During their time in China, our teachers look for opportunities to make the acquaintance of people beyond the Christians we instruct. One of our teachers tells this story.
After a noodle lunch I went for a walk. My translator and I stopped to sit in a tree-lined park, a quiet respite from the noise and bustle of this huge city. As people walked by I practiced my Mandarin. “Ni hao,” I’d say. (If one says it right, that means hello).
I got great responses from lots of people. Actually, raising their curiosity level was easy. For one thing, it’s unusual to find Westerners in many parts of China. It’s more unusual to find Westerners who are outgoing enough to try to say hello.
An opportunity to sow gospel seeds
Two children who were learning English in school stopped to chat. They and their mother spent nearly an hour with us. Besides giving them an opportunity to practice speaking American English, God gave us an opportunity to practice sharing the gospel.
They were grateful for our time together. When the family was leaving, they asked if we would come back the next day to talk more.
Then to pray for those seeds to germinate
Unfortunately, the community was experiencing some upset over a factory that wanted to manufacture dangerous chemicals there. The government had brought in security officers to tamp down any protests. That meant a Westerner talking with people would raise unwanted suspicions. We would not take a chance – a second day in a row – on calling that much attention to ourselves.
But I am very excited about having met this family. I pray that our visit will pay eternal benefit for them.