tell them where to find it.

It has been two weeks since I “saw” China. God is still teaching me lessons from my trip. It was difficult to leave knowing that there is work to be done for God. But I am thankful. The trip gave me a greater appreciation for freedom to share Christ in the US. It helped me understand that this world is not my true home, heaven is. And most of all, it opened my eyes and gave me a compassion and desire to see, not just China, but the whole world reached with the Truth and the Light of the Gospel.

So the next time someone asks me, “How was China?”, I will answer with this: it was something that you need to see for yourself.

(Original Source)
If you want to read the rest of the groups' testimonies, you can find them under the "Testimony" tag. I'll be updating more often with the start of school, and will be starting a few series. This post will be the first of my series about my journey in China.

What about you all? I would love to hear about your experiences from your own mission trips.
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