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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Well that's a mission trip.

Image source.

Today I was talking with one of my students, Charlotte. I mentioned something about going to church, and she said, "Oh, you believe Yesu?" (That would be Jesus' Chinese name.) And she said she'd met a new American friend that day who was also a Christian, and had asked her if she wants to have a relationship with Jesus. Charlotte told me, "I don't know if I can understand what she means."

And also, this "new American friend" is part of a group of college students who are visiting Charlotte's university.

For one month.

To study Chinese.

Yep, that's a mission trip.

(Like, could it be more obvious?)

Image source.

And I feel a lot of things. First, wow could it be that God is working in Charlotte's life? She just so happened to have a conversation with someone else about Jesus, and then I just so happened to mention to her that I'm a Christian... but wait, I'm not sure what I believe about that whole "God is working in their life!" thing.

Like where did that thought even come from? That's like, straight out of the days long ago when I was "on fire for God."

Also: oh man I want to meet these people! They are me from a few years ago! I really miss being with other Christians- even though I also fear they'll judge me when/if they find out I don't believe all the correct things.

I first came to China on a mission trip and well, you can see I kind of got sucked in. And maybe I want to meet them and tell them how awesome China is! (And when random friends ask me to donate money so they can go on mission trips, I totally do. Because I've been that person asking for money before. And going to China totally changed my life.)

But wait! Charlotte, look out! The real reason they're here is to make people Christians. Should I warn her? Am I supposed to keep the secret as some kind of group loyalty thing? (And also the threat of missionaries being kicked out of China- but I bet the Chinese government also knows it's a mission trip. They weren't born yesterday.)

Uhh... there's nothing to warn about though- I totally expect the mission trip kids to be loving and nice to all their new Chinese friends. They won't do anything disrespectful to her- at least nothing that she would be aware of.

And on that note, hey hold up! Don't treat Charlotte like some kind of mission-trip-project. She's a whole person and she's really great. She's one of my most kind and enthusiastic students. She helps me study Chinese. She's studying art at her university, and she gave me a painting she made. Isn't that the nicest thing ever?

There's nothing wrong with her, nothing that needs to be "fixed" by getting her to find Jesus.

Is somebody excitedly telling their friends, "I shared the gospel with Charlotte!" I don't know how I feel about that. Treating people like some kind of sneaky secret mission.

Like I get it, I did that. You know, I was excited about Jesus and excited about the idea of my friends becoming Christians, so yeah I told other Christians when I "had an opportunity to share the gospel." But now I kind of feel like... isn't it a little weird to talk about people (and speculate about their souls and deep needs) and say things you TOTALLY don't want them to hear you saying?

(Yeah I'm not sure how I feel about evangelism... hmm...)

But anyway, yep, that's a mission trip. Charlotte was so happy to meet them and make friends with them (even though they'll only be here a short time). I know that's a good thing- I just don't know where God fits into it. Or if he even wants to.

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