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THE CHURCH
OF ENGLAND “When the
power of love
overcomes the
love of power
the world will
know peace”
Rupert Hankey Writes about
“I long for those
who have not yet
found the light
and life that is in
Jesus to find it
for themselves” Joy
< Perhaps inevitably, the sabbatical ended up being somewhat dominated by a visit I made to China in the second half of September. I went as part of an intercession team under the auspices of Chinese Church Support Ministries, a mission agency I have supported for well over thirty years.

There may be some reading this who feel envious of my having had a pleasant ‘extra holiday’ in China. Well, I can assure you that nothing was further from the truth – there were six of us on the team, and we worked very hard! Doing what? We were in China to pray for unreached minority people groups around the Tibetan plateau area. We were praying specifically for these people groups to find faith in Jesus and for churches to be planted, so the location for our prayers was often a Buddhist temple or monastery, or Muslim mosque. We prayed for the spiritual powers behind these places of worship to be broken, and for the power of the Holy Spirit to be released.

You might be of the opinion that we were wasting our time because ‘all roads lead to God’. Having visited a good number of Buddhist temples, I can categorically refute that assertion – all roads do not lead to God! If I am simply speaking out of a western cultural mindset, then may God forgive me, but I will
never forget the sadness and sense of futility we felt as we watched so many people prostrate themselves in front of temples or idols out of fear and obligation. I would never ever attempt to take away another person’s freedom to worship however they choose; I simply long for those who have not yet found the light and life that is in Jesus to find it for themselves – whether they live on the Tibetan Plateau or in Albany Park!

One of the great joys of the trip was the richness of the international diversity of our team. Two people, including Daniel our leader, were from New Zealand. We also had a pastor from South Africa, a nurse from Germany and two Brits: myself and a man from Haywards Heath who is working on a PhD, and has been living in China now for nine years (and who turned out, amazingly, to be a distant relative of mine!). As is often the way on these adventures, we started as strangers, but ended up having ‘bonded’ together and feeling sad to be going our separate ways.

One experience in particular drew us together as a team. Our team leader Daniel was married to a Chinese lady - Sonja, whose mother had been imprisoned in 2003 for 14 years for a business infringement: the Chinese government wanted to make an example of her. It so
happened that she was released just a few days before we began this intercession trip, having become a Christian during her years in prison through the witness of both her daughter and other prisoners whom she got to know. This affected the team because during the second week of our trip we had the great privilege of sharing in the event of this lady’s baptism, which took place in an inflatable bath tub in her daughter’s apartment! Below is a lovely picture of this lady (on the right, with her daughter Sonja on the left).










China is a vast land which has left me with a multitude of memories and impressions. But the one which will stay with me the longest is the one most central to why we went there in the first place: the joy of one woman, shared by her family, at finding the life and hope that Jesus came into this world to bring.