When Sarah was told by her South Africa-based missionary father Paul (not their real names for security reasons) that she could join him on a mission trip to China if she raised her own finances she was so successful that they had to tell people to stop sending money.
Paul and his family have lived in China before and he has done trips to China without his family in the past two years. He says a retired missionary friend that raised five amazing daughters once said he would often try take one of his daughters with him wherever he went – spending one-on-one time with them.
“My daughter is 13 now and in 5 years time she will be an adult! I want to continue to build memories with her and expose her to what God is doing. I shared the idea with her saying ‘I would love you to join me, but you will have to trust God for your trip finances” (about R14 000) “
After praying about her father’s suggestion Sarah sent out a letter asking people to support her in this vision and she received such overwhelming support that they had to tell supporters to stop.
“It was a very special time together and she got to see a side of China that she had never seen before – even after 6 years living there – She saw the beautiful countryside Chinese Church – where revival has been breaking out for decades now. It was rough and wild and a powerful experience of God’s Spirit at work,” says Paul who led the mission team on a recent trip.
Writing about the trip he says: “Each time I visit the Chinese church it is a different experience. Last year I was a in a meeting for two days where I experienced the almost tangible glory of the Lord like I have never experienced before (and I have been to some amazing places where God is moving) – Every person in the room had his face turned toward God – if there was a hardened unbeliever was among us in that meeting he would have had to confess that God was real and present.
Openings and opposition
“This time round we had numerous meetings where a great and effective door of ministry opened – and we could walk through and release what we carried. Other occasions there was strong spiritual opposition: Distractions and lack of freedom in the spirit. Opposition from authorities etc. But our main heart to encourage leaders was accomplished.
“In one meeting we prayed for a pastor friend with a great vision and also great responsibilities. He wept for a long time as we prayed and prophecied over him. Later he said he had prayed for people to come and strengthen and encourage him and his people.
“In another meeting we did a teaching on the Holy Spirit and thereafter asked if anyone wanted prayer for healing – nearly the entire group of over 150 came forward – they we so hungry for more that they surrounded us on every side, kneeling and pulling on our clothes to get our attention. I was reminded of how hungry the people were around Jesus and how they pushed and pulled on Him. I was reminded of the scripture that says ‘we are Christ’s ambassadors as though Christ were making His appeal through us’ and that as Jesus speaks through us so we can expect the same response from people.
“We had an opportunity to minister to the foreign workers in a city – we set up encounter stations to facilitate them having a special meeting with God. I worked in the prophetic booth and from the beginning of the evening until the last people left we were kept busy with a steady stream desiring a prophetic word. The voice of the Lord is always life-giving, up-building and calling us up into our destiny and identity. I could see how much these servants on the field needed encouragement and life-giving words from the Lord.”
Deep in the countryside
Sharing on her personal experience of the trip, Sarah writes: “It was amazing to be back, smelling the smells, seeing the people, eating the food, and embracing the culture. I think I had forgotten how much I had enjoyed it and how much I was missing it. But this time it was different, I was seeing a different China. I had always seen the cities, and the masses of people. Now we went deep into the countryside, to a people who are poor, and hungry, hungry for the Lord. These people don’t have the things that the city people have to distract them from God, like money or possessions. For them, life is very real. Life is also tough, if you get sick, the nearest hospital is hours away and they work very hard for their food. Almost all of them are farmers, and at the meetings we had, they walked from their small houses far away to hear about a God who loves and cares for them.
“It was eye-opening to see their hunger. If you are a Christian in that area, you are a real Christian. Not one who goes to church on Sundays and says they are a ‘Christian’. These guys have to know and love the Lord so much, that they are willing to be put in prison for him, or even die for him. Life is real. Anyways, so we went on bumpy long car rides into the countryside to pray for the few Christians there and encourage them. On one occasion we prayed for a lady who had appendicitis. She was healed (thank you Jesus!) because if her appendix had burst, she wouldn’t have made it to hospital. The lord had taken us on a two hour car ride to see this lady, because he wanted to heal her and tell her how much he loves her. What an amazing God we have man! The lord has opened my eyes, to see all the awesome things he can do. All he needs is people who are willing to take the risk!”
Calling to return to China
Paul says that after three years out of China, getting further equipped at Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry and now two years back in South Africa, the family feels as if God is calling us them back to China.
“Even though it is painful to leave one’s home and family and friends, yet in the Spirit I sense a great excitement and adventure as we follow Him to China – for the Spirit knows what will take place as we say ‘yes’ to Him.
“These next few months in South Africa will be very vital for raising missions awareness and building connections before we go – for we are so aware we need the Body behind us in order to go to the frontlines – It really is a team effort.
“If you as a church or family are interested in knowing more about missions in China or getting involved with this family then please contact Andre at firstname.lastname@example.org,” he says.
Commenting on the present time, Paul writes: “This is a very strategic and significant season we are living in right now – what took decades before in now being accomplished in weeks and months. The hand of God is moving over this earth like never before. He is looking for those that will say ‘Yes’ to partnering with him on His agenda.
“I believe that right now that there are doors of opportunity that the Lord is opening that will unlock nations and people groups to the Lord. The voice of the Lord is needed and obedience. In hearing the voice of the Lord comes faith to do what he has called you to.”