HARVEST TIME IN CHINA
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
—Luke 2:20 (NIV)
House churches in China love to celebrate Christmas—without Santa and the commercialization found in the west which, sadly, is now creeping into the profit-centric malls in China’s cities. They revel in the opportunity to share about the coming of Jesus Christ and God’s love to colleagues, friends and neighbors who usually do not mind attending special Christmas gatherings in the spirit of the season.
Increasingly, house churches plan elaborate programs with performances, such as ice-breakers, Christmas carols, dances and sketches—to till the soil of each heart—before culminating with an evangelistic message. Several rent public halls or banquet rooms in hotels and create a festive air with decorations of balloons, ribbons and artificial flowers.
Brother Kao says, “We found out that it was possible for us to rent meeting halls in some places that were usually used for wedding dinners. So, with the Christmas season fast approaching, we booked such halls at multiple locations in preparation for our Christmas evangelistic outreach,” Kao continued. Then the church put together a program and began practicing hard on the short plays about two months before.
“There was this one hall that had just been used for a wedding banquet. When we arrived to put up our Christmas decorations, we found it was already beautifully done up so we merely added a few more Christmas touches. We had our church members invite their unsaved friends and relatives. Because Christmas is viewed as a Western celebration, many people are curious and open to finding out what it’s all about, so they readily come.”
The hall was packed with many first-time guests. The program began with the singing of some Christmas carols and everyone sang with gusto, even though they might not have understood what the lyrics meant. Then the plays followed, dramatizing the story of Noah and the flood, showing the depravity of man, and how only eight were saved. At the end of it, the pastor went up on stage, explained what the whole story meant and shared about man’s need for a Savior before making an altar call.
Kao explained, “Each night at every location where we held this outreach program, an average of one hundred people would pray to become children of God. And because we had received the materials from Open Doors earlier, we were able to give each new believer a Bible and a book on the spot. We find that doing so helps them to further understand the decision they have made and enables them to grow in their new life in Christ.”
“Please inform our brothers and sisters who are praying for us that we are putting the books you supplied to good use and giving them to new Christians,” he voiced gratefully.
RESPONSE: Today I will pray for those who have not yet heard the Good News about Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Thank God that house churches in China have such effective outreaches at Christmas time. Pray against hindrances and interferences from the local authorities.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.