By Tyler Shockley
This trip was put together at the last possible minute, but God had it planned long before our team ever heard about it.
Our role on this trip was to teach English at two different summer camps at SIAS University. The students at these camps ranged from 7 to 17 years old. The goal of the university was to teach basic English as well as share a little American culture with the students.
Early on I resisted what God was calling me to do and where he was calling me to go because I feared about finance and spending a whole month in another country. I had doubts about what he could do especially in regards to finances, but I desired a major sign that I could truly trust this God I claimed I knew.
He proved his unfailing love over and over again on this trip and showed that no matter what the circumstances his plan will be carried out.
All of the challenges and fears that took place on this trip were ultimately overcome by a reaffirmation of my trust in the Lord and his power to do great things. That being said here are a few of the many challenges and fears I faced on this trip.
My first fear was realized the moment I landed in the Beijing Airport. I wound up having no contact information, no ability to communicate with the Chinese, and no information about my connecting flight that would take-off the next morning. As these fears started piling up and up I eventually had a major breakdown in trusting the Lord.
I came to the conclusion at one point that I would have to get myself out of the situation because obviously God wasn’t doing anything. I was literally having to the point of having panic attacks. I was wrong about God to say the least. God rescued me from the situation and did eventually safely deliver me to my team. The next few days were filled with a lot of prayer and reflection especially in the Word of God.
The whole rest of the trip I rebuilt the foundation which had been shaken and I arrived home with a new found relationship with my Lord and Savior.
Another challenge I faced was the language barrier.
I went into this trip with no knowledge of the Chinese language. I did eventually pick up a little conversational Chinese, but ultimately God provided a solution to this problem through our student assistant’s.
Tough evangelism is illegal in China but several people asked questions about Christianity and Jesus. As a convicted Christ follower I answered their questions with the words that Christ provided. I know that I planted several seeds of faith and I pray every day that God will bring along other people to water those seeds.
I was able to share what Americans are really like. Many of their ideas about Americans come from movies and TV. I was able to show them that Americans are quite different from those in movies and that some are not as prideful as the rest of the world believes.
I’ve come to realize that the Chinese have a different way of life but that does not necessarily mean it is in any way inferior to our own. The Chinese culture is built upon family honor and the world view has its own positives and negatives. My role on this earth is not to judge the way other people live but to shower them with the love of Christ and to share his grace and mercy.
Being a communist country we weren’t allowed to directly evangelize. So we spent our time building friendships with everyone we came into contact with and through that, God opened doors to share about his Son.
Each member of our team, including myself, had a door opened by God and were allowed to share the gospel and its redemptive power. Our team never got to see someone directly give their life to Christ, but we were satisfied with knowing that we had planted seeds.
I’m sure in the future God will bring others to China to water those seeds and help them grow. God and the plan he has for his kingdom is founded around relationships; our relationship with him and our relationships with others.
This journey to China also changed my perspective on living a life of service as a missionary. At SIAS University we met a believer named Kathy who works as a foreign faculty member. She’s been at SIAS for four years and doesn’t ever plan to return to America. She felt God’s tug several years ago to travel to China and so she simply said “here I am Lord. Send me.”
Her story inspired me. I’m now considering full-time international missions as a strong possibility. I don’t know where God will take me or what I’ll be doing, but I trust that if international missions work is truly his calling for my life than I will go. Isaiah 6:8 “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’”