Post China Tour

January, 1987 – Midwest USA

Since I returned from my nursing tour of China in June, things have been busy! My director of staff development asked me to do a presentation of my nursing tour to the entire hospital. The audiovisual department helped me make title slides and convert my best photos from 35 mm negatives to slides at no charge. I did the presentation in the auditorium and was amazed when 300 people attended. People are very curious about China since it only reopened to tourists less than 10 years ago. I asked the Lord to give me peace since I don’t think I have ever spoken to so many people before, especially my peers!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

By God’s grace, He gave me a quiet heart and strong voice and it seemed to go well. Everyone seemed fascinated by my photos since it is so different from here. One of the nursing school instructors happened to attend, and asked me afterward if I could present the slides at the nursing school, which I agreed to do.

I invited my Chinese teacher, Mr S, along with his wife to come to my home to show them my photos and tell them all about my trip. They were so interested in seeing what the other cities are like in China since they have never been permitted to travel outside of Beijing. I had fun learning how to make dumplings from Mrs. S!

Mrs. S. taught me how to make dumplings!

Mrs. S. taught me how to make dumplings!

My Pastor also asked me to present my slides to several churches and at the children’s Bible Camp where I have been a counselor the last few years. During these presentations, I emphasized how the Christians in the underground churches often suffer since they are forbidden to meet openly. I asked them to pray much for the believers in China to be strong in the Lord in the face of persecution.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Ephesians 6:10

Afterward, one of the counselors encouraged me to pray more about teaching at the hospital in Beijing where they offered me a job. I explored it further with my Pastor and a former missionary to China, and both encouraged me to apply. The missionary said Beijing has many foreign Christians and a regular Sunday service in English. Fellowship with other believers and prayer partners should not be a problem. So I sent the Director of Nursing a letter explaining my interest in the teaching position along with a letter of recommendation from Mr. S. who is returning to his teaching position as English Professor in Beijing.

After several months of waiting, I finally received a letter from the Director of Nursing. She said she only meant that if I ever visited again, she would like me to give a lecture on nursing care. They have no money for a foreign nursing instructor. Apparently, things got a little mixed up in translation! But I thank God for making it very clear that this was not an open door.

Reflection

Even though God never opened the door for me to live in China, I thank God for the many opportunities He gave me to tell the brethren more about China so they could more effectively pray. I know of at least two of the children at the Bible camp who have returned to China as adults to minister there in various capacities. It was such a privilege to expose them to another country that has been closed to the gospel for many decades.

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Mary Slessor of Calabar (Nigeria) – Pioneer Missionary

Free Book Recommendation!

Dear Readers,

I rediscovered an old favorite missionary biography on Kindle which was free, so I downloaded it even though I have the hardback copy in my personal library. It is easier to read it off my mobile phone during free moments compared to carrying the hardback around. It has probably been well over 20 years since I read the story of Mary Slessor. I also enjoyed teaching it many years ago to children’s Bible clubs using the flashcard story called “Run, Ma, Run!”

by W.P. Livingstone

by W.P. Livingstone

I have been reading it this time through the lens of life experiences since I have now visited several “third world” countries, including jungles, and can better appreciate the hardships she endured. She had such passion to give the wonderful good news of Jesus Christ to cannibal jungle tribes in Nigeria from 1876-1915, and endured much physically and emotionally as she trusted God to transform the people by His power.

Mary Slessor- a Scottish single lady who devoted her life to reaching the cannibal tribes in Nigeria

Mary Slessor- a Scottish single lady who devoted her life to reaching the cannibal tribes in Nigeria

Challenged by the life of David Livingstone, Mary Slessor offered her services as a missionary in Calabar, Nigeria. Arriving there when she was 28 years old, she overcame her fears and inexperience with a genuine love for the people and shared with them the hope of the resurrection through faith in Jesus Christ. Earning the nickname “White Ma” she became mother to many adopted children and never failed to preach the love of Christ to all she met. Many times she was ill with fever from malaria, but God renewed her strength repeatedly so she could carry on the work.

The natives believed that any mother who gave birth to twins must be cast out and the twins be killed immediately. Mary rescued many twins and raised them herself to demonstrate the love of Christ to them.

Mary Slessor with some of her beloved adopted children.

Mary Slessor with some of her beloved adopted children.

