I’m not supposed to be here. And by that I mean I hadn’t planned on being here. I knew I’d be spending six months in Asia, and I had a particular city I intended to be in, but God changed the course of the trip about three weeks before I left the U.S. The assignment I’d requested had been changed to a city in a completely different region, with a team focused on a people group I had never heard of, the Hui.
Fast forward several more weeks, and I’d learned along with my new roommates a few tutoring sessions’ worth of Mandarin, along with the basics of Chinese culture. We’d certainly not learned enough to be able to share the Truth with those who don’t speak English, but God reminded (and still reminds) us that He is sovereign. Because He put us on a team of people with varying strengths, particularly in language, we were able early on to spend a couple days in a smaller, less-reached city made up largely of Hui. We were able to watch and listen (and catch a few words and phrases) as our teammates shared the Truth with several Hui people the Father led us to, and through that trip He taught us the ever-important need to trust in Him and His plan.
We had originally intended to spend three days in that city, but an unexpected amount of snow and an ill-prepared bus system forced us to change our plans and leave a day early. I believe this was all orchestrated by the Father, as He used the time before the snow-pocalypse to show us an incredibly friendly and hospitable people who are still in need of a Savior. There are several people we met in that city who have remained in my mind:
- The taxi driver we met upon arriving took us to the mosque where he’d trained to become an imam, and he listened intently as one of our teammates shared the Truth with him. He’s still in contact and, though he seems devout (he’s an imam, after all), his interest in our return to that city suggests the Father is working on his heart.
- The two girls who showed us around the women’s mosque listened to a teammate as she shared the Truth, but they were hesitant about hearing more. I hope that our demeanor and willingness to learn more about their own lives were a Light for them, that they saw something different in us and want to know what that something is.
- We were also introduced to a female imam who is over ninety years old and has been at this particular mosque for over twenty years. We sat in her living quarters as a teammate spoke with her – a small bed and linens, a few chairs, shelves stacked with books and papers…She had been reading before we came in. This woman has devoted her life to something that will amount to nothing in the end. I hope that, if He wills, God will bring her to Him before she leaves this earth.
We met all of these people the afternoon we arrived there. The following day, as the snow fell and the wind blew, our Father reminded us that He’s the one who establishes our steps (Proverbs 16:9), that though we come up with many plans of our own, it’s His purpose that prevails (19:21). We weren’t able to spend as much time with the people of that city as we thought we would, but He allowed us to meet many Hui on that first day, and He used the experience as a whole to teach us patience and flexibility, and especially to trust in His plan instead of our own.
In the same way, I hadn’t planned on being in my current city in the first place, but He shows me every day that He has a reason for everything He does and a purpose for every one of His children. Pray that the workers in our city will be reminded of that, and that we’ll trust Him to guide us to Hui people and show us how to share with them the greatest Truth ever known.