December 2012: Birth and Transformation
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. John 1:1
We recently toured the western Hunan province in China, to see the work being done in that region. Like many of our trips over our years in China, it was a reminder that even though hundreds of millions of people have benefitted from China’s rise, there are still many regions that look only slightly different from 100 years ago. We visited a small village church, which was little more than a single bare cement room. The entire village was gathered to give thanks to God for changing their lives. As one villager described it, “In the past, you could hear us fighting before you even stepped into the village. It was said that we were a people who could quarrel from morning to night.” That changed nearly 10 years ago when one of the women left the village to hear a preacher in a nearby city. The trip took her several hours, but she kept going back, and over time she was accompanied by almost every family in the village.
A few years later, with the help of Global Ministries’ partner, the Amity Foundation, a church was built in their village. It was the first church outside of the city. It wasn’t long before the new church community had given birth to new life, and transformed the village through the Holy Spirit. The fighting stopped; even the local government noticed the change and awarded them the title of “Harmonious Village.” Reading became a priority for many of the villagers, and one woman even studied while she worked the fields by having her husband print verses that she could tack to her plow. While we are excited by the work that the Amity Foundation does with Global Ministries, such as building roads, schools and clinics, we never lose sight of the fact that it is only God that can repair hearts, lives and communities.
We pray today for the people of the Church in China, and rejoice that in God’s grace, new congregations are being established every week. We look to our Christian sisters and brothers in China and learn to share our harmonious joy in faith with others in our communities.
Tom and Lynnea Morse recently returned from nearly five years of service in China. Tom served with the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital in English communications. Lynnea served as an English teacher with the Amity Foundation of China through Church World Service.