She worked long hours as a mill worker in Scotland before coming to Nigeria in 1876. She was a diligent student of the Bible although she never received any formal training herself. When no worker could be found to go with her into the jungle, she went alone with some natives, trusting God to open doors. She wrote in a letter home in 1888, “I am going to a new tribe up-country, a fierce, cruel people, and every one tells me that they will kill me. But I don’t fear any hurt –only to combat their savage customs will require courage and firmness on my part.”

Even though she was not a formally trained nurse, she did what she could to relieve the people’s sufferings who usually went to the witch doctor when ill. In 1896, she decided to move further up the river with her many adopted children since most of the tribe had moved there. However, there was much sickness among the children by an infectious disease which caused the death of four of them. To make matters worse, smallpox then swept through the country, killing hundreds of people. For hours daily she vaccinated all who came to her hut. A man from the mission downriver arrived when her supply of lymph had run out and assisted her to take blood with a penknife from the arms of those who had already been inoculated so they could inoculate more.

She returned to her old house and converted it into a hospital, and people flocked to it. When she heard her beloved Christian chief Edim caught the smallpox in the new village, she tramped back alone through the jungle to nurse him, but it was in vain.  The Lord took him home to heaven in the middle of the night. Since she had no one to help her, she fashioned a coffin with her own hands, placed his body in it, dug a grave, and buried him.

Mary with Chief Edem who later died of smallpox

Red haired Mary with Chief Edim who later died of smallpox

Two white Christian men arrived from the Mission House down river to help, and she asked one of them to go back to her old house to gather some supplies. When he arrived in the village, all was total silence and he knew something was wrong. He opened the door of her house to find it full of corpses of those who had died from small pox. The place was never fit for habitation again, and gradually was engulfed in bush and vanished from the face of the earth.

Later in her life, the British government appointed her as Vice Consul because of her unique command of the native language, her understanding of their customs, and the great respect and love the people gave her. People would flock to her from miles around so she could preside as judge over their cases. Sometimes her judgement was to assign hard labor for 1 to 3 months, while other times she would box the person’s ears! This was a huge change from when they would administer the poison bean to some while pouring boiling oil over others. Previously, whenever a chief died, they would kill many of his wives and children to serve him in the afterlife. As more and more became Christians, the twin killing and killing among the tribes gradually stopped.

Mary presiding at Okoyong Court

Mary presiding at Okoyong Court

So I hope I have told you enough to whet your appetite to read or reread this classic biography. You will be blessed, amazed, and challenged as you see how God used this humble little Scottish single lady to transform  tribes of cannibals through the power of Jesus Christ! Her image is now on the 10 pound note in Scotland.

Mary's image on the 10 pound note of Scotland!

Mary’s image on the 10 pound note of Scotland!

“and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Modern day photo of Cross River, Nigeria where Mary labored.

Modern day photo of Cross River, Nigeria where Mary labored.

Nursing Tour of China – Part 5

June 14, 1986 – Hong Kong

HK1 It was a very pleasant stay in hot steamy Hong Kong, but quite a culture shock after being in China. Hong Kong is fast paced with a British flavor combined with Chinese. The 100 year treaty with Britain will expire in 1997, so many wealthy and professional people are leaving because they don’t want to live under the communist regime. They call it the “brain drain”. We saw bumper to bumper cars, double-decker British style buses, a new subway and transit train, harbor ferries, and skyscrapers everywhere in this compact crowded little country. The tour guide told us they have as many Rolls Royce cars as in London and Hollywood. Real estate is so expensive that they only allow dead people to be buried for 7 years! Then the family has to exhume the body, cremate it, and give the grave to someone else.

The British colony just celebrated Queen Elizabeth's 60th birthday with these commemorative stamps.

The British colony celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s 60th birthday in 1986 with these commemorative stamps.

We stayed in the luxurious 18-story Golden Mile Holiday Inn. Carla and I decided to go to the tailor our guide recommended and each had a wool dress suit made in 48 hours. It was so much fun to choose the fabric, design the suit, and be measured so it fit perfectly and was long enough. The fittings were hilarious! We laughed so hard until we cried.

Being fitted for my cashmere wool suit made in 48 hours!

Being fitted for my cashmere wool suit made in 48 hours!

