It's never easy to do what is right.
I was studying out of Ezra recently, and was reminded how difficult at times it can be to do what God has called someone them for. In Ezra's case, the rebuilding of the temple. But when King Cyrus instructed that the Jews could rebuild the temple, and after his passing, another King came into power who did not have the same understanding, nor love for God's plan. The enemies of Israel railed and rallied against them, causing them over 15 years in the delay of the building of the second temple, but when the people became focused once again on doing what God had called them to do (Temple work) the people labored prayerfully and faithfully. Ezra saw to it, and God blessed the work. Yet it came at the cost of continual persecution, threats and outside pressures.
Recently Ruth and I began a new church work in Chengdu. This was something God was dealing with me about a few years ago, but the time just wasn't ideal. Late last year we traveled to the area and met friends, all under the leading of the Holy Spirit, and I sensed in my spirit that it was time to establish and plant this new work. We worked with a local couple to find a house to meet in, and there the work God called into being was started, all by faith. It's been faith which has consistently led me and my wife where we go throughout China, but it also has come under strict and careful planning due to the sensitive times we live in.
Life in China is most certainly changing, and to a degree, a rather large degree, for the better. Yet there are some aspects of Communism which are still very alive in China as the Government continues to push forward its agenda to further make China a power to be reckoned with by the West. Sensitive issues as internet freedoms, religion, and Taiwan are hot button issues, and with all of the world's attention getting lost with what's happening with North Korea, it can easily cause most Westerners to lose sight of the reality within China.
Though life within China is definitely changing (for the better in most cases) for those who are steadfast in Christ, it still requires maintaining a sense of awareness that needs to be checked and double-checked in this growing trend of uncertainty that we are seeing develop in this part of the world. Yet I continue to press with the belief that change is indeed coming to China, Democratic change to a large degree. How or what that will resemble is anyone's guess, but change, like a sudden change in the weather on a clear spring day is coming, and many are beginning to become awake to such a feeling that is happening all across China.
So we continue to plant, educate and train believers in the hope that at some point in the near future we will all see what we've been praying for - an open, vibrant China.