Yesterday, when we were out on the road, I asked Emmett and Alethea to “rate” our trip to Hong Kong. I was expecting a “high rating” given the fun we had had in the past days. This was when Alethea surprised me, “I would say a 3 (out of 5)…” I said, “Only a 3?” Then she added, “That’s because we cannot find a good church here…”
I think Alethea nailed it.
This has been a really great trip with many good things accomplished, yet our mission to find a good Gospel-preaching church has failed quite miserably. I got so desperate last week that I went all the way to China to visit a church in Shenzhen (while Kathy and kids worshiped in Hong Kong). There were some early promises, but in the end, it was another let-down. Worse still, when I returned to Hong Kong in the evening and asked the kids if they had a good time at church, Alethea shook her head and said, “No daddy, the sermon was terrible…”
I guess all these make our upcoming returnto Philly (we are leaving Wednesday morning) all the more sweeter… and sadder!
Sweeter because we are like Ruth and Naomi returning from Moab to Bethlehem where “the LORD had visited his people and given them food.” (Ruth 1:6) Sadder because many people in this part of the world remain without (true spiritual) food. But worst of all, they are so “spiritually malnourished” that they do not even know that they are in desperate situation. [Think about a drunk not realizing his or her drunkardness.] As a result, there is little demand for “real food.” Outward activities and apparent signs of vibrancy — numeric growth, evangelism and mission projects — only further compromise their spiritual discernment.
Without a doubt, the Chinese church can use a spiritual Reformation — a work only our Lord can do.
For the remaining days of our trip, would you pray with us for the following:
* That we will have a “better day” (I am lowering my expectation) at church tomorrow.
* That we will have good Gospel conversations with our Christian friends.
* That we will continue to have a blessed time with my parents.
* That we as a family will continue to grow closer with each other.
* That we will continue to be watchful and vigilant in regard to our spiritual surrounding.
* That Kin will find time and energy to prepare his (brief) Thanksgiving message.
* That we will adjust quickly to the time and weather as we land in the East Coast.
* That we will have a blessed time celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends.
Look forward to seeing you all at the Thanksgiving Sunday Worship.