An unplanned meeting with a murderer
When I was 16, my then cell leader gave me a book titled “Lilies Among Thorns”. The book chronicled the sufferings and testimonies of believers in a persecuted country, compiled and written by Dan Yun. It left a deep impression and a seed was planted in the soil of my heart.
Thereafter, another cell leader caught wind of my interest in serving the believers of that nation and invited me to their weekly prayer meetings. After faithfully praying for the nation about a year or so, I went on my first mission trip with the team at 19 years old! During my first trip, I earnestly sought the Lord to reveal if this was a nation that He wanted me to serve in. On the last day of the trip at the airport, God spoke to me very clearly, “Liuqing, your forefathers came from here and migrated to Singapore to start a new life. Because they made the major decision to move, you were born in Singapore, having the luxury to access the gospel.” Had I been born in my forefather’s homeland, had they not moved, the chances of me receiving and serving Christ would have been slim! A sense of responsibility swept over me – I knew I had to take the gospel back to my people because there are many who are still unable to hear it, even up till today.
I was in my early to mid-twenties when I made my third or fourth trip back. It was an exposure trip to a completely new village in XG, about 5-6 hours from the main city. Our team was made up by my friend, Michelle and me. Looking back, I had no idea why we chose that village; we neither had contacts nor friends in that place, but God had His own plans in mind!
When we reached the little village, we were clueless on where to start and what to do, so we did what tourists love to do – boat rides! We eyed a little bamboo sampan along the soothing waters where little men and women sat on little stools on the bamboo boats. Excitedly, we paid for the ride and got on, trying not to rock the boat too much in the process. Our fun ended when we were dropped off at the end point. The once blazing sun is now setting coolly into the evening sky as the boatman rowed away. Alas, his back was turned toward us, and our hope of returning to the city became a small blip in the horizon, sailing away with him. It was then when we realised we were totally and undeniably alone. Not knowing what to do next, we started praying and asking Jesus to help us. In mere moments, a car appeared in the distance, and our hands shot out, hoping to flag him down. The car rolled to a stop, and the windows came down, inside was a man and his driver. We explained our situation and told them that we needed to get back to the village. Unbeknownst to us, we were talking to the village chief and we only found out when he revealed it to us after inviting us into the car!
Throughout our stay, the village chief hosted us, bringing us to various places to eat and sightsee with his driver. In our time together, we tried sharing the gospel with him. He was so delighted to have Singaporean tourists in his village that on the night of our farewell dinner, he gathered some of his village leaders to have dinner with us! Over dinner, we played the Jesus film for these uncles who were eating, drinking and smoking nonchalantly. They were not very taken to Jesus but were more engrossed in finding out more about us Singaporeans. Upon returning to our accommodation, Michelle and I patted ourselves on the back, “At least we tried,” we reasoned as we settled down for our last night in the hotel. A knock came on our door at around 10-11pm that night. Who could it be?
Standing before us was the village chief himself, with an unreadable expression on his face.
He asked if he could come in and chat more with us.
“Of course!” we replied, inviting the heavy-hearted man in.
“Is Jesus able to accept someone who has killed many?”
You could feel the weight behind his words; only Jesus knew the depths of what this man had gone through and the responsibility he carried as a village chief.
Without hesitation, we affirmed him of the love of Christ, and prayed the sinner’s prayer together with him. You could see his countenance change after the prayer. The weight of guilt and shame were pulled off his shoulders and replaced with the conviction that he is forgiven! The village chief left our hotel as a free man that night.
The next morning, the village chief’s driver brought us out for our final breakfast. Having spent many days with us and the village chief, the driver heard our conversations about Jesus. He asked us more about Jesus over breakfast, and we managed to lead him in the sinner’s prayer as well!
Michelle and I went back to the main city jubilant. We had no doubt that the Jesus film planted many seeds in the hearts of the men on the last night. Despite the thorny grounds that surrounded us, we have come to see that even in what seems like barrenness, God can still cause lilies of the fields to germinate and grow. He restores, gives life and most importantly, gives hope. Let the Lord use you to be His seed sower; some seeds may fall on the wayside, some on thorny ground, but some will land on good soil and blossom!
The Divine Appointment