On my first week back at my large Chinese fellowship I attend on Sundays they were celebrating the fourth anniversary of their English program (as part of one of the legal established groups in the city). The fellowship is located in the university district of Beijing and some Chinese local leaders decided it would be a good investment to start an English service to attract these university students. What began as a mere 100 people four years ago is now a group of over 1000 attending each Sunday. Many people remain standing because they can’t find a seat. Contemporary style music and vibrant speakers, many from around the world (including Josh McDowell last spring), are what make this service set apart from the other Chinese services. And it keeps growing.
On that first Sunday back in China, completely unsuspecting of the way things would transpire, I walked into the building and heard my name. It was a familiar voice I’ve known for years. Walking towards me was one of the student leaders for the service—and my closest Chinese sister!! She had just moved to Beijing a few months before. She was one of the very very first students that I worked with and studied with in my very first couple of years in China- seven years ago! I have seen her grow and struggle and experience trials no girl her age should ever have to experience. I have seen her develop into a real leader. Someday she’s going to impact her world in some great ways. This is a girl that knew me from my first days in China and continues to know me still. And here she is in Beijing! My joy knew no bounds that day as I was surprisingly reunited with my sister.
It’s nice to have a real friend here in this city who knows that part of me that people here just don’t. We’ve been able to hang out a lot and remember the good times. I’ve heard from her about some of the students in our world from back then, their journeys, and how some of them have since come to embrace Life.
This girl has been a catalyst in that- all because someone once invested in her. We have no idea the expanding effect of the seeds that are planted and the watering and nurturing that follows, but I tell you, it’s a real joy when you sometimes do get to see the budding fruit. And I thought to myself- “as futile as this work seems sometimes, like a drop in the ocean- if I can sum up my whole eight years in China to this one girl then that would have been enough. It simply would have been enough.