Joni and Friends Blog
Nǐ hǎo! Hello from the C4L China team!
Last month, we all met from eight different states for the first time with one thing in common: love. It was such a beautiful thing! Cultural and doctrinal differences were put aside. Walls felldown. Suddenly all other things didn’t seem as important when the unconditional love of the Father brought us together and drove us into the world.
I could tell you about what a blast the children and our team had with VBS in the mornings. I could go on and on about the afternoon opportunities to shadow in therapy and worshiping in Beijing and the wonderful cultural adventures. But I think we would agree that the reason we were in China is that Jesus is always calling us deeper into His love. And when we listen to His voice, sometimes He’ll take us to places out of routine like China, so we can witness first-hand how incredible His love really is.
Here is one personal example from this trip:
She was lying there on the floor of the Peace House, tears sitting on her cheeks; she groaned softly. I held her for almost two hours. They told me she was blind and deaf. Her English name means “My delight”. Wow, how crazy – yet so beautifully fitting! In that moment, the Lord spoke two main things to me. He said her identity is being the one in whom God delights. And her ministry is being delighted in. Her Father loved her so much to give her specialties that subject her to total dependence to proclaim His delight in her. That’s who He is.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched…they must be felt with the heart.” (Helen Keller)
Somehow in her only ability to receive God’s love, she gives it away; her receiving His love is so utterly not in her control that it spills over and over like a river of life.
I think that’s how our ministry functions too. Jesus has a high command: that we love one another as He loves us. It’s only possible because He loves us. It would be a good practice to hold children more often. We need to let our hearts sit down and be loved and delighted in. A theologian was asked what the most profound statement in the universe was, he replied, “Jesus loves me.”
We love because He loves us first. That’s the only way it works. Love bears all things like a roof, says the Greek word “stego.” Love believes all things and hopes all things. Love endures all things. Love has no reservations. It doesn’t get it’s worth on reciprocation. It’s never wasted. Elisabeth Elliot always said when you don’t know what to do, just do the next thing. The next thing often is a necessity of life like laundry or going to the grocery store; most of the time in those things we have no expectations of God doing big things and that makes them perfect Spirit space.
Because we are loved, all those things should be done in love. Jesus gave the command to love one another after washing feet, climbing up mountains, kicking down walls, tearing down lies, bearing all sin, and raising all to freedom.
Jesus’ love is reckless. He extends a hand and asks us to dance with Him. We’ve been told we must take up our sword and fight for love, but Jesus says love has won for us. Let us let out the sails of our heart, and let His love fill them and lead us out to green pastures; where fear cannot abide even in the midst of pain in this world. He promised that when we arrive home, we will see His face and no one will take away our joy (John 16:22).
- For continued open doors to share the Good News.
- For the children and staff at Shepherd’s Field.
- Our remaining time to be fruitful and effective.