We were privileged to have been in China twice in the last few years where we visited house churches. In China they do not have all the expertise, money, organization, buildings, skill, and big programs that we have in America, but they do have what every church needs- the presence of God. as we met with them, there was an overwhelming sense of God's presence that brought tears even though we could not understand what was sung, prayed, or spoken, except the little that was translated for us.
But when they prayed there was a deep and heartfelt calling out to God as they each voiced their prayers all at the same time. I saw those dear Chinese brothers and sisters doing in the Holy Spirit's overflow what we in America are always trying to get Christians to do through retreats, seminars, and study courses.
On a cold rainy Sunday some of us visited a rural house church that met in a warehouse-type building. Most house churches meet in small apartments. This building had concrete block walls, a concrete flood, no heat, and dim light. The benches the people sat on were nothing but narrow boards on low support posts with no backs.
The people were dressed in their thick winter Chinese clothing and poverty was written all over them. We went through the service no understanding a word that was sung or spoken. At the conclusion the pastor wanted me to say something. I went to the front nad turned to face the people. Our host, whom I call my Chinese son because he came to Christ through our ministry while on a business trip to the United States and has since become very dear to us, translated for me.
As I looked upon their faces and saw the conditions under which they met I could not help but think of what we call church in America with our fine facilities, money, freedom, and Christian literature. I was keenly aware how we have squandered so much of God's blessings.
As I faced these poor Chinese brethren who continually live with the thread of daily persecution, I was truly ashamed of what we call Christianity and church in our own country. I could not speak but instead burst into tears. After awhile I gained my composure and said to them that we needed them to pray for us. I described the conditions that we enjoy as Christians in the free world and told them that to whom much is given much is required. I admitted to them that with all we enjoy in America we have a great need. I concluded, "We need the presence of God in American churches. Please pray for us."
When I finished my Chinese son, Liu, said that they wanted to sing a song for us. The Chinese brothers and sisters stood and began to sing a song of blessing to us. With upturned faces and tears streaming down their cheeks they sang with all their hearts:
I pray peace be with all the Lord's servants
My they be faithful and courageous
I pray the Lord's servants love one another,
Together protect the Lord's vineyard.
I learned later that we had been the first foreigners to visit them and to this moment. I am deeply move when I remember this very humbling experience. Our team returned home more keenly aware of the lack of His presence within our American churches.
excerpt from: https://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Presence-Christ-Jerald-White/dp/1597813249
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon