In the last year or so I had a real interest in China, a nation both ancient and modern on a large chunk of Asia with over a billion people. I have heard stories about how China has the largest number of people coming to Christ, good relations with Israel, although a nation with restrictions and still officially Communist. Today, although China is manufacturing capital of the world by a long stretch, everyone wants to do business with the Chinese as the economy is booming and folks there want to buy British and European made products.
I got offered to go on a 9 day mission trip in April 2017 to teach the Bible to current believers there in Beijing, and after a while trying to get my work to get me the time off which took me weeks, I had 16 days to use. Later on, I found that the trip was full. I was disappointed but as I already got a flight with Alitalia to fly Gatwick to Beijing via Rome for a real good deal of £395, I decided to make my own plans.
Getting a visa is tricky. I left it a bit late and most sources online were recommending me get one from a Chinese travel shop in China town area of London. This was frustrating as I had to get two lots of photos from a nearby post office, as the first ones were the wrong size. The visa is £180.
This isn’t China, but I do like this part of London. There are 2 maybe 3 churches of Chinese believers round here. It would be really interesting to see what its like for Christian to live or work in this district. I’m also keen to see how Chinese people respond to the life of Jesus. My trip is purely a holiday and to see and document this fascinating place.
2. Beijing’s industrial aftertaste
Toulouse is a large city in France. I turned back here after I could not proceed any further towards Andorra, see the previous article.
Bars, cafes and shops have all the charm you would expect to see in a French city.
France has a history based on Catholicism, today it is a very secular country. There are not many evangelical Christians.
When I visited, I did see a nice Christian bookshop which was shut when I went past it on a Thursday evening.
I also saw this really nice church, it’s the Notre-Dame du Taur
Stain glass windows are some of the best I have seen.
This painting of Jesus’ trial looks really good, with his disciples to the right, the Sanhedrin and Roman leaders in the middle and members of the public on the left.
My church in London sponsor missions in France, as there is a shortage for those to spread the gospel as Africa, Asia or South America.
In another part of Toulouse, I spotted this mission tract whilst waiting for the traffic lights, hope more of these do get seen by the French people.
Here’s the book shop I found above.
Introduction – Newspaper danger – Occitane, little known district of France & wannabe new nation – No Andorra for me – Toulouse’s churches –
For some years people have seen analogies from Star Wars to the bible.
I’m sure its only a matter of time until some theology bloggers start analysing The Force awakens. I thought I would start the ball rolling. 🙂
- A friend of mine who lives in London, I’ll call him S. He is from a Jewish background and was in a prison in a Muslim country and after being in there for years and subject to horrendous abuse, had a real life encounter with Jesus and accepting him as his Lord and saviour, the Lord gave him instructions to get out of the jail past the guards and walk free.
- Brother Yun was arrested by security police numerous times and was thrown into prison three times for sharing the gospel in communist China…… ….Once, Brother Yun was paraded through the streets with a red cross tied behind him for half a day. When night fell, he was locked and left alone inside a large interrogation room. The wooden cross was taken off his back but his hands were still tied up. All of a sudden, the rope that was used to tie his hands snapped by itself. He immediately walked out of the interrogation room and walked through the courtyard in the midst of onlookers. Nobody stopped him or said anything to him. It was as if God had blinded their eyes and they did not even recognise who he was.
- In the new Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens, the newest generation Jedi, a young woman called Rey, is attached to a chair with shackles in a locked jail. Through using the ‘force’ she repeatedly asked the Stormtrooper guard to unlock her and let her free. After the third attempt the guard obeys her and she walks away.
- Acts 5 : 17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.” 21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.
- Acts 16 : 22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. 35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” 38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.
All 5 of these stories isn’t by using lock picking or getting out through a ventilation duct. Each one is escaping from a prison was only through faith.
#1 ‘S’ has not put his incredible testimony in print or on the web, only from when I listened to his tragic but ultimately heartwarming story. I’m trying encourage him to write a book.
#2 Brother Yun is one of the most famous pioneering Christians in China (I really need to buy this soon) http://www.inspirationalchristians.org/biography/brother-yun/
#3 spoilers here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_The_Force_Awakens
#4 Acts 5 : 17
#5 Acts 16 : 22