JOY (Part 2)/Yunnan Reflections #3

View from the Training School in Lijiang prefecture, Yunnan

On my recent trip to Yunnan, we met the director of a county-level training school for church lay leaders and an elder of the church in Lijiang. In a damp, cold classroom on the second-floor of the training school our Brother Feng told us how when his wife first started going to church, he tried to stop her and discourage her. When she persisted, he wondered where her strength came from, and eventually he himself came to church alongside her.

Years later he marveled at how while he used to be known around for being a criminal, an outcast, in his community, today he is known for the good deeds he does. As we went from place to place during the trip, one of the church brothers would casually take Brother Feng’s arm and lead him up the stairs or down a winding dirt road. When I introduced myself to him, he apologized for not shaking my hand saying his eyesight was poor. During his testimony, Brother Feng said with joy and amazement, “I mean, my eyesight is so poor that I have to rely on others to lead me. How is it today that God could use me to lead others??”

A day later, we had the opportunity to attend a large Thanksgiving gathering, where people came from hours away to worship and celebrate with song and dance. In the middle of the service, Brother Feng’s wife sang a song, and as he joined her on stage they began to skip hand-in-hand singing their praises to God. The image immediately brought a smile to my face; their own smiles were wide as the danced, rather unaware of anyone else in that large outdoor sanctuary but themselves and their God. After the service, I marveled that it had been so long since I had seen and felt such pure joy, and this is an image I will carry with me for a long time.


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