I WAS SITTING in the sun outside the house yesterday when this neighbor came by for a chat. I invited her to sit on the chair next to me and asked her where she was from. She told me she and her mother were born here, and that her grandparents came from China. I told her I visited China a few yeas ago. Her eyes lit up. She had never been there. Then I told her my story, and when I finished it, she was still speechless on the edge of the chair. “This is so amazing,” she whispered after a while. “And so encouraging.” While watching as she was departing, I knew I had to write it down. My friends, you are the first recipients to read it. With some of you I traveled to China and made memories for a lifetime. Here I’m writing my story the way I experienced it. Because of a few good reasons, I will not be very specific about particular dates, locations and names. I know you’ll understand. Get your coffee and come on board.
NO, THANK YOU
I knew that would happen, but I thought this time it would not be so obvious. The moment I took a sit on the bench, my burgundy lather jacket squeaked. Hopefully the AC would be loud enough to cover my every move, I thought. Because with every move I made, the lather voiced my presence in the sanctuary.
The worship team finished their rehearsal and I sat there praying. A few dear friends filled the pew where I was and only moments before the service, the church was full. I loved my church. That was the second family for me and my children since we’ve immigrated to the US from Romania. After a few years in America, my children spread to different locations and now I was here by myself, but not lonely. I had so many good friends at NewportMesa.
After the worship time and the announcements, I was waiting for the sermon when one member of the mission board came forward with some news.
“We are taking a team to China this year,” he said “and maybe you want to be part of it.”
The second half of that statement sounded so funny to me that I started to laugh. I covered my mouth and tilted my head so people would not see me laughing at such a serious matter. Going to China on a mission wasn’t something to laugh about.
I had lived under the communist regime for 30 years and China was the last place on earth I had a desire to go.
“Bon voyage, and no, thank you, ” I said in my mind. This thought was pretty rude, and I hoped I would get away with it. God knew our sufferings and danger under the same political system as China.
I barely finished my answer when I felt these words impressed on my heart, “You go.”
There was no way that God would corner me like that, I thought and dismissed them.
Meanwhile, the person on the platform was giving out specific numbers about the date when the team would leave, and when the first chunk of money had to come in in order to secure a spot.
Haha! There were about $6,400 for each person and most of those money were to buy Bibles for the Chinese churches. My job that time couldn’t support such expenses and we people were supposed to raise up their own support. “Lord, this is on You if You want me to go. You provide.”
I left it there because I had enough experience living a life of faith in Jesus to push it my way.
You could have seen I wasn’t excited to go on a mission trip to China, but I didn’t want others to be discouraged by my ideas. As I had to share about this plan with my family and my close friends, I kept my doubts between me and the Lord. So, I started to pray. My heart softened, and one day I talked to my employer that the following year I needed two weeks off for my trip.
Sandy, a lady I was pretty close to was visiting with our landlord often. She came to me one day and said, “When I heard that you are going to China, I decided to go as well. You inspired me.” I felt embarrassed to be kept in such regard on no merit and I told her the truth about Who made me decide to go. Anyway, a few weeks had passed by and I have sent no letters to people to sponsor me, while the other 11 or so members of the team were focused and devoted to raise every single penny. Which I was not.
-to be continued-
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