**In order to help protect our missionary family on the field, I’m not going to type out their names.

So, I’m finally settling in at home after a 26 hour trip back home from China.  The journey home was literally around the world.  It took me from China’s Eastern shores in Guangzhou to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, then from Dubai across the rest of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Atlantic, finally dropping me off at JFK airport in New York (only to sit in hours of traffic on the Belt Parkway)!

My time in China was great, and being able to help this missionary family get on their feet and settled into somewhat of a routine was even greater.  From our travels out together and managing 3 little ones under the age of 6 (for close to 24 hours of travel time), to figuring out how to take a taxi, trying to get the gas hooked up in the kitchen, and learning how to ask where the bathroom was – it was a real blessing to be able to serve this family as they got acquainted with their new home.  China is a remarkable place.  Landing in Beijing you immediately sense the clash of old world and new world.  This only gets more apparent as you get into the cities around Guangzhou.  It’s very common to see the old world represented by workers in the rice fields, or in small fruit and vegetable markets, with the new world rising above them in huge skyscrapers.  The corporate world is rising in China from the many, many factories making exported goods (surprise surprise).  This clash of old world and new is evident not just by the outside appearance of the cities, but also in the people that you see throughout the day.  It’s not uncommon to see the modestly dressed humble workers, walking down the street next to the businessman with a suit.

In general, I thought that the people were very nice and hospitable and generally wanted to help you if you needed it.  (We needed a lot of help in the first couple of days)!  One of the things that I noticed right away while walking around town was the total lack of any type of church.  In cities of multiple millions of people, it really felt strange to be walking around not seeing any churches on the corner, or really at all for that matter.  Instead, what you do see in almost every restaurant or store you walk into are shrines or alters to different false gods with either incense or fruit as sacrifices to these gods.   It’s so weird to see these set up even in a totally westernized restaurant or clothing store. It really says a lot about how deep these ideas and beliefs of spirits and various gods penetrate the culture. With that being said, there are great things going on with the church in China.  Though hidden and out of the spot light, many believers are gathering together to learn the Word of God, and to worship their Creator corporately.  The main need that I came across time and time again was for teaching of basic doctrine, and really of the Bible as a whole.
The Chinese believers are very excited about their faith, and daily take an active role in sharing it with others.  They are determined to learn more about scripture, and their zeal is contagious.

Our missionary family has many opportunities to share their faith whether with the students they are teaching, or through a new believers Bible class that they will be leading.  Please be praying for genuine relationships to be established with Chinese nationals, and also for great open doors to share the gospel with them.  Also please be praying for the new believers Bible class, as this will be a great opportunity to get these young believers rooted and grounded in the Truth!  Lastly, please keep our missionary family in your prayers.  Please pray for physical healing for those who are sick, for strength to handle the little problems that can be difficult to fix in a foreign culture, and for great grace and wisdom in their teaching as well as in their sharing of the gospel.  I’ll be posting an update from them soon.

Blessings,
Carlos