Ready for a rickshaw ride through the hutongs (small alleyways) of Beijing
Why would 31 people get on a plane and travel 16 hours to spend two weeks in a country where they don’t know the language, don’t understand the culture, can’t figure out the money, and can’t even drink the water . . . yet by the time they arrive back home they’ve had one of the most heartwarming and unforgettable experiences of their lives?
The one-word answer to that question is “China.” Last September was the first trip World Christian Broadcasting has sponsored to one of the countries to which we air daily broadcasts. Our purpose was to meet the people our Chinese staff has been broadcasting to for the past 26 years.
We saw many of the sites for which China is famous: the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the amazing terra cotta warriors, and more. We spent time in Beijing, Xi’an, Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Each place was different, each left us with memories for a lifetime.
The emotional heart of our trip was in Luoyang. There we spent hours at Maria’s House of Hope, the orphanage/hospital sponsored by Stephen Curtis Chapman and named for his late daughter. The overseeing physician in this hospital, a great friend of World Christian Broadcasting, showed us how the staff rescues and heals orphan children who would otherwise have little hope of survival in a hostile world. Each of us on the trip had taken little stuffed animals and over-the-counter children’s medicines, all of which the staff was thrilled to receive.
Louise Lacy with a new "friend" at the House of Hope in Luoyang
Throughout our trip at every turn, smiling faces greeted us warming. In the hotels, on the streets, in the shops, everywhere we encountered warm, helpful, and gracious people. Hundreds of times we were greeted by big smiles, half-bows, and sincere “Ni Hao!” (Chinese for “How are you?”). Our national guide assured us that the Chinese people’s expressions of welcome were genuine: “Governments come and go, but the culture remains the same,” he said. As Charles London in his book, Far From Zion, put it, “Without politics, we would all be brothers.”
Biblically-based messages coming over shortwave station KNLS are making an impact in China. The first Sunday we were there, Charles Caudill, president of World Christian Broadcasting, preached for a church in Beijing. He asked if anybody had ever heard of KNLS. More than half raised their hands. Two people told him, “KNLS is famous in Beijing!” Later in the morning Charles remarked to an attorney that he was surprised at the number of people who said they had heard KNLS. The attorney remarked, “KNLS is famous all over China!” He added, “I listen to Xiedehua (Chinese name for Edward Short, our Chinese Senior Producer) every day!”
God is using KNLS as part of his plan for the Chinese people. Yes, there is much atheism and idolatry in China now. But God has not left the country without witness. We found evidence that the Christian faith has existed in China for over 1,200 years. In the Xi’an Beilin Museum we saw the Nestorian stele. This monument—erected in AD 781 and unearthed accidentally in 1625—describes in both Chinese and Syrian the introduction of Christianity into China. Nobody today knows exactly how many claim Jesus as Lord in China—some estimates range as high as 60 to 100 million. Whatever the number—known only to God—how exciting it is to realize that the name of Jesus Christ has been spoken in China for more than a millennium.
From our station in Anchor Point, Alaska, World Christian Broadcasting will continue to provide programs with the good news of Jesus 10 hours daily throughout China. As we do so, we pray for honest and hungering hearts. All those who traveled with us on this trip, looking daily into the eyes of countless Chinese, will remember the people and will thank God for the opportunity to have met them.