Returning Home

Xiao Sze

本文原刊於《舉目》26期

       On the flight from Vancouver to Beijing, many different moods and feelings swelled up within me. In ten more hours I would be back in the land of my birth where I had been nurtured, the land where I had planned my dreams and struggled to get ahead. But now I was returning as a Christian, with a different life and personality, I would have to face a homeland that has progressed with amazing speed, whose economy has grown in leaps and bounds, and where everyone regarded getting rich as the highest ideal. In such a setting would I still be able to hold on to my Christian faith?

        I was not at all certain. Just half a year before I had been toiling for personal gain and was full of confidence in myself. When I put myself back into this sea of human passions, will my faith be shaken and wither away? After all, it was just a few months ago that I had been baptized, although my young new life has progressed smoothly, I still had a lot of questions deep down in my heart – what was the relationship between worldly values and social involvement? the uncompromising nature of Christian faith and harmony with other religions? not fighting violence with violence and dealing with anti-terrorism? etc. During the short period since I believed, my Biblical knowledge had increased and my life had changed. Besides broadening my view and increasing my experience, I considered that my greatest reward from going overseas was getting to know God and becoming a Christian. However, my friends had been writing and telling me that the reason I had accepted Christ and become a Christian was because I was living in the Western world and in a special situation; if I returned to Chinese society and the situation there, it would all change.

       Would that really happen? My return home was turning into a test.

       On my return to my large home city, I faced the cultural hot waves of pop-singers and the surging housing market, all of it a great contrast to the tranquility and solitude of Canada.

       Hearing of my return, my former friends and co-workers came over and invited me to a get-together. They had changed – better cars and bigger houses. By contrast, I had been left behind; my job in Vancouver with its meager salary had been only just enough to let me get by. I have to admit that I felt inadequate. But it was just then that I met up with my wife’s teacher.

        When we were in Vancouver we had heard that this teacher had contracted cancer. We had prayed for God to heal her and sent her literature about God’s healing, encouraging her to pray daily. God had indeed God heard her prayers, as her tumor kept getting shrinking. Knowing of my return she came over to share with me. The day we met, she and her husband (a retired high school principal) decided to accept the Lord. Turning her back on her original religion, she turned to be a follower of Christ. We made a commitment to meet once a week at my home to share the gospel.

        This is what God had prepared for me! Hadn’t I been worrying about not finding a helpful spiritual environment and fearing that my spiritual life might go backwards? This was the spiritual environment God had been preparing for me!

        Another couple, the wife a staff-member at a high school and the husband a high school teacher, also joined our fellowship. A sister, who was a primary school teacher, now loves the Lord and has a desire to follow Him. Totally beyond my expectations, God had not only prepared a spiritual environment, but also a fellowship! Far from falling behind, in this fellowship my faith has been strengthened and my spiritual life has flourished! I had also never imagined that after my return home, God would continue to use me as His servant, leading lost souls to Christ and leading a fellowship. Here we read the Bible and share our life’s experiences. God has blessed our fellowship and worked among us, renewing our lives continually.

         When we experienced a shortage of gospel literature, God used the internet to enable my wife to download evangelistic materials from a number of churches, so that we could receive timely nourishment. When brothers and sisters encounter difficulties, we have learned to pray to God for His grace and strength…

         Within a short period of two months, God has performed many miracles in our small fellowship. The sister with cancer went for a check-up and found that the tumor had continued to shrink. The husband of the primary school teacher had played the stock market and defaulted on the mortgage of their house. With her whole livelihood at risk, his wife continued to pray fervently and to be involved in ministry. She made recordings of her playing the piano from a weighty hymnal of praise songs, for the use of our fellowship. God heard her prayers and allowed her to receive financial help, so that they could keep their house. Her husband was also helped and promised not to gamble on the stock market, but to work to make a living.

        The daughter of another couple had nearly had a breakdown because the results of her certification exam had fallen far short of her own expectations. Her mother prayed for God to comfort her, and led her to the Lord. God’s love brought her peace and she was willing to accept the exam results, and the family prayed daily that God would prepare a suitable school for her God was faithful in hearing their prayers, and the story had a happy ending.

        God’s blessings to our fellowship have been too many to count; as for myself, not only has my faith not fallen away, but my spiritual life has actually been uplifted.

The author came from Szechuan, China. At present, he lives in Vancouver, Canada

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