An important part of preaching the gospel effectively is being sensitive to opportunities. An excellent example of this is the current global village economy, where rapidly growing economies import labor from other countries to fill their needs.
Every month, thousands of Filipinos leave the Manila airport on their way to be overseas guest workers. Christian leaders in the Philippines realize that these workers are being allowed into places where missionaries would not be permitted, and they provide mission training to as many overseas workers as possible.
Among those who are now spreading the gospel in China are a couple we will call Mary and Jesse. They had a deep desire to reach parts of China where the gospel has not penetrated.
They were given an opportunity to go to China on a one-month tourist visa. At the end of the month, in order to obtain an extension, Jesse had to become a student. Although he had very little money, he sought enrollment in one of the universities. God gave favor, and he and Mary were granted student visas. Jesse enrolled in classes in Chinese language studies. Extra funds had to be spent for the visa upgrade as well as for mandatory medical examinations.
Getting started in mission
Mary and Jesse spent those first months waiting on God, in prayer, to see how he would open doors for them to reach people around them with the gospel. The area where they were working was home to more than 20 ethnic minorities.
At first Mary and Jesse went to universities, parks and public places to build friendships with the Chinese people. They invited them to their apartment. When they had enough people, they began an “English Corner.” The group grew. After several meetings, they were able to determine that most of the group was open to reading the Bible, and they converted the English Corner into a small group Bible study.
Newcomers continued to show up. To keep numbers small and reduce the risk of being reported to the authorities for conducting private meetings, they started an additional group on a different day of the week.
Blessed in China
God continued to bless and encourage them. Mary had become pregnant, and their resources had dwindled down to about a two-week’s budget. They transferred to a new apartment with nothing inside except for a small dining table and a bed. However, Jesse wanted to continue to host people in their apartment.
On one occasion they were expecting more than 15 people, and they did not have a sofa. They reasoned that it would be more affordable to purchase an inexpensive carpet, and the guests could sit on the floor. Jesse measured the floor and calculated that they would need about $36 to cover the living room.
A few days before the event they were walking on a roadside when they heard a sound like falling dry leaves. When they looked down they found local currency worth about $36!
Jesse purchased the carpet. The big day arrived and Mary excitedly prepared Filipino dishes for their guests. They had a simple but joyful party. As the guests were leaving the party, each of them, one by one, approached Jesse and gave him some money. The total amounted to more than $60—more than one-month’s food allowance.
Mary had to return to the Philippines, since it is illegal for foreigners to give birth in China. Jesse remained behind to complete the semester and to disciple the two groups, which had grown to 40 people. He then returned to the Philippines to be with Mary.
Please pray for them
The baby was born, and the family went back to China the following year. This time they focused their work on a people in an even more remote province with a large Tibetan population. The baby was an effective missionary, too. He is so full of smiles that many people cannot resist stopping to take another look at him, which results in many more conversations and some additional relationships.
Missionaries like this know that they cannot do the work of God without our support and prayers. They ask that you lift them up to God in prayer. They ask for prayers for their families—that they can adapt to the physical climate and the cultural climate. They ask that you continue to pray for those God calls through them, that they will encounter the living God in their Bible studies.