Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Like usual, I finished Chinese class, hurried home, had lunch and jumped on the bus that would take me to the port. This was my normal, crazy Saturday routine. I had no idea what the day would hold for me, nor did I know at the end of the day that I had met a little boy that would change the way I saw people.
I took the short ferry from Big Kinmen Island to Small Kinmen and arrived at the church to find a couple of cute little kids waiting for my friend and I to arrive so that we could sing about God's love and hear a Bible story. I noticed this outgoing little boy with a cast on his arm who seemed to feel comfortable in the church which so many people in Small Kinmen would avoid. I got a chance to talk to him as we walked along. I couldn't understand half of what he said in Chinese, but I understood that he wanted to chat about anything. I tried to pipe in when I knew what he was talking about and other times I just pretended. He seemed to be an ordinary boy living an ordinary life, but I had no idea what his life was like.
As the weeks passed, Jerry (I cannot give his real name) faithfully came. Sometimes he would come hours early to wait for us or talk to the pastor. He was quite the naughty little guy. Sometimes I would have to chase him away from the church drums every five minutes. He was full of energy and was always talking.
On Easter, we painted eggs that had been hallowed out. We explained that this is the way that the tomb is. Jesus rose and conquered death and left an empty grave. (Taiwanese people are particularly afraid of death. They do not even like to mention it. They use a sign with their finger instead of saying the word.) Jerry was really interested and was unusually quiet as he listened. The next week, we were talking about how God calls his children sheep and how he is a loving shepherd to his children. Jerry, in a quiet voice, asked what makes someone one of God's sheep. My friend told him that if He believes in Jesus, then he is a sheep. Jerry said, "I believe." I was so happy! I thanked God for what he had done in Jerry's heart. He had never heard the Gospel before and within weeks, he believed that God was The God. I don't think that Jerry fully understands yet what surrendering his life to Christ means or what it might cost him, but I am so grateful that I heard him say, "我相信。" ("I believe.") I didn't realize how little time we had left with him. (Don't worry. He didn't die.)
One day, we heard that he was moving to the main island of Taiwan, to a busy city. When we went to Bible study that week, we found that he had already gone. After talking to his teacher and the pastor, we learned more. Apparently, his father was in the military, so he was not around, and his mother was insane. She was abusive. She wouldn't let him use water. Sometimes he only ate the lunches that his school provided. We also found out that he was years younger than we thought. Because of his home situation, he was forced to mature much faster than any nine-year-old should. Eventually, his father decided to send him to live with his uncle, and his mother he sent to the psychiatric hospital.
Before Jerry left, he went to the church to talk with the pastor. He stayed for hours. Jerry's main concern made me cry. He was worried that he would not be able to find a church in Taiwan where people would love him. This is what the church is all about! I PRAY that he found a church that showed Christ's love. If we just had more churches like this in America and Asia, how much faster would the Gospel spread and how much more respected would Christ be! How many children like Jerry would be rescued from a life of misery, living on the streets, trying to find happiness. All that is required to change this is Believers loving the person that is in front of them, even if the person seems ordinary or seems to be doing okay. Everyone without Christ is hurting, and everyone with Christ is growing and is a brother or sister.
We tried to find Jerry, but haven't been able to locate him. I have to trust God. He is faithful. I believe that Jerry is His child and that He will take care of him.
If Jerry comes to your mind, please take a minute to pray for him. If you feel burdened to pray for him long-term, please do!
Love the person in front of you! It could change his/her life!