To China With Love - The Call

NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles about one young lady and her call to go and work in China as a single missionary.  In order to protect the believers in China, the names have been changed.

I was born in1978. When I was five, I made a profession of faith and was baptized. Six years later, my maternal grandmother died. I remember someone saying, “It’s okay, we’ll see her again in heaven.” At that moment, I realized that I did not know that I was going to heaven.

I searched my memory. I remembered the stories of how I took my little brother into my closet and came out and said I had asked Jesus to come into my heart. But all I remembered myself was Brother Adkins trying to drown me when I was baptized. So, on September 13, 1989, in my closet, I asked Jesus to save me. I wanted to be able to remember for myself. I wanted to know.

Like most children, I was frequently asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said things like a ballerina, or a nurse or the mother of one hundred children. There were other things, but those were the most common. Then, in third grade, my teacher, Mrs. Kincaid, asked everyone in the class what he wanted to be. I was surprised when, on my turn, I said I wanted to be a missionary. I had never thought about being a missionary before. But, that thought stayed with me.

Five years later, being a missionary was one of the strongest desires in my heart. I read and re-read biographies of my favorite missionaries: Gladys Aylward, Hudson Taylor, and Adoniram Judson. Gladys Aylward and Hudson Taylor were both missionaries to China. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Every time a missionary spoke, I asked the Lord, “This country, Lord? Is this where you want me to go?”  Through the years, several places were especially interesting to me---the Sahara (until Dad told me there weren’t any nomads there anymore), Nepal, Russia, and China. I devoured guidebooks. I remember asking God to send me to a place that no one else wanted to go to. I guess he answered my prayer. Whenever I say that I am a missionary to China, the common response is, “Why do you want to go there?”

But, while in college, I wasn’t able to get peace about any specific place.  Discouraged, but wanting to do what the Lord wanted me to do, I told him I would stop seeking to be a missionary. I was afraid that I wanted something that God didn’t want for me. I told him that until he opened the door for me to be a missionary, I would assume that it wasn’t his will for my life.

Then, I read a letter saying teachers were needed for China. I held my breath, “Oh, Lord, is that where you want me? I’m willing to go. Please let me be a missionary for you.”

A week later, on a Sunday afternoon, I went out to eat with a Chinese couple in our church. We talked about many things. Our fortune cookies came and we read them aloud. Mine said, “You will be traveling for business or pleasure soon.” I laughed and mentioned that I was interested in teaching in China.

That afternoon (June 11, 2000), when I returned to the church, Dad called me into his office. He was using his serious voice and I wondered what I had done.

“I don’t know why I’m telling you this,” he began. “Dr. Goforth called last week and said he was looking for a teacher to go to China. They need someone immediately and he said he felt the Lord wanted him to call me. I told him I didn’t know of anyone, but would pray about it. Now, I feel that the Lord wants me to tell you. Do you know someone who might be interested?”

Before he could go on, I began to cry. I knew God had heard my prayer. He wanted me to go to China. My parents were a little surprised, but very supportive. I tried to call Dr. Goforth, but could not reach him. I spent most of the night in prayer. The next morning when he called, I let the answering machine get it so I could ask for God’s direction one more time. I called him and we talked for several hours. When I hung up the phone, the ball was in motion. Unless something happened, I would be boarding a plane for China in ten short weeks. I had never been on a plane. I didn’t have a passport or even a suitcase. I had never been away from home by myself before. There was so much to do. I would need shots and a visa and …oh my…so much to do...

Go Forward to Part Two: The Arrival
Daily Proverb

Proverbs 1:28

Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: