Thursday, July 31, 2008

Interesting House Guests

So when the very random opportunity to host some people in our home presented itself this week, I figured I better put my house where my mouth is and use my stuff for kingdom purposes (a quote from a recent sermon i delivered). To top it all off - any hesitation I had in housing two Chinese folks traveling from Chicago to Niagra Falls - was trumped by the fact that all three of our kids were away for the night leaving three empty bedrooms available - OK God... I get it.

I thought they were missionaries, they weren't.
I thought they would speak English, it was pretty broken but we could still have a conversation.
I thought they were familiar with American culture and ideas, they were members of the communist party.

That's right. One guy was a mid-level communist government official in a northwest Chinese province. The other was his younger brother - a businessman in Shanghai. The older brother has been in the States for almost a year getting his masters degree in Business administration and the younger brother and sister had come to visit him and do some traveling before they all return to China.

We talked about everything from the free-market system, to physicalism/spiritualism/ dualism, to Taoism and Buddhism, to best practices in leading businesses and staffs of people, to family issues, to Jesus' love for the poor. It was a fascinating and mind-expanding few hours. Some of my favorite questions from them included:
  • how many children are you allowed to have?
  • how many square feet does the government allow your houses to be?
  • what career plans do you have for your children?
  • do you think people are only physical or do you think they have spirits?
  • who does the cooking in your home?
  • are 100% of Americans politically active because it seems like that's all they talk about?
  • how much did your house cost?
In the end we moved to spiritual matters - it was literally like watching the scales fall from someone's eyes. As we talked about Christianity as a world view and how it does a better job than any other world view in explaining the reality that we all live in, as we talked about the life of Jesus, and the principles of scripture the older brother (the government official) acknowledged the truth of Christianity. An amazing foundation had been laid by Chinese Oversees Christian Missions (COCM) with whom they were now traveling - but it seemed like our time reallyaffirmed in him the truth of Christianity and the trustworthiness of Jesus.

One of the more fascinating exchanges was between the brothers as the younger brother began to express concern over what would happen to the older brother if he began to talk about his new-found ideas in the workplace, etc. The older brother explained that Christianity is a better way - it influences the way you treat people and the way you make decisions and the way you go about your life, and that if he simply lived out his faith but didn't talk about it all the time, that his superiors would eventually see the truth and that it would begin to affect necessary change not just in his family, or in his department, but in China. It was amazing!

He pulled out a New Testament and asked for some guidance in how to go about reading it. I stayed up well into the night putting together some reading guides for him to follow and directing him to certain sections of Scripture that I thought would be helpful to him.

I asked if he had ever heard the story of Joseph - he said no. I told him that it would be a story of great interest to him because Joseph was a leader of his government and he had to walk the fine line of being a follower of the Most High God among people and systems that were unlike his own- he faced persecution and rejection from his family and others along the way - and still remained faithful to God and saw God's faithfulness expressed back to him. This gentleman could affect real change in China. I teased him that the communist government got more than they bargained for in that they had sent him to America for an education and he is coming back a Christian!

As we said goodbye early the following morning I realized that God had connected us in a sovereign way. The older brother expressed to me that life-change had occured in him because of our encounter. Same here.


Dave said...

What an incredible story. Wow.

Lora said...

I am ALWAYS amazed at the wonder of God's work! The people He places in our lives and the influence He allows us to be for His Kingdom is truly unbelievable. In my heart, I know He does not really need me to accomplish His purposes, but STILL He gives us the privilege of being part of His glorious plan. WOW!

jasonpauli said...

Holy Crap!

That's amazing!

I've got a buddy that's heavily invested over there I'm forwarding this to.