We get up every morning. We can read our bibles. We drive to our jobs and choose to listen to our Christian radio stations and sing out loud along with the music. There’s no problem on telling your co-worker that you will be going to a church service that night or over the weekend. You invite some friends to your house to hold a bible study and praise God. It’s your house and you have a right to do what you want. We can only wish it was like that everywhere in the world.
I’m going to share a story with you that changed my perspective of what it is to really be a Christian. This is the story of a very young woman who recently went into a mission trip and the things she shared opened up my eyes. I asked her to share some of them with you. Do you remember those stories of really dying for Jesus back in the roman days and suffering persecution? Well there are Christians still doing that today in 2012.
“I’m a young, 22 years of age lady that went on her first mission trip to Hong Kong, China this past November. Never in my life did I think it would happen. Never in my life did I get the huge blessings that I received to even go. And never in my life have I left a place and gained such a huge lesson in my spiritual walk.
The purpose of this trip was to carry bibles into mainland China from Hong Kong. I went into the country thinking that my simple yet risky act of bringing bibles into a communist country was going to help make an impact in the lives of the Chinese people, that I could teach them something and walk away knowing that a part of my spiritual check list was marked off. But I was so very wrong. In my two week stay, the people that I came across, the stories that were shared and the country that I got to see, impacted me more that I thought it ever would. I met and listened on the perspective of five different people who shared what it is like to live in China: how it was hard being a Christian in a country that frowned on it and punished those who made it their duty to spread the name of Jesus. We were warned beforehand that we had to be careful in what we say and do. For example, if we wanted to pray in our hotel rooms, it was advised that we should turn the television to the most bearable noise level and pray; this was to keep our prayers muffled from possibility that our hotel could be bugged. We had to be careful of who we talked to, where we read our bibles if needed. And when it time to say grace over our food in public, my Puerto Rican leaders did the praying in Spanish.
After two days in Shenyang and a day and a half in Dandong (which is south of Shenyang and is separated by a river with North Korea) I became spiritually frustrated. I never thought being secretive could be draining to the spirit, but for me it was. My frustration became disappoint, and not on God or the Chinese but on myself. While in my hotel room alone, I took the time to analyze my spiritual life: was I as serious about it as I claimed I was or was I just another hypocrite? What is the level of my faith or relationship with God? Was I or am I willing to take it seriously at all? You see, here in America we have it easy. We can decide what religion we want to believe, what god we want to serve and for some of us, we do our best to freely express our beliefs because we have that right to. Will people like it? Of course not, but the government doesn’t punish us for it. We never stop to think what it would be like in a place like China or North Korea where we have to live in secret for the name of our faith. I saw people in my room back in Hong Kong praying in tongues, filled with the Holy Spirit and reading their bibles like their lives depended on it. What did I do? Text messaged my family and friends back home, listened to my music and fell asleep through a few church services while “praying”. By the time I got back home, I felt ashamed. I felt that the purpose of my being there wasn’t done properly and that I could have done better. The people I shared a room with, were from the mainland. In my eyes they pretty much ousted me in the “who’s more passionate for Jesus?” category if there ever was one.
I’m sharing this to ask, for those of you reading this, to do this one thing: take a look at your faith and your relationship with God. Are you grateful or is it just something you don’t take as seriously as you should? You of all people in this country are blessed with the freedom to believe in Jesus and to be able to share him with others. You are not held captive by fear that someone will kill you because of your faith; you don’t have to hide bibles or become watchful of who you speak with. You are free. With this New Year quickly approaching, make a serious resolution to be appreciative that you are freely a Christian. We need to take our faith just as seriously as our brothers and sisters in Christ overseas. Don’t let the moment of you going into a country that’s in spiritual bondage make you grateful for your freedom. Be grateful now”
As we start this new year, I hope this testimony brings the fire into your life of what it is to live for Christ.
God Bless you!
Note: These pictures were taken from the internet and have no attachment to the story or the people spoken about. If I need to credit someone for the pictures, just message me.