Greetings from Hong Kong! This has been such a cool country to see and be able to serve in. I was pleasantly surprised to wake up our first morning and see a lot of green hills and mountains out past the tall skyscrapers that make up most of the city. It really is a beautiful place!
I also loved the trip over here. From Texas to California to Hong Kong, I got to see all kinds of cool moutains, valleys, and rivers, and Japan! I am just amazed by the miracle of flight. I have major worship moments every time I look out of an airplane. God is so mighty isn’t He?!
During our time here, we were able to take Bibles from Hong Kong into China. Many people don’t realize what a huge need for Bibles there is in China, so I’ll give you a quick run-down. There is registered church in China set up by the government. The only Bibles allowed in China are ones made in China, and those are only available to members of the registered church. The problem is, there are millions of Chinese Christians who don’t have access to Bibles because they aren’t members of the church…that’s where we come in. During our time here, over 12 thousand Bibles crossed into China and were distributed to all different parts of the country! We were able to look on a map today to see the exact places the Bibles have been sent to already. It absolutely blows me away thinking about what God can do through willing hearts. I understand that in the grand scheme of things, that 12 thousand only scratches the surface of meeting the need, but that is still 12 thousand people who will now own a copy of God’s word and will hopefully share it with others. What a cool thing to be a part of, right? Our God is a big God!
Another thing I have absolutely loved about this past week in Hong Kong was getting to know the people who were already here serving. I’ve learned so many things from them…like how to “forget southern hospitality” and shove my way onto metros, where to find the best frappuchinos, and I learned a lot about several of their love lives (imagine that haha). God also showed me so many characteristics of Himself through these servants. He showed me what true selflessness looks like as I realized that what we do for a week here is what they spend their lives doing. I also saw that living a life truly dependent on the Lord for every answer and every direction is totally possible, and expected of His followers. These leaders don’t live with lukewarm, half-hearted faiths. They aren’t foolish enough to tell God no when He calls them to do something; thier lives are surrendered to Him and to His direction, no matter what. That was a huge refreshment to see, and has encouraged me to live the same way, in genuine submission to God’s call. They have so much fun too, and have so many stories! So, even though following the Lord may not always seem pleasant, we are robbing ourselves of the joy of fellowship with Him and being part of His work if we say no to Him.
One of my favorite memories of this trip was going to church on Sunday. That church was more southern Baptist than my church at home. We sang hymns with the preacher as his wife played piano, and even shook hands for meet and greet after the first song. One small difference in this church though was translation…haha. We found a few things pretty funny, like when we sang “thrusting Jesus” instead of trusting Jesus. It was such a fun time, and so cool to see how God is active in every part of the world. He radiates through the people at that church. They were some of the most loving and hospitable people I have ever met. It’s just so comforting to know that God is the same God everywhere we go. I worshipped and fellowshipped with those people just like I do back at home, not because of some rare coincidence, but because we know and serve the same God! How awesome is He!
Our time in Hong Kong has also been a time God has used to unify our team. We have had time to spend talking and getting to know each other. Several running jokes and annoying nicknames have come out of this week, which may not always be appreciated (haha) but if nothing else, I feel like the humor has helped us come together more. We’re beginning to become a pretty tight-knit group. I love my team so much and know God has put each of us on it for specific reasons. I already dread talking about the end of the trip, and saying goodbye to people. It gives me a pit in my stomach, because these people are already becoming family to me. But no need to think about goodbyes yet, we still have several countries to enjoy together! I’m just so honored and truly humbled by the fact that God has placed me on this team, and that He is letting me serve with and learn from these incredible people.
As this week comes to an end and I reflect on what the Lord has taught me most, I think the biggest thing is prayer. Prayer is huge. It’s the whole reason this type of ministry continues to happen. I’ve learned the importance of living in a constant attitude of prayer…in ways like praying for the lady next to me on the metro, or the guy checking my passport as I cross the border. I pray for people who live in buildings I pass, that they’ll come to know Christ. This has helped me realize that, even though being surrounded by big masses of people can be overwhelming and frustrating at times, God loves and died for each one of those people. They are individuals just like I am. This reminded me of why I was here…to serve people! The focus of this type of work hasn’t necessarily been very relational, but God has definitely still put love in my heart for these people.
God has just been so faithful in grabbing my attention this week and putting it back on Him. He is such a faithful Father, and I am continually amazed by His unconditional love.
An encouragement I’ll leave with y’all is to be thankful. Be thankful for the freedom we have in the U.S. to be able to drive down the [not over-crowded] street and buy a Bible whenever we want. Be thankful for the fact that we can freely worship God with other believers whenever we want without risking our lives. Be thankful for the opportunity to choose our own careers and basically experience what we want to in life. Be thankful that we can enjoy our individuality and be truly valued and appreciated by those around us. That’s sadly not often the case in China and other parts of the world.
God has shown me how very much I have to be thankful for this week. One of the biggest things I am thankful for is you! (Because if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this, you must really love me haha). But seriously, thank you for your support and love for me and for the Lord! He has been faithful in answering your prayers. Please continue to pray for my team and me as we head to Inida! This will be the hottest and most physically taxing stop of the summer from what I hear. Please pray that we don’t become discouraged, but instead be contiually renewed by the Holy Spirit and excited about what we are getting to be a part of.
I could go on and on, but currently it’s 3:15am here and I am supposed to wake up at 4 to go to the airport, so I better wrap it up. I love you all so much and am so humbled by your love and support. I hope you’re all doing great!