15 Nov
Different Movements - Month 10

Why yes we did make it through China and into Kazakhstan. Praise the Lord! With trains, planes, and automobiles, Jesus makes every movement an adventure if we’re willing to embrace it. In reality I can’t begin to describe all we’ve been through these past few weeks nor all the ways I saw God move but here’s a glimpse into what’s been happening.

Spending a total of 12 days in China we lived most of them out in a town called Xi’an with only a few in another place called Lanzhou. The limited time we had in China was itself an answered prayer and a better experience than I had my last go around. Hallelujah! Arriving in Xi’an we settled into the basement of our hostel where another team of our squad had been staying. It was a joy to have a few days with them and I spent the first couple having one on one time that produced fruit of action and honesty. In addition to those conversations my team and I experienced broken barriers one night as we came together for check ins that strengthened unity and cleared the air. Praise Jesus for the deepened relationships that came from that conversation. I can still feel the aftermath of those words and the echoes of love they’re vibrating. How grand!

All these discussions and all this movement wasn’t confined to the unity of our squad either. Holy Spirit broke out of the familiarity of our family and poured out into the streets of community as well. I was privileged to make acquaintance with one friendly local who agreed to sit down and talk with me even though he was a little unsure of what I wanted. We came together one night and two more of his friends joined us. Thankfully Jesus used that time to introduce Himself in a new way to these guys. With my interest in sharing to one guy, the Lord was interested in sharing with another, and He even brought a cop to the table at one point to hear the Good News of Christ. Side note: Normally I’d have no reservations about sharing with anyone but I’m not going to lie when that cop sat down in China my nerves shook a little. I became momentarily hesitant but proceeded with the Truth of God’s love and the unashamed proclamation that He is the way the truth and the life. An hour or so into our conversation the cop had left and I was invited by my new friends to a special tea room, served the finest, and then given an abundance to take away. Sipping slowly and enjoying the company, one of my new friends said, “No one ever told me about Jesus before. I like it.” In that moment I felt honored and joyous to participate in new light. Lord please continue to send my new friends people of faith who are sensitive to Your Spirit with a leading to share who You are. After that night there was limited time left but a couple smaller interactions were had and I believe these guys experienced visible realities of heaven. Praise God!

Moving next to Lanzhou, my team and I were there for three full days. In this time we were blessed with a beautiful two bedroom apartment (each with its own fan) on the fifteenth floor. This was quite the transition coming from a hostel basement where mosquitos flew rampant and my skin suffered nightly because of them. Oy veh! Though we got to rest here and I felt at peace, there were no strong connections readily made and I wanted people to hear Jesus loved them. This desire led to Holy Spirit and I buying twelve long stemmed red roses, meeting up with a teammate, and praying for guidance on who to give them to. After some time, a few roses were handed out and I hadn’t felt the pull towards anyone in particular until I saw Snow. Snow was walking quickly, headed in the opposite direction, clearly upset, and heavily crying. I ran towards her with rose in hand, stopped her, and told her “Yesu ai ni,” (Jesus loves you). Suddenly I saw her sorrow turn to joy. She smiled, laughed, and tried to engage in conversation with the little English she knew. After repeating “Yesu ai ni” a couple of times Snow finally asked, “me?” I assured her a yes in response and asked if I could pray for her. Snow gladly accepted and then allowed, following up with an invitation to her home. I explained how my friend was with me and we still had a bunch of roses to hand out so I had to politely decline. She asked at least three more times, all to which I said not right now and all to which I partly regret. Yes I know that Jesus will continue to pursue her, yes I know her story of salvation is not finished, but I can’t help to think I missed out on something beautiful that day. Maybe something life changing. Regardless of my regretful feelings, I still believe I did see something beautiful that day. Perhaps something was life changing and now I have to choose to focus on what did happen instead of what didn’t, like meeting a deaf woman after Snow who received a rose and was gestured into hearing Jesus loved her. Such beauty!

The next morning we headed to the Chinese airport to make our way towards Kazakhstan for a mini-debrief where the whole squad would once again be together. During our layover Holy Spirt gave same thought to different people allowing for conversation of encouragement, discovery, and higher callings. Taking heed to those supportive challenges, further talks were inspired that were difficult yet fruitful. I spent 3 days making time for tough exchanges back to back and experienced greater relationships because of them. It’s funny how the hard things that need to be said often grow deep intimacy. When not participating in the difficult ones I had engagements of pleasure which was gladly exhaustive. By the end of mini-debrief I was drained on all fronts. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I desperately needed to decompress and took one afternoon to spend time with Jesus, engage in depth with His word, and let Him nourish me back to standing. Thankfully He did and in just that later half of the day gave me 85% of what I was missing. Give praise!

Exciting and busy things have happened since being in Kazakhstan. I’ve met a few locals who God is clearly pursuing by allowing me to love them where they are as if I’ve known them forever. I started to form relationships in the English clubs we’re hosting, learned a little Russian, and am learning how to balance dying to self with taking what I need for myself. Month three has been quite the journey so far. I’ve felt the struggle of irritations, hardships, and unsettlement. We’ve moved three times in two weeks, I was once again eaten alive (this time by bed bugs), and had all my belongings covered with pest poison. I’ve seen disregard and overwhelmed emotions. I’ve experienced loneliness and frustration. I’ve been confused and tired. But through this all it’s been an adventure! I’ve been exposed to fresh insights and had edifying conversation. I’ve seen consideration and peace. I’ve experienced love and satisfaction. I’ve had clarity and felt alive.

There’s been this lingering gloomy thought that month three would be difficult for me. That there would be obstacles to overcome, trials encountered, and tempting distractions. With this type of thinking making itself evident, I can’t help but veer off into the goodness of Christ and His sufficiency of grace. God has faithfully reminded me that even if things do get tough, He’s right there in it. His light overcomes darkness and redirection can be a better destination than where I was headed to in the first place. Thank You Lord for Your kind and gentle lessons. For sending recognizable angels and making every place home. I pray that learning would reflect glory and that Your name would be forever highly exalted! In hallelujah’s I praise You Father. Kumbaya and amen!

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