Thanks to my friend Chris Mac I am reading this book called, The Heavenly Man. The HPSM interns are reading it this year...so now I can feel like I am an intern even though I am in another country.
Anyway, this book is amazing. It is about this Chinese Pastor who risked everything to spread the gospel in China. He was starved, beaten, imprisoned, hunted, hated, despised, and rejected by the very people whom he was trying to love.
This book is heavy, no doubt about it. It is the kind of book that will either wake you up to the plight of Christians around the world or totally desensitize you. One paragraph will include a story about the Heavenly Man being beaten, many Christians being executed and then will talk about the joy of the Lord in a way that will totally rip your heart out.
I was reading the other night, by flashlight. I was feeling quite like a missionary since our power was knocked out by the rain. I read a line that just, well, put me in my place. Brother Yun, the pastor writing the book, was recounting a time when he was traveling the country evangelizing in house churches. It all seemed so exciting...hiding in caves, running from the law, winning countless souls for Christ. Until he opened my eyes to the reality of his circumstances.
He said...our hair was unkempt, our clothes were torn, people despised us and thought we were the scum of the earth. Ok, talk about a reality check. He wasn't touring the country side with a state of the art tour bus. He wasn't eating good food prepared by hospitality teams. He wasn't using the best mics and sound systems. He didn't even have a good pair of hiking boots.
He barely survived that part of his journey. He was actually turned away by the family that was supposed to take him in because the police were looking for him. He and his coworkers almost froze to death in the icy winter weather. They hadn't eaten in days and didn't even have a blanket for cover. But they sang songs of praise through chattering teeth and clung to Christ because He was all they had.
So I wasn't feeling quite so adventurous anymore. I had a fridge full of food. The power came back on after like 3 hours. I had 2 blankets on my bed and I was wearing a pair of warm socks. wow, talk about a wake up call.
Brother Yun, was later caught by the police, beaten, nearly starved to death, and shocked with electric batons before he even reached the prison where he was to be tortured so that he would reveal the names of the Christians and coworkers for Christ in the province.
Through all of this, he had compassion on those who tortured him. He loved his captors. He fasted for them and prayed for their salvation.
I don't know what happens next, because I had to stop reading. I had to ask for forgiveness. I had to repent. I will finish the book. I don't know how long it will take me but I will keep reading. I will write some more about this I am sure.
The Lord is speaking and I want to listen to Him.