In early April, Dr. Y and Dr. C were invited to Ningbo to pr_ach to and t_ach the leadership of some of the assemblies there for three days. Ningbo is one of the first of two cities in China where B_ptists set up works in 1843. This was fifteen years before Hudson Taylor arrived in Ningbo. Each morning from 8:30 until 5:00 p.m., Dr. Y and Dr. C taught, pr_ached, and answered questions from 34 of the primary leaders in the ch_rches of Ningbo. On the first day, Dr. Y and Dr. C focused on the Great Commission as the purpose of a ch_rch, and the listeners were very excited about clearly understanding their purpose in all that they do. They were anxious to get busy and very hungry to know and obey the B_ble! The second day Dr. Y and Dr. C focused on doctrines, such as faith vs. works and free will vs. predestination, as well as b_ptism. The questions and discussion after the teaching on b_ptism became very intense and lively. These people already b_ptized by immersion; but they had a long waiting period before b_ptism, and they rarely b_ptized. Dr. C went over the simple b_blical requirements for baptism, and in light of what had been taught about the Great Commission as our primary purpose, emphasized the importance of b_ptizing converts. The group then began to give Dr. C excuses about how hard it was for them to b_ptize compared to the ch_rches in America. Dr. C told them that he lived in China, not America, but we had made a way to b_ptize in China, even as foreigners. Then he showed them pictures of our b_ptistries in Jilin and Wenzhou.
At 6:30 the next morning, an hour and a half before he was supposed to arrive, the host p_stor knocked on Dr. Y’s and Dr. C’s hotel door. He had two announcements. First, he asked if Dr. C would change the topic of his teaching for the day and teach on marriage instead of his prepared topic. Dr. C said he need at least an hour or two to prepare to teach on marriage for four hours. Therefore, they decided that Dr. Y would go teach from 8:30 until 10:30. Then they would return to pick up Dr. C, and he would teach the rest of the day on marriage. Then the host pastor gave the second reason that he had come so early. He said that he and his people had gone out and bought a child’s swimming pool the evening before, and they already had 24 people lined up for b_ptism! He wanted to know if Dr. C would b_ptize them that evening after the meetings. Of course, Dr. C eagerly agreed. In the excitement, Dr. Y forgot to take Mr. Ha_, the American leader from the Wenzhou team who had come up from Wenzhou to participate in the meetings.
At 10:30, Dr. C was expecting the host to return, but he didn’t return until 11:45 a.m. Dr. C thought Dr. Y simply spoke longer than he planned, but it turned out that the authorities had shown up at the meeting! The Chinese who were there simply told the authorities that they were just a bunch of friends gathered together for “cultural exchange.” The authorities asked questions of a few people but then left. If Dr. C and Mr. Ha_ had been in the meeting, there would have been a lot more trouble because we are foreigners, but our G_d was watching over us and these meetings!!
After lunch everyone went to another location, and Dr. C taught on marriage until supper time. After a quick supper, Dr. C began to b_ptize. Everyone who was there brought themselves in, brought their own change of clothes, and even brought their own towels. By the end of the evening, Dr. C had baptized not 24 but 34!! Everyone was very excited. It was a great way to end the meetings, and the leaders were anxious for the next time that Dr. Y and Dr. C would be able to visit again.
After the meeting in Ningbo, Dr. C continued on to Wenzhou where he had another profitable meeting with some of the leaders in that city, as well as an “Easter Party” with the Americans on our team there and some of their Chinese friends. Meanwhile, Dr. Y returned to Jilin to pr_ach to his people in Jilin. The Americans in Wenzhou encouraged their Chinese friends to invite their friends to their “Easter Party.” There were 52 people at the party, including our team, and 8 of those people trusted Chr_st! It was not only exciting because of the people who were s_ved but also because of how excited these Chinese friends were as they saw for the first time other people trust Chr_st! The L_rd seems to be opening up a lot of opportunities for us not only to personally see people s_ved but also to influence ch_rch leaders here. At the meetings in both cities, not only were we invited to return, but we were also invited to other locations.