I also went to a jewelry factory and designed a small sapphire ring that they made for me in one day. I never expected to buy so many things on this trip, but everything is so inexpensive and beautifully made. I think they export all the junk to the U.S. and keep the finely handcrafted items here. I’ve become quite good at haggling over prices and find it rather fun now! Sign language and handheld calculators overcome all language barriers. HK HOSP1 We visited a general hospital designed after the British model with ward sisters (nurses). It appeared much more modern than the hospitals in China and brighter with a more cheerful atmosphere. The large men’s ward held 45 iron beds with overhead ceiling fans, and no air conditioning in the 90 degree heat. I would estimate they are about ten years behind the USA in health care.

The nurses called ward sisters.

The nurses were called ward sisters.

Intensive Care Unit bed.

Intensive Care Unit bed.

Code Cart in ICU.

Code Cart in ICU.

We enjoyed a sampan boat ride through a fishing village where the people live on their boats year round their entire life.

Friendly elderly man who lives on his boat in the fishing village.

Friendly elderly man who lives on his boat in the fishing village.

We also took the Star ferry across the harbor and went to the top of Victoria Peak for the view.

View from Victoria Peak.

View from Victoria Peak.

Then on to Repulse Beach, the largest in Hong Kong where we ate lunch at McDonald’s. It seemed extravagant to pay $3.30 for a hamburger, but the exchange rate is 12 Hong Kong dollars to 1 US dollar, so in reality, it was 27 cents US. This was the first American franchise that we saw since leaving the States.

Repulse Beach

Repulse Beach

My fading China plate from Repulse Beach with silk embroidery

My fading China plate from Repulse Beach with silk embroidery

McDonald's prices in Hong Kong dollars (12HK=1 US$)

McDonald’s prices in Hong Kong dollars (12HK=1 US$)

Carla and I ate dinner at a Korean restaurant where we barbecued our own beef and shrimp on a table grill which was fun. We were the only Americans in the restaurant, so all the other customers certainly stared at us! We had a delicious elegant farewell dinner last night at the Peking Garden which was one of the best meals of my life! Our nurse attorney leader teased me about falling asleep during her lectures that she gave to the Chinese hospital nurses! I don’t think I ever did quite get over the jet lag. And now I will go through it all over again when I return home. I am looking forward to getting home and am so thankful I have another week off from work to recover and spend time with my mother who is going through cancer treatment. I am in great need of time alone with the Lord in Bible study and prayer as I feel so drained spiritually.

June 15, 1986, Sunday – New York City, USA

I have a one night layover in New York City before my plane to the Midwest can take me home. I reserved a hotel, but since my tour roommate, Carla, lives in NYC, she invited me to stay with her. In addition to being a psychiatric nurse hospital supervisor, she is a NYC tour guide on her days off! She volunteered to show me around since I have never been to NYC before. This was so gracious of the Lord to work this out as this mid-western country girl is quite fearful of going to NYC compared to China. The only time I read in the newspaper about NYC when another person is murdered. It seems to me that my chances of being murdered in NYC are quite high! Carla laughed when I told her this because she has lived there for decades and absolutely loves it. We finally cleared customs about 6 p.m. New York time – 25 hours after I got out of bed in Hong Kong. Then Carla’s friends picked us up and took us to their lovely home where they served us dinner in their garden. Afterward Carla drove me through downtown Manhattan at night and waited at the curb while I took the elevator to the top of the Empire State building to see the sparkling city lights. It was so amazing that I was in bed this morning in Hong Kong and on top of the Empire State building tonight! It’s a small world.

Hong Kong in the morning- New York City that night!

Hong Kong in the morning- New York City that night!

We went to bed at 10:30 p.m. and both were awake at 5:30 a.m.- still on China time. So we dressed for church and ate breakfast in Little Italy. Afterward, we drove through China town and then parked and took the elevator to the top of the World Trade Center for a few minutes to get a daytime view of the city. Visibility was only 2 miles, but I could make out the Statue of Liberty in the harbor. That Statue means much more to me now after living in a Communist country for 2 weeks with very little freedom.

Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor symbolizes freedom for me now more than ever!

Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor symbolizes freedom for me now more than ever!

We also drove down Wall Street, past the federal building where George Washington, our first president, was inaugurated and saw the church where he worshiped. Then we went to a large Baptist Church for morning worship. What a blessing! The pews were packed with 1500 people and the service was so dignified with beautiful traditional hymns led by a 22 member choir and  a children’s hand bell choir. The Pastor had a wonderful heart stirring message on the four compromises Pharaoh offered to Moses as recorded in the book of Exodus. After church, I treated Carla to lunch at an elegant Indian restaurant overlooking Central Park. The view was great and the food had such unique spices. Carla then drove me to the airport and we bid each other farewell. I thank God for letting me meet Carla and giving me such a compatible roommate during this fabulous life changing tour.

