Tuesday, March 31, 2009

3 Eggs, a Chinese Easter Story.

This is not my story. However, it is a true story that was experienced by my friends, and the leaders of Volunteers for China, David and Ann Wilson. I cannot read a story like this and not share it.

Easter Week, April 2000, we were privileged and honored to attend the 15th Anniversary Celebration of the Amity Foundation, Nanjing, China. Amity, formed by Chinese Christians, serves as a Chinese humanitarian organization to show Christ's love outside of the church building. We visited a number of agricultural, flood control, church construction, and education projects that Amity Foundation had initiated and managed with local churches and government agencies.

One of these projects is near Wu Ding City, located in Yunnan Province, on the far eastern foothills of the Himalayan Mountains at about 5500 feet elevation. Water is very scarce there; earthquakes are very common. This is a desolate area of China, where farming on the extremely steep hillsides is by manual labor. The dusty, desolate, barren hillsides have terraces moving up each hillside at three foot intervals, where corn has been hand planted, weeded and watered for as far as the eye can see. This is their livelihood.

We arose very early, joined the other sixteen Amity-invited guests, and loaded into five government-provided Mitsubishis, each costing over $40,000 (more than any person in the village we were able to visit could expect to see in a lifetime). The vehicles began the ascent to a mostly Christian Miao village in the high mountains. Within ten miles of leaving WuDing we were on a dirt donkey trail, going up vertically at a forty-five degree angle, many times slanted horizontally at a thirty degree angle. Looking down from the passenger side of the SUV, we could not see any road below us, but only the deep distant valley floor that got further and further away. This view easily lets us know that one slip to the right and we were all going to face eternity quickly.

After ninety minutes of driving uphill, around blind curves, on the mule wagon rutted road and bouncing around in the SUV which had no seats belts, we arrived at the outskirts of a village that is located on "sort of" a plateau at about 7000 feet. We all put on our coats, as it was windy and much colder than Wu Ding in the valley far below.

This Miao village consisted of forty-eight families with annual incomes of less than $100 per year. They raise their food on the hillsides and sell what they have left over for other necessities. As we approached the main street, actually a cart path through the village, we heard singing coming from the villagers who had lined the path. They were singing the alleluias of Easter songs! We walked through the crowd, shaking dirty, labor calloused hands. Then their smiles and hand clapping greeted our group, as they rejoiced that visitors, fellow Christians, had come to their village. We inspected the newly built elementary school building, we viewed the water cisternthat now stores water for crop irrigation, and we drank from the first-ever village water spigot. Yes, one water spigot for the village. All of these projects had been accomplished with the assistance of Amity Foundation in partnership with the local government. Only the villagers truly knew the hardships that had been removed through those projects. Previously the women and girls had needed to walk two miles downhill each day of their working lives to obtain water and then bring it back uphill. The smiles on their faces told of the joy that had been brought to the village. It was Easter weekend and all rejoiced.

As we were leaving the village, each SUV was approached by three village ladies, each insisting that the windows be rolled down. Tears flooded our eyes as each visitor was given a gift of three eggs. The village wanted to express appreciation for our having come. They wanted us to remember them. Needless to say, we did not deserve a gift nor did we need one to aid in our remembrance. We all recognized the value of the gift they were giving to us and we tried to refuse. Yet, in the Chinese way, they insisted and we each left with three eggs. They had given each of us the most valuable item they had in the village, eggs, three eggs. What an image of the Trinity; it was indeed Easter. As these Miao villagers knew, our same Father gave all of us His most valuable gift, His Son.Praise God for those who are willing to give the best they have to give.

I am being honest when I say that all I have to offer the people of China is my ability to speak English. What a blessing that ability has been to my life. It has allowed me to see this culture first hand and experience so much more than I ever could have imagined. Maybe you aren't as fortunate as I have been to be able to devote a year to this place, but the Wilson's lead teams here for the summer. If you're interested let me know!

"Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
-James 2:17

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