In May of 2015, my dream finally came true. After years of countless hours of listening to podcasts, conversing with shopkeepers, and leading small group Bible studies; one of the pastors finally asked me to preach at a college and career Bible fellowship, which was one of the ministries of the local, national church.
I was given a couple of weeks notice and set out to prepare myself well. It was to be, after all, my first time to preach in Chinese. I chose for my text Luke 9, in which Peter affirms Jesus as the Christ and Jesus defines the terms of following Him. I was given forty five minutes to preach, which was to be followed by small group discussion.
This Bible study, different from the one mentioned in my previous post, ran over fifty on an average Saturday evening and was steadily growing. By 2015, Anny Grace and I had been attending for over a year and had gotten to know everyone in the group. We had prayed together, studied the Word together, and laughed together. As I became a more and more integral part of the church, the Lord finally blessed me with the opportunity to achieve my goal of the last five years.
That night I preached with virtually no hiccup in my language ability! Afterward, friends approached me to thank me for the message. I was successful! But, my success was not due to anything inherent in me. Rather, it was due to the work that the Lord had accomplished in me and used to push me to learn Mandarin to honor Him.
Walking home with Anny Grace that night, I remember her sharing with me in my excitement for reaching this milestone in my life in Longyan.
I was on top of the world and excited to see what the Lord had in store for me next. One thing that I discovered in a matter of days was that having attained my dream of preaching in Chinese, it was high time I set my sights higher.
Unfortunately, I had already heard from the pastors in the area that they would not let me preach in any Sunday morning worship services for fear of my drawing unwanted attention to them and their congregations from the local government.
Struggling with what to do next, I was reminded of a small group of missionaries whose blogs I had stumbled upon online just a year previous. They were boldly proclaiming their faith. They were planting churches. They were training men for the ministry.
I wanted to be a part.