|photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com|
One day, the Mandarin surprised me by granting permission to take the men outside the prison walls for a church service. The prisoners stared at the mountains, trees, and village in the distance as they listened to God's Word. Tears drip down their faces. When they returned to the prison they bowed and said, "Thank you, Ai-weh-deh. You have shown us great kindness."
It sure felt good to see their happy faces. Perhaps some will ask Jesus into their heart.
I spent most of my time in nearby villages. Actually, the Mandarin paid me to inspect the little girl's feet to make sure they grew strong. When I finished his work, I played with the children and told Bible stories. We sang songs and laughed until I had to leave.
I loved the Chinese people more each day, but I didn't like some of the things they did. When I returned from the mountain villages last week, I decided to talk with the Mandarin about a few problems.
I walked through the center of Yang Cheng toward his office, practicing what I would say to him. On the side of the street sat a woman wearing silver earrings and shiny necklaces. A small child cuddled next to her. The poor thing sat in the hot sun with dirty, torn clothes, and she had a swollen belly. She must have been starved.
I said, "You should cover the child's head to protect it from the heat or it will die."
The woman shrugged. "I don't care. I can get another child whenever I want. You can have her for two shillings."
This woman buys and sells children! "I don't have two shillings." I didn't want her to think I approved of selling children. Maybe the Mandarin can help put a stop to selling children.
I continued to the Mandarin's office and waitied to see him. The door opened when the gong rang. We said our greetings to each other then he let me speak. "Mandarin, I saw a woman selling a child in town. How can we protect the children?"
He sighed. "Ai-weh-deh, I cannot help where there is no law. Goverment works slow. You must be patient. Walk on the other side of the road and do not look at the child."
As I walked back through the Yang Cheng, I saw the woman again. My heart cried for the child next to her. I reached into my pocket and pulled out five Chinese coins which was about ninepence in English money. "Here. This is all I have."
She shoved the sad girl toward me. "Take the child, she's yours."
The poor thing cried. I sang to her and held her close all the way to the inn. She gobbled the food I gave as if she hadn't eaten in days, maybe weeks. When she felt better and seemed ready to trust me, I gave her a bath, fresh clothes, and a place to sleep.
She didn't have a name as far as I could tell. I decided to call her Ninepence. She cried and hid for many months. Ninepence didn't believe she had a real home, food, clothes, and someone who loved her.
Then--one day--I saw her smile.
My sweet Ninepence, a gift from God.
Come back next week to hear what else God did for me and the people of China.