Chinese New Year gift
It was Chinese New Year’s Eve and I was staying overnight in a youth hostel in New Zealand. As is my custom, I had been praying for a ‘holiday gift’. This ‘holiday gift’ is a prayer for a divine appointment (like Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8).
Usually I only have one holiday gift but this was a special two month long-service leave, so I asked for more than the one opportunity I’d already had.
The room had five ladies and three were going out since it was a Saturday night. Not being much of a party person, I stayed in my room. About 9:15pm a newcomer arrived. She looked Chinese so I spoke Mandarin to her and she nearly fell over. She was working in a hiking equipment shop and had just come off shift.
Of course, she was curious why I spoke Chinese and so I explained about working in Taiwan and that I was a storyteller. She kept asking questions until she found out I was a Christian. Then she said, “I went to church once. It made me cry.”
“Why did it make you cry?”
“They talked about love and I need love.”
What an easy opportunity. I said, “I know some stories that would help you understand that love and how to find it. Would you be interested?”
She was, but first she had to go and get dinner. We didn’t start the stories until about 9:45 pm. It was obvious from the first story that here was a definite ‘divine appointment’. She listened avidly to every story and in between we discussed what we were learning about people and God. She asked many excellent questions – most of which we didn’t answer as subsequent stories would do so.
After each story she’d ask, “What’s next?”
I was praying that the room mates wouldn’t return and distract us. We reached the end of eight stories about 11:15pm. I normally go to sleep at 9:30 but it was worth a late night to share with this lady. I completed the story set with a gospel outline, ‘Two Ways to Live’, that summarises the Bible’s message and explains what a Christian is and how to become one.
I sensed that God had prepared this woman’s heart, bringing her all the way from Mainland China into a youth hostel room in New Zealand.“Creator God, thank you that tonight is Chinese New Year’s Eve. It is an important night for we Chinese, the end of the old and the start of the new. It is like the Passover night in Egypt. Tonight is my Passover. I leave the old and start the new life of following you.”
I offered to pray for her and taught her how. I wondered if she’d pray but assured her it didn’t need to be complicated at all, just to express what was in her heart.
She prayed using some of story content. “Creator God, thank you that tonight is Chinese New Year’s Eve. It is an important night for we Chinese, the end of the old and the start of the new. It is like the Passover night in Egypt. Tonight is my Passover. I leave the old and start the new life of following you.”
Both of us ended up in tears. I was only there the one evening but there was time to direct her towards finding a Bible and a church. I trust that her new heavenly Father had someone prepared to continue to teach her how to be a disciple of Jesus.