Friday, 24 July 2015

Huen La* seems pretty tentative at first.  ‘We are a new church, here to learn, please feel free to give feedback’.  But as I listen to his story I begin to think they have a lot to teach others already.

‘One day our church pastoral team found a household in chaos.  The man, Ni* was addicted to drugs and alcohol.  He had become so ill that he could no longer walk and his marriage was under huge strain.  Ni had such a bad relationship with the rest of the village that even in a time of crisis no one would help.

Our church members went and helped cook for the family and helped clean their house.  They gave some cups of rice and clothing.  One evening, when three church friends were on their way to visit him, a heavy rainstorm struck and the roof of the house was blown sideways.  Everything got soaked.  The church friends prayed with Ni and then helped him to find government help.  With some government support they were able to replace the roof so that the family could sleep and eat better.

Ni was very grateful saying “I am such a bad person, I had no friends to help me”.  The church friends continue to visit, love and encourage him.  ‘Now a remarkable change has taken place, his house is filled with neighbours’.  He is now able to use crutches and whenever he sees me on my motorbike he makes a major effort to walk out on his crutches to meet me.’

I wonder, am I willing to befriend those that no one else will?   

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

I think Wei is teasing me again.  He seems to imitate me talking then bursts into laughter.  He has a lively sense of humour which is captured in his nickname which means ‘handsome but naughty’!  Yet he has also shared with me the most moving story I have heard yet in China.  Wei tells me:

‘Two days after an HIV training I decided to put the training into action.  In the first family I visited the husband Tien* was in the last stages of AIDS.  Tien’s daughter was so afraid that she had run away but his wife Wa* had stayed.  The wider community shunned their household and warned me not to visit this family. 

When I did sit down with them Wa was deeply moved as no one had visited them for a long time. As she shared her heart with me tears ran down her cheeks.  I was so worried that I would speak wrongly.  I had 50 yen ($8) with me and I gave it to Tien.  As I did so he said ‘Sala’, meaning that he realised I was a pastor.  He held my hand and asked me to pray for him.  When I prayed he started to pray too and became put right again with God.

When he died all of his fellow villagers were too scared to help bury him.  Wa called me for help.  I asked church members from my village, which is nearby, to help and they came.  Seeing their example some of Tien’s fellow villagers joined in’.

How did Tien, as he lay dying, come to know that God still loved him?  It was because one of God’s people, Wei, overcame his fear and became Jesus holding his hand.  Who do you and I need to be Jesus to?  Perhaps it’s to someone nobody else loves.   

*Name changed to protect privacy.