Work in China is hard, exhausting, scary, and rewarding. In early April 2011 I traveled to China with 14 others. We brought in study bibles for pastors of the underground church and gospel tracts in Chinese.
Each of us brought in about 150 lbs of material. Getting through customs at the airport is a fairly simple procedure, you just walk through the nothing to declare line and pray that they do not pull you aside to look into your bags.
All 15 of us got through safely without our bags being checked thanks to prayer and God. Since we all tried to go through at different times we all have different stories. Here is mine. After getting all of my bags (5 in all ), I went to the nothing to declare line. The line ( ie. mass of people ) was large and moving slow because they were checking bags.
About ten minutes later I was about 30 feet from the officials but because there were so many people coming in behind us, the customs officials started waving through many people at a time to ease the congestion. This is when i got through.
After staying in a hostel, the next day we delivered our bibles to a contact that will distribute them to the underground church, and then we took a sleeper train 17 hours to our base city in Western China.
There we were broken up into sub teams of 2-4 people. Our missionary that lives and works out there gave us our orders and schedules for each sub team. Victor and I traveled south of our base city.
We left for city #1 the same day. It was about a five hour bus ride. We found a hotel to stay at and slept for a few hours before going out to place our tracts. Because we arrived at night and were new at this we placed about 200 tracts, or crumbs we called them.
On our best night we placed 700-750 crumbs in a city. To go out crumbing you wear dark clothes with lots of pockets and /or a backpack. We went out into a city at 11:00 pm at the earliest and invested 3-6 hours placing crumbs.
This was hard because there were many people still walking around at all hours of the night. It was ok to be seen, just not seen placing a crumb. We would go to residential areas and place the crumbs at their doors or gates, and also under the metal doors of businesses.
We left early in the morning and took a bus to city #2. There we checked out the city and rested. The next day we stored some of our bags and took a bus to city #3. City #3 was a city in the mountains that an earthquake triggered landslide killed about 1000 people including many kids in an elementary school. City #3 also had many Tibetans living there.
We got there early because it was a short distance, found a hotel and started walking around the city. ( partly to look for good places to go crumbing at night ) The path of the landslide was very large and they were building a memorial at the top of the slide.
We met many people there including some tibetans because the people were very friendly there. However while we were walking around about six plain clothes policemen stopped us and asked us a bunch of questions like “why are you here?”, “when are you leaving?”, and “why are you here?”.
One policeman even took my camera and started looking at all of the photos I had on it. They took us to a storefront to copy our passports and visas and then let us go, but one of the officers followed us the rest of the afternoon.
We went back to our hotel to find that the hotel staff wanted copies of our passports and visas also. We had some dinner and then went to bed still planning on going out that night at 11:00 pm. At 10:30 pm however three policemen walked into our hotel room without even knocking. They started asking us the same questions like “why are you here?”.
They left shortly after that because we were telling them “we just wanted see the city where the landslide was” Because of this we decided to not go out crumbing that night, and we got the first bus out or town in the morning.
We went back to city #2 where some of our bags were and we checked into the hotel. Because it was a Sunday we decided to check out a church that was on the hillside of the city. Yes there was a church with a large red cross on it sitting on a hillside above the entire city!
Each local or city government in China operates by some of their own rules so apparently this city is ok with non-registered churches being there. Our taxi only took us so far and then we had to walk up a steep dirt trail to get to the church.
When we were close to the top we could hear the people praising God with Chinese hymns. We got there just as they were starting. The church was full of people but they made room for us. We sat through the entire service in Chinese and met the pastor and others afterwards.
We found out at this time that they were not a three self church but an independent church. We used our phrasebooks to communicate. That night we continued our crumbing and left the next morning.
The next day was a grueling 13 hour bus ride over a high mountain pass to a big city on the plains. The roads were bumpy dirt roads and on the way down they were building a brand new four lane highway complete with many tunnels and bridges.
Traveling down the mountain was like going through a large construction zone. One good thing about this trip is that we saw some spectacular scenery that most people will never see. Especially after the new highway is compete because a tunnel cuts off the entire top of the mountain. When we got to city #4 we rested and the next night we invested our crumbs.
Going to our next city we had to take a bus ride to a city in between, then wait three hours in their bus station before getting another bus to city #5. While waiting in the bus station the government officials were conducting a “job fair”. there were hundreds of chinese people inside and outside filling out applications for something, probably work.
After about two hours of waiting in the bus station, Victor decided to start handing out gospel tracts! A big no-no in the training manual. In about five minuets he handed out about 50 tracts. Everyone in the bus station was reading our tracts. After awhile we saw two men showing a police officer our tracts and pointing to us.
Did I forget to mention that they were building a brand new mosque outside the bus station. Well the police officers were to busy with all of the people coming to fill out job applications so they left us alone.
A half an hour later (what seemed to me like an eternity) our bus came and we left for city #5. In city #5 we rested and invested crumbs the next night.
Leaving early for city #6, our bus went over another high mountain pass with snow on it this time. City #6 was high in elevation and it was a tourist town.
There were old tall stone walls around the center of the city and all of the buildings were timber frame construction. There were many Tibetans living in the city as well. We rested and invested our crumbs the next night.
Our next three cities were in primarily Tibetan areas with some big monasteries in the towns. We found out at the bus station that the police were not letting any foreigners into those towns at the present time. They would not sell us any bus tickets into that area.
This is not unusual as the Chinese government closes Tibetan areas to foreigners all the time. We had to backtrack to City #4, the large city on the plains. We invested crumbs there during the night and the next night we took a overnight train ride to our base city.
In the base city all of the teams got together two days earlier than planed. It was good to be all back together as one. We had a problem though, we still had over 30 boxes of crumbs to get rid of, with about 500 crumbs per box.
So we broke up into teams again, and for the next two nights we spread out into our base city and delivered most of our crumbs into that city. We had about four boxes left which some of us had to invest in Beijing the night before we left for home.
On the train back to Beijing, the gospel was shared with at least five people using our Christian phrasebooks.
We came, we spread and shared the gospel, we brought in bibles for the underground church, and we had a lot of fun doing it. If this trip sounds interesting to you, I can get you in contact with people that do this once of twice a year.
This work is perfect for young adults and teenagers, although anyone can do it. Be sure to look at all of my pictures that I have with this. Thank you to all that were praying for me on this trip. I needed it.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all,