Central Park, New York City

Central Park, New York City

When I arrived home, my Cocker Spaniel, Sandy, about wagged his tail off and keeps lying on top of my feet when I sit down. I don’t think he wants me to leave again! I have been home a few days now and have had time to think about the tour. I think I can be more effective with the international students here at the university than I could be in China with all the current restrictions on foreigners. But I thank God for giving me a better understanding of their culture and way of thinking. It also gives me a much greater appreciation for the ground breaking work Hudson Taylor and other missionaries in China did for so many years. I wish I could have met some Chinese Christians, but God did not open the door.  I also appreciate more the tremendous blessings I have here in America and the freedom to worship in spirit and truth! Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free….If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:31-32, 36

Reflection

Over the years since then, God has allowed me to meet and minister to many people from China and have the joy of seeing several of them receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. In 2004, He allowed me to return to assist in the care of some orphans. I was also able to meet quite a few Chinese Christians during that trip, so God fulfilled the desire of my heart 18 years later in His perfect timing! Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4 About ten years later, I went to the top of the World Trade Center again for another view of NYC. That was my final view from the top. Little did I know that it would be tragically destroyed by the terrorists on September 11, 2001.

Nursing Tour of China – Part 4

Beijing, Saturday, June 7, 1986

We flew to Beijing this morning so I was up early at 5 a.m. The propeller plane was pretty smooth until it made a roller coaster type landing which gave me severe motion sickness. I was so tired after lunch that I skipped seeing the Forbidden City and Tienanmen Square, but I sent my camera along with one of the nurses.

It was nice to be alone in this beautiful luxurious Holiday Inn where we are staying. Quite an upgrade from the cockroach infested hotel in Xian! After I slept, read my Bible, and wrote a letter, I ordered an American dinner from the menu of a hamburger, French Fries, milk shake, and wonton soup. I cringed at spending $8 (a hamburger costs me 62 cents in USA), but this was the first American food I have tasted in a week since coming to China. It sure tasted good! I think I’ve eaten more rice this past week than I’ve eaten all year. I hope my stomach feels better by tomorrow when we climb the Great Wall.

Mary is a delightful Christian nurse from Alaska on the tour and we have been enjoying sweet fellowship together. We are hoping to take a taxi tomorrow to visit a church. The Lord’s will be done.

Beijing, Monday, June 9, 1986

Yesterday was a full day! We climbed the Great Wall in 95 degree heat in the morning. It was quite a view from the top of the arid and rugged mountains. The emperor began building it 300 BC with thousands of slaves for defense to protect them from the Manchurians in the north. He made it wide enough so his whole army could march along the top of it. The wall stretches over 3000 miles from east to west in China. They estimate 400,000 people died while building it and were entombed in the wall.

Climbing the steep Great Wall in 95 degree heat!

Climbing the steep Great Wall in 95 degree heat!

View from the top of the Great Wall

View from the top of the Great Wall

I climbed a small ladder to  sit on a camel and had my photo taken with the wall in the background. As I climbed down from him, he tried to bite me!

My favorite photo of China as I sat on the unfriendly camel.

My favorite photo of China as I sat on the unfriendly camel.

After lunch, we went to the Ming tombs. My stomach still wasn’t too good, so I just sat in the garden and drank Coke. The others said they walked down five flights of stairs to a large underground empty cavern. Then we had a nice dinner at the Marco restaurant- western style! I felt much better after dinner.

Mary and I checked on the Protestant church, but they only had morning services, so we had our own service together outside in the hotel courtyard garden. We read John 21 and comments from F.B. Meyer on the life of Peter. I can’t help but think of the verses in John 21 when Christ asked Peter three times, ” Lovest Thou Me? Feed my sheep.” The three requirements for service are love, humility, and courage. May God give me all three! I have no idea what God wants me to do in relation to China. Mary and I then had a wonderful time in prayer together for the people of China to receive Christ as their Savior. It was so refreshing to both of us to worship the Lord together!

