God loves diversity. God loves people. He loves China a lot. God loves His church, His children and that is what this trip was about. A discovery mission, looking for evidence of what God is doing. God is at work in China in one of the oldest ways known. Person to person… heart to heart. Right now, the church in China is illegal but flourishing, because God’s children will not remain silent.

As recorded in the book of Acts, in the days of the early church, also suffering under heavy persecution, the church continued to grow in spite of the oppressive Roman government, maybe because of it. Suffering is not all that it appears to be. Sometimes its a catalyst. Often, when things come a little to easy, they lose perceived value.

What is apparent is this. The people gather in small apartments, basements, abandoned warehouses in private. Evangelism is very personal. One person speaks to another, then another and so on. The small communities form close nit families of believers. ┬áIt was wonderful to witness. It reminded me of the days in the early 70’s when my wife and I accepted Christ in a small house church in Niles. Then it was a bunch of hippies who found Jesus and community. The community aspect of this is huge. I was a bit jealous as I saw the groups of people gathering together in an obvious display of adoration toward God and each other. In my own heart, I pondered how I could bring some of this home in a bottle.

We have allowed ourselves ( Western culture ) to become so independent that this kind of cultural and personal community seems alien. I for one am longing for it. I think it is one of the key missing elements in the western ways of “church”.

I certainly hope persecution is not the required element for us all to return to a deeper sense of community and shared worship of God.