My short-term mission trip to China with Build International Ministries (BIM) was certainly the most spiritually significant and meaningful experience I’ve enjoyed in a number of years. Let me convey briefly how subject trip impacted and impacts my walk with the Lord and how it has changed my life.
While I am a Spirit-filled Christian, unfortunately my background and culture (my flesh) has produced a suspicious, critical, and prideful spirit toward people (even Brothers and Sister’s in the Lord) and organizations; particularly some "Christian/Non-Profit" organizations. I lead off with this because my life has been truly changed by my witness that "Build International Ministries" is a genuine "love your neighbor as yourself" Christian organization; one that can be trusted to put whatever donations they receive into building the Glorious and Triumphant Church of our Lord Jesus Christ and ministering to members in particular within the Body of Christ. After this trip, the witness to my spirit by the Holy Spirit is that Sandy and Neil Anderson are truly men of integrity and honesty with a love for the lost and hurting that puts me to shame. My life has been changed by the affirmation that there are good men and women in the ministry, that BIM is wisely proclaiming the Gospel with it’s financial resources, and that the China Church, my Brothers and Sisters in China, are genuine Christians putting the love of Christ and Service to Him FIRST place in their lives.
The "underground and persecuted" Body of Christ in China is alive and vibrant with the Love of God and Christ AND the anointing and Power of the Holy Spirit! Unlike America with "envy and strife" caused by factions and wayward "Christian" denominations, the Body of Christ in China, with it’s hundreds of thousands of "underground" Churches, is 95% Spirit filled! And by that I mean most every Christian I met in China "had received power after that the Holy Spirit had come upon them" (Acts 1:8), was fervent in Worship, devoted and effectual in prayer (Wow; can those pastors and congregants pray), and constantly putting the love and service to others BEFORE themselves. How refreshing to see the members of the Body of Christ in China truly walking in Love and Service.
Let me highlight several other more notable observations.
The food was outstanding. As one who likes "different tastes" the meals were outstanding in flavor, content, and variety.
The Hotel accommodations were more than adequate. Bathroom facilities outside the hotels however are far from Western standards.
It’s difficult to generalize, but to me, China is a very modern country with "bullet trains" traveling 180mph, subways, cars, trucks, and buses, vast "freeways" and boulevards in the cities, and enormous apartment complexes and skyscrapers. Rural areas host multitudinous single-family homes with electricity, internal water (wells), garden plots, and "outhouse" bathroom facilities. In my opinion, very different than "third world countries" where the rural areas lack electricity, water, and septic systems.
I never felt threatened or in physical danger in China. The "persecutions" to the China Church members, Pastors, and Support organizations is that of tight Governmental oversight and monitoring to keep Christian gatherings small (less than 50) and free from outside agitators. The Governmental oversight and monitoring is different in various parts of the country depending on local rules, leadership and personalities of pastors and officials. The primary threat to support organization members and visitors would be loss of the 10 year visa which would clearly negate outside organizations ability to support and serve the Chinese Churches. It was probably different years ago, but as a Christian visitor, I never felt or perceived any physical danger during the trip. Of course, Psalm 91 and 121 was my REAL shield and protection.
My personal spiritual growth and recognition of the Holy Spirit’s guidance was greatly enhanced. We had the opportunity to personally minister the Word and encouragement at every one of the 12-13 Churches we visited. And, in every meeting, we had the opportunity to pray individually with any and all in attendance. The teaching opportunity required me to spend significant time early in the mornings with the Lord to get the lesson He wanted to give. And then, giving the message through an interpreter was another opportunity for growth. Sandy was of great help in evaluating our performance and the big-picture significance and value. I learned many personal lessons in the Spirit from this experience that will change my life for the better forever!
In conclusion, I really believe it was the Lord’s perfect will for me to go with Build International Ministries to China. And, that the express purpose of the Holy Spirit’s orchestration for my attendance was for me to give personal encouragement and teaching to the Church in China. What an awesome opportunity! But, as I’m sure anyone who would undertake a similar trip would attest, the trip and associations/relationships with the Chinese pastors, worship leaders, congregants, and BIM officials in China ministered in many, many life changing ways more to me, than I ever could to them. What a wonderful blessing the whole trip was and continues to be.
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