As our first day in China started with unexpectedly losing one of our team members, we needed our hearts and minds to be healed. How could we encourage others when we were so down? Healing takes time and that we didn’t have there.
Wounded and shaking, we continued our journey, trusting God and His word that says, “When I am weak, he is strong n me.”
Once again we realized that we were not heroes riding white horses to grandiosely help people in need. We were a group of feeble people, available to be used as messengers of the Good News.
When we came down from the city wall’s ruins, we met the group who prayed and worked with us behind the scene. The way they ministered to us, their love and compassion, started to restore our souls. We wept and they wept with us and comforted us.
There was a lot to do and we needed to go. A big van was waiting for us in the parking lot and we headed towards to the printing house. That was where we had to pick up the Bibles we had bought.
It was right after the Romanian Revolution in 1989 when the modest two story building that used to be our church, was transformed into a printing house. A few Christian business men from Switzerland came and recruited five or six Romanians from our church to take them to their country and train them as printers. My husband was one of them and after he came back, that gave me the chance to go and visit his new workplace anytime. Christian books and magazines printed in a former communist country started to fill up the rooms and then to take on the roads to the bookstores in every city.
It was such a feeling of liberation to not look over your shoulder when you had a Christian book in your hand. Several Christian magazines recruited me to write for them, and our publications reached Republic of Moldavia, Austria and other places in Europe with Romanian speakers. It was such a great victory of freedom of speech.
A group of Chinese officials gave us a tour of a large, amazing factory, a place using the most modern printing technology. A few workers were taking care of a great production of books. I understood that everybody there had to put many hours before our coming just to show us the best of the best. As I recollect, the entire typography was printing only books in English. At least during our visit. The huge rolls of paper were transformed in Bibles under our eyes. It was so impressive to see the Word of God published in Chinese language that I started to weep. We strolled hall after hall, took tens of pictures and couldn’t stop marveling. I saw great satisfaction and pride on the Chinese leaders’s faces. All their effort was bringing the fruit they worked for. Americans admired them.
That day triggered memories of Ceausescu’s visits in factories, at the common agricultural farms and everywhere he went. There was absolutely forbidden to present something as good as 99%. The leaders and the communist administration of the factories, schools, hospitals, and shops had to show extravagance to a ridiculous point. Everything had to show abundance and prosperity.
On a late day of autumn, Ceausescu was riding in an official car and passed by an apple orchard. He saw that the trees didn’t have fruit, since the fruit was already picked. He verbalized his displeasure. “Under our communist leadership, all the orchards should be full of fruit.” Nobody had the courage to tell him that the apples were in the store rooms. During his stop for lunch, his staff sent an urgent word to the orchard farm managers ahead to do something about that. So, the communists from that region gathered soldiers, students and people from the villages for a grandiose project. They brought apples in trailers and had the people tie them up in the trees by the road. Ceausescu was very pleased to see that orchards under his command were full of fruit.
We went back to the city almost at dinner time and took a short stop to the hotel to take a shower and get dressed for dinner. In a couple of days we were to be split in groups of two or three and, accompanied by an interpreter, to be sent somewhere in the vast China. We were to distribute the Bibles to churches. The excitement took over our mourning. The mission we came for started to take shape and we were grateful.
-to be continued-
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