Friday, July 30, 2010

A Yummy Mission-filled Breakfast

I had an odd pairing for my breakfast today. In my usual days, you'd see me inhaling the news from the broadsheets as I digest my daily bread and coffee/milk. What partnered my meal today however was a story, the story of my brother from China. I'm not sure if you've met him before. His name is Brother Yun. I assure you he's someone worth meeting and his story is worth hearing. His life-story filled me with awe and wonder, I laughed, I cried, I felt like I was with him in his adventures the whole time. If you are interested, go to the nearest bookstore. His story is written in a book entitled "Heavenly Man."

I was amazed at how God can make himself known in the grandest and the most creative manner. Brother Yun was born in Henan province where Christianity was known as the "foreign devil." Christian families were mocked at, killed or even put into prison. His mother was one of the last people who had met a western missionary in their province when she was young. And because there were no bibles nor preachers to disciple new believers, Christianity was buried in the ground of Henan. His mom forgot about it all.

In the early 1970's when his dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, they became so poor that Brother Yun had to beg for food from friends and relatives. His mom, on the other hand, was on the verge of losing it as she thought of her dying husband and five children to support. Then suddenly, out of the blue, a voice came to her saying , "Jesus loves you." She then repented and prayed to God on her knees. That very same night, everyone in the family accepted Christ as Lord and Savior including Brother Yun. He was 16 year old then.

As I've told you, there was not a single Bible in sight. Most people put them in cans and buried them hoping for a time to be able to unearth and read them again. If you were caught to own one, the boxers would severely torture you and your whole family in the middle of the village. Creepy, huh? Brother Yun had one simple prayer every night when he became a believer, "Lord, please give me a Bible. Amen." He wanted to own one so badly that he said this was the most difficult time of his life. He fasted and prayed for months. Then...

He had a dream. He was walking up a steep hill trying to push a heavy trolley to beg for food. He had not much strength since he was still fasting (even in his dream). A kind old man came to him from the opposite direction with two other men and offered him a couple of rolls of bread. Brother Yun never felt such a compassion. When he opened the red bag handed to him, he saw a Bible. He was so ecstatic with the "vision" that his parents thought he was becoming delusional. That same day, about 4am, someone knocked on their doors. There were three people, the very same men he saw in his dream, looking for him. Brother Yun knew they were bringing the "bread" he had been waiting for. And it was, wrapped in the same red bag.

The Bible was so precious to Brother Yun. Would you believe he memorized a chapter of the Bible per day. In our case, we usually memorize a single verse per week! He read the bible in his waking hours and held it close to his heart come sleeping time. He swallowed every bite of God's word joyfully. I hope we would have the same desire and appreciation of His word.

When God led him to speak in front of at least forty people for the very first time, like us he did not know what to say. He was not able to undergo any seminary training or learn about hermeneutics and the like. You know what he did? He closed his eyes and memorized all the 28 chapters of the book of Matthew in front of the people. He did not know if the people would be able to understand or enjoy it, but that's what he did. By the time he opened his eyes, people were crying and convicted of their sins. That night dozens were led to Christ.

When I got to this part, I realized how magnificent God's word really is. It is a sword. It is good on its own. No entertaining activities, no out-of-this-world ideas, no extremely funny speaker is needed to support it. God's word is enough to cut through souls and lead them to Jesus.

I'm just on the fifth chapter of the book, 24 more to go, and I'm already very much amazed to see how God has been speaking and leading this young, faithful and willing lad. Sharing with you a heart-felt song written by our dear brother that unintentionally brought tears to my eyes. The backdrop of this song was during a time of persecution in China. Our brother couldn't go home anymore. He had to travel from place to place like a nomad in order to escape from the PSB who were hunting him like a red hot serial killer from China's most-wanted list.

Since the day I left home I've carried my cross
Running to the ends of the earth for Jesus
I've shared in the sufferings of my Lord
Proclaiming the gospel through eyes of tears
Many times through the wind and rain
Tears have fallen down my cheeks
Many things burden my heart
But Jesus' love keeps leading me
His love and grace encourage me
Keeping me perfectly from day to day

Although he was being pursued at, he felt like a bird, uncaged and free to fly. The more cops followed him, the more he fled, the more people were able to hear of the good news.

In the society nowadays, we have become too comfortable. We sit on plush couches in our small group meetings, sing happy praise songs together, hang-out with our brothers and sisters in Christ on weekends, (nothing wrong with that, BUT) we have become so comfortable that we forget to go out and fly like Brother Yun. We are contented with the here and now. The Matthew 28 mission has become a sweet dream of the future and has been replaced with attendance sheets, humongous buildings and tasky ministry roles.

I would just like to remind you that Matthew 28 is also OUR mission. We are fortunate enough that we are not in China where Christianity is barred in the so-called Three Self Patriotic Movement. They can't talk about the second coming of Christ, nor about the book of Revelation, nor about healing or deliverance of demons. If you are able to read this very message, you are free as a bird, living in a democratic country where freedom of speech reigns supreme. I hope you will use this God-given privilege for good.

May our breakfasts, our daily bread, remind us that we should not get cozy in our cage of comfort, locked in our tower of timidity, blinded by our own self-righteousness or illuminated only by pitiful ignorance. Let's go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us. And surely He is with us always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

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