Monk William In China:

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Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."Photo: of an ancient Temple Complex.  Copyright 2002 S.G.P.  All rights reserved.  (Note: Monk William is a Lay Monk in our Knights of Prayer Monastic Order.  Below we have posted the e-mail he sent us after he returned from China.)

Monk William Back From China!

"As result of this trip to China, I will never be the same again." 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am back from China. The Church of God is alive and well in China!
They are the fastest growing Church in the world!  And they are growing
without the help of the western world!
                                                                                                                     Thank you for your prayers and concerns during our sojourn in China.
Thank you also for featuring our mission on your
Prayer Requests page. 

As result of this trip to China, I will never be the same again. 

I was fortunate in that my traveling companions were all veteran
globetrotters.  Personally, I had never been further from the U.S.A. than
Canada.

             "They did not take their faith for granted."  

Our sojourn into China was spent primarily among the people.  I
found them personable, polite (for the most part), proud of their
heritage, and generous.  The Chinese believers; some of whom had hearts of gold; many were wealthy in wisdom and kindness. 

The majority of the Christian believers I encountered were deeply in
love with Christ and his word. They did not take their faith for
granted.  Many had a deep respect for their government and its
laws.  They did their best to be good Chinese citizens; content
and protective of their privacy and the well-being of the community. 

The English language students at the university treated us with
respect and courtesy.  They were eager to improve their English
skills and were full of questions about idioms and grammar. 

  "...10 new brothers and sisters from...a three week visit."  

We stayed away from the subjects of religion and government; only
discussing our faith in private, and only when asked.  We never needed
to practice evangelism without being invited.  It was glorious to
step aside and let the Holy Spirit lead.  And lead He did!  What an
amazing, miraculous God we serve!  We have 10 new brothers and
sisters from just a three week visit.  All of them had been prepared in
advance of our coming.

It is hoped that these new brothers and sisters bind together in
support groups for Bible study and prayer, as so often happens with
new Chinese believers.  Often they attend a registered church in
their community.  Registered churches are controlled and monitored.
Some ministers of the registered churches preach the Gospel of
Christ with surprising boldness, despite the restraints imposed.
There are stories of some registered church ministers turning in new
believers for holding Bible studies in their homes.  The Chinese are
human after all, and subject to all the temptations and jealousies
of people everywhere.  

 "One American teacher started a Bible study in his home with six Chinese believers.  One by one they disappeared..."

There is no doubt that the Chinese church suffers persecution and is under attack in several places throughout China.  One must be very careful, and even then it may not be enough.  Every now and then someone will disappear.  One American teacher started a Bible study in his home with six Chinese believers.  One by one they disappeared until there were only two left.  Later we learned that the two remaining were with the opposition; they were the ones who had turned in the other four. 

Our brothers and sisters do not purposefully draw attention to
themselves, or hold revivals or rallies.  However, their faith is strong
and their commitment to the Gospel of Christ puts most western
Christians to shame.  Before they believe, these people know the price they may be asked to pay, and are willing to pay it with joy when
called upon to do so.  Many are praying that the people of the U.S.A.
will turn to Christ for salvation!

"Many are praying that the people of the U.S.A. will turn to Christ for salvation!"

I can only speak in generalities, because the various situations of God's
people in China are far more complicated then can be explained in a
report based on a three week visit.  I left China with a deep
love and respect for the Chinese church and her people.  Indeed, with a deep love for all of China's people.

I can not say the same for some American Christians in China.  I am
concerned in particular about an evangelical American sister who is
in China as a short-term English teacher.  By drawing attention to
herself, she is putting long-term Christian American English teachers
and Chinese brothers and sisters in great danger.  God is working in
China in powerful ways that He has designed specifically for the Chinese.  

Well-meaning Americans in China, who try to use western evangelical tools to win souls for Christ, may be doing more damage than good.  Please pray that God sends such as these home, or changes their behavior, before they do any more damage to God's workers and our brothers and sisters there.  I say this because I want to keep our brothers and sisters safe.  With all my heart I want to keep them safe.  When I go back in two years, I want to find the precious young brothers and sisters that I met growing and safe and practicing their faith.

"Western evangelical tactics may not work well in China, but our prayers will...Pray for the Church in China..."

China's people respond well to consistency far better then they do to
people who are there for the short-term.  

I come home both proud and ashamed to call myself an American.   
 
Western evangelical tactics may not work well in China, but our
prayers will.  Prayer is universal!

Pray for the Church in China; not for its westernization, but for its
growth in Christ and its safety.

Thank you for your prayers.

-Monk William (California) 10/29/02

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 Copyright 2003 S.G.P. All rights reserved. 

  Photo of Skellig Michael Copyright Irish Tourist Board. 

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