It was convenient that we had a van available and didn’t rely on the public transportation. Although, we were ready to do whatever would have taken to fulfill our mission.
I walked out of the hotel a few minutes early. The heat made me gasp for air for a moment. Not far down the street there was a bus station, and people were waiting. A few of them were sitting on the pavement. I walked up and down the sidewalk by our hotel to see firs hand this area of the city.
It was interesting that, from my perspective, all the people looked alike. Of course I knew who was a woman and who was a man, but that was it.
Years ago I remembered there was a celebration at one of the Romanian churches in my new home, California. I asked a couple of American friends to take me there. They gave me a ride and we all went to the big room where the guests were. When one of these friends stepped inside and looked around the room, he turned to me and said, “Here are many Rodicas.” I didn’t understand what he was talking about. “Why are you saying that?” I asked. His answer surprised me. “Because all these Romanian ladies look like you.”
On a side of that bus station there were two-three people selling vegetables on a paper on the ground. The few men there were smoking. One young woman was eating a chicken foot.
I went back to the hotel and met with our small team on the steps outside. The white car with the two communist agents was there, with the windows rolled down. They knew our schedule in detail and kept closely in touch with our interpreter on the phone. They were doing their job, we were doing ours.
The van pulled in and we got in, wiping off the sweat. I assumed that the driver was appointed by the local communist leaders, as a back-up for what was going on. The authorities kept an eye on us through the interpreter, the driver and the communists from the white car, and the driver had to watch the interpreter. The fact that we couldn’t speak Chinese and the other three couldn’t speak English must have been a relief for the government since it was forbidden to maintain personal contact with our Chinese brothers and sisters.
It was a short ride for about 10 minutes, and we stopped in front of a big edifice that reminded me of my high school’s or of a college building here in the US. Three ladies were waiting us in front of it. The moment I stepped out the car and I saw them smiling and coming to greet us with open arms, I felt an incredible love for them. We fell in each other’s arms and we found ourselves weeping from joy. I don’t exaggerate when I say that the immediate connection between us was supernatural. Arm in arm, we walked inside the building, while the two men from the white car took a seat on the low fence, and lit their cigarettes.
In the beginning I thought they would shadow us everywhere, but I was surprised to see them waiting for us on that little patio. Then I understood that there was at least one person in the group of the church leaders we were going to meet who was the government’s informer.
I looked at the pastor while she walked a step ahead. A woman in her forties with a short hair and a tired smile. Simple and silky, the green short sleeve dress went down over her knees, and I could tell that was a special outfit. The sandals, brown and square, were made of plastic. She showed us the way to the room next to the hall and stretched her arm. “This is our Christian bookstore,” the interpreter translated her words. Then she continued, “Every church in our city has a nice bookstore. People can buy Christian books here.” We found out later that the books were very expensive, and people bought food instead of books.
-to be continued-
CHECK OUT Rodica Iova’s “Three Supernatural Visions.”