Today, we toured the beautiful Summer Palace built on the Hill of Longevity overlooking Kunming Lake. After being destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt in 1886 for Empress Cixi and became a public park in 1924. We enjoyed an excellent lunch including sweet red bean steamed rolls- just like the Korean ladies served me back home!

Intricate paintings in the Summer Palace.

Intricate paintings in the Summer Palace.

Some of the nurses had fun dressing up as the Empress!

Some of the nurses had fun dressing up as the Empress!

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

Empress Cixi's marble boat that does not float was being repaired.

Empress Cixi’s marble boat that never floated was being repaired.

The pandas at the zoo were comical as the parent pandas combed the fur of the baby panda as he played.

Mother panda with her baby. They were so cute!

Mother panda with her baby. They were so cute!

The Peking duck dinner was fabulous! They roast it in honey over a fruit wood fire for two days so all the fat drains off. Then they slice the duck in little pieces which we put inside a crepe with scallions and plum sauce, and rolled it up like a hot dog.

Fabulous Peking Duck Dinner!

Fabulous Peking Duck Dinner!

Tuesday, June 10, 1986

We visited a general hospital for adults this morning and had very friendly nurse tour guides. A neurology nurse gave me her address and asked me to write to her. I included a gospel of John and gospel tract inside my hospital’s magazine that I gave her as a small gift. I was amazed that the Director of Nursing offered me a job to teach there! But the whole atmosphere is so dark and depressing. I don’t think I would survive there alone for very long.

Xuan Wu Hospital

Xuan Wu Hospital

Friendly Neurology Nurse who was our guide.

Friendly Neurology Nurse who was our guide.

Hospital Grounds

Hospital Grounds

General ward with IV in patient's foot

General ward with IV in patient’s foot

Entrance to Intensive Care Unit.

Entrance to Intensive Care Unit.

Acupuncture Chart

Acupuncture Chart

Tour Group photo with hospital nurses.

Tour Group photo with hospital nurses.

Then they took us to a traditional pharmacy with dried lizards, snakes, essence of frog and antlers, etc.

Traditional pharmacy with dried lizards, antlers, and herbs.

Traditional pharmacy with dried lizards, antlers, and herbs.

I also walked the back streets alone for the first time. I was sad to see the poverty and smell the stench as the unfriendly people glared at me. I came across a market where they sold vegetables, live chickens, and roasted ducks. The average Chinese does not have a refrigerator, so they need to buy food daily.

We then flew to Guangzhou (formerly called Canton) and arrived about 7 p.m. We stayed at a beautiful hotel in the country by a lake and had our farewell Cantonese dinner which was superb! We said goodby to our Communist tour guide. He told us this hotel was formerly only used by Communist party leaders.

Canton beautiful hotel in the country

Canton beautiful hotel in the country

Guangzhou to Hong Kong, Wednesday, June 11, 1986

I still have about 15 Chinese gospels of John which I don’t want to take back home. After asking the Lord what to do, I decided to leave them in my hotel room. I pray the housekeeper will deliver them to people who have hungry hearts to know the truth. I am thankful that God’s word never returns void!

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

After breakfast, we boarded the express train to Hong Kong. There is quite the building boom going on in Guangzhou as evidenced by bamboo scaffolding everywhere. I’m not sure I would want to climb those scaffolds as they don’t look too sturdy to me.

Bamboo scaffolding looked a little scary to me!

Bamboo scaffolding looked a little scary to me!

This southern China countryside I’m viewing from the train window is gorgeous! Brilliant green rice fields, water buffaloes, fishing ponds with men in their cooley hats who are holding fishnets and bamboo fishing poles. Farewell, China!

Green rice fields on the way to Hong Kong on the train.

Green rice fields on the way to Hong Kong on the train.

Dear Lord, Thank You so much for giving me the privilege of visiting this ancient country. How I pray that You would bless the believers, strengthen, and protect them as they give out Your good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I pray that many will receive You as their Savior. Amen

Reflection

I thank God so much for allowing me to go to China after reading so many missionary books about it. The Lord was very gracious in that I didn’t have any further trouble with my eyes, and my mother did well with her cancer treatment while I was away.

The Lord opened the door for me to return to Beijing in 2004 to assist in caring for some orphans. During a break, I was able to tour Tienanmen Square and the fascinating Forbidden City that I missed in 1986 because of my motion sickness.

Next post I will tell you about the end of the tour in Hong Kong and my time in New York City on the return trip!