Ge’ermu to Tianjun
This is the first of a three part update on my travels in the orient. So much has happened that it would be far too long to recount in one post so I am going to split it up over three days and three posts. So this one will be covering from my last update in Ge’ermu up to my adventures in Tianjun.
So I think I left off last post telling about how I had just tract-bombed Ge’ermu and then was stuck there for another day because there were no buses to the next town when I needed them. So thus I sat all day in various places around town trying to use my time wisely but not entirely succeeding at it. Time crawls when one is staring at a watch. But 7:00 came around and I boarded the bus for Dulan.
Here’s the overall picture. I had two weeks to get a certain quota of towns done that we had mapped out. A delay of one day could throw everything off because time was very tight. So on the road to Dulan I am worrying that we would not arrive in town in time for me to crumb. If I got there at 6:00 or later then we have a problem. Too many people up and about. If earlier I might have time to get’er done but would have the problem of three heavy bags to deposit somewhere and that is not easy in the middle of the night.
But all my fears were nullified when we made it to Dulan in record time at 12:30 AM. They dumped me off in front of a little hotel and rolled on towards Xining. Now usually when you check into a hotel over here they record everything about you and at times even make copies of your passport and visa. I suppose this town was not very acquainted with handling foreigners because the clerk just glanced at my passport and ushered me up to my room. 50 quai and I was set for the night. Within 30 minutes of being dumped off I was on the streets tract-bombing with a very thankful heart to God for permitting this night to be a success. Got it done in a couple hours and was back in the hotel for a couple hours of shut-eye before rolling out again in the morning.
Took a bus out to the town of Wulan early the next morning. Was upon arrival immediately ‘befriended’ by a overly helpful taxi driver who was all too willing to help me do everything in exchange for a few quai. He gave me his phone number and instructed me to call him whenever I needed a ride. After this all day long whenever he would see me around town he would holler at me and motion for me to get in his taxi. No thanks. Your town is less than a mile long. I can walk. Nonetheless it is good to have someone you see and can recognize and yell at for a day or so. Gets a little lonely over here. At the time of my writing this it was been well over a week since I have seen a white face.
Ate lunch and dinner in a little noodle shop and got my picture taken with two cops who were eating there as well. That night I crumbed the town as usual but had to wake everyone up to get back in which is not fun to do when it is run by tired little Chinese women. Luckily I was not yelled at as my Dad has been. Once again I was out of there early and off to the next town. Tianjun.
15 minutes after arrival in Tianjun I was sure something was amiss. The hotel lady was trying to tell me that she had to wait on something and my fears were confirmed when Larry, Moe and Curly came in the door(the names I have christened these three officers as there behavior vaguely resembled the three American goofs). They took their time in talking to the lady and then to each other and then on their phones and then to the lady and then to each other and then on their phones and then…Etc. Etc. Etc. About an hour after arrival two more cops showed up with a Chinese man in tow who it turned out could speak English. He informed me that Tianjun was closed to foreigners but they would let me stay the night provided I left right away in the morning. He gave me his cell phone number and instructed me to call him when I wanted to go eat as he would escort me there and back. Apparently the cops had him on a pretty tight leash so he would keep me on an even tighter one. So I checked in and read for a while.
When eating time rolled around I opted not to call him and just go out on my own. I’m and big boy and can order food by myself. I don’t even need a bib as of last year. But as I was walking out the hotel clerks went into a tizzy and stopped me and called the English speaker whose name by the way was James. He gave me permission to eat. We then began to text back and forth a little thru which I found he was a believer. It was decided that I would spend the evening at his place.
Thru this visit to his house I met his wife Anna and learned a little about the life of some Chinese believers under the bamboo curtain. There were six believers in the town. Two were James and his wife. The other believers did not know James was a Christian as he was afraid to come out with it for fear of losing his job. I talked enough with them that evening to be sure of his salvation but it was scary to think of the lifestyle they were living. Without any Christian contact other than perhaps twice a year they lived cut off from any edifying fellowship. Yet in spite of this they were going strong and he told me of how he had been able to come across some bibles and Christian books and was reading them. The visit was an extremely encouraging one for me having never been in such a situation before and able to speak to an underground Christian about the God we both are dedicated to serving. The one side of me longs to see him step out of his bubble of fear and announce his belief in God but the other side understands the pressure he must be under and knows how hard that would be. May the King of kings guide them both in the path He has for them.
As I was under surveillance and carefully guarded I was unable to go out to crumb that night. I do not regard it at all as a wasted day though. I trust the King used me to encourage two of His dear children. Of course I was unable to share with them the true nature of my travels as that would have endangered both them and I. One day in glory all secrets will be revealed and we can all rejoice in the workings of our God thru each and every one of us to accomplish His final purposes. Till then let us be faithful in our duties however humdrum or dangerous they may be.
All for the King!!!
Part 1 of 3