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At home, now ... Praying for my "Next-Level" assignment

The Lord gave me permission to live, work, and minister in China for seven years. During that time I was able to be immersed in the culture, fascinated with the landscape; and have fellowship with some wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord. I saw their boldness and bravery, as they shared the Gospel – often in places where they could have been incarcerated for doing so. I witnessed first hand their hunger for the Word of God. And I wept as I watched the documentary series entitled, Seeds of Blood, which told the stories of the early martyrs like Watchman Nee, Allen Yuan, Samuel Lamb, Moses Xie, Yang Xinfei, and Epaphras.

On September 7 it will be a year since I left China. I left, expecting I might only be gone for a couple of months and then be back. Back on American soil I found that God had things for me to do, here; and that He would allow me to continue my witness for China through the social media. By the end of the year 2012 the Chinese government had announced it was intensifying its plan to eradicate the House Church movement, inside of the next three years. This month the media reported that the new President, Xi JiPing was positioning himself as a Maoist hardliner – suggesting to me that the pressure for House Church Christians in China will probably intensify, in the short term.

I thought about Immanuel and Sara, who left their two little daughters, just before my trip home, to travel across the country to witness Jesus in Lhasa – the world capital of Buddhism, defying the warnings of the “Three Self” pastor that they risked immediate arrest, just for mentioning the Name, “Jesus” in public. For as long as they were gone, and as they shared the details of their trip with me, after they got back, I thought how fortunate the little girls were that their parents arrived back home safely. Many brave Chinese Christians are not as fortunate.

I mention China in part because of how incredibly homesick I feel for it, some days. But there's something more in this “Hemingway-esque” story I am spinning before you; and that is this: every time I think about China, I find myself thinking about how much of a surprise life in China turned out to be.

In nearly forty years, God has never let ministry be boring or mundane, for me. I'm wondering what He will do next? I could almost hear Him laughing at me, when the invitation came to work overseas. Just the day before the call came I'd been in His face reminding Him that HE said (paraphrasing) He's never forsaken the righteous not left their seed to beg for bread. It was almost a month, after all, since my secular job had been downsized, and prospects for new employment weren't looking too good; so I felt emergency measures were in order. Time to pray!!! (how peculiar that we get the message that we need to pray ... just when things get bad enough that we need to pray.

The rest of this story is so long that I'll have to tell it to you when I see you, face to face. Meantime, I have asked God for a new shepherding assignment. Not a ministry assignment – I already have that; but a new pastoral assignment, in a place where I can share the “next-level” message He has embedded in my spirit. Pray that I can find a church family to pastor, soon.