Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The most spiritual person I know

In my 24 years as a Christian, I have met a lot of other Christians: including pastors, missionaries and famous writers. Very few people have impressed me. One of those few is my former student Rebecca. She's a middle aged Taiwanese woman, who used to be a teacher. She's married but has no children. She has long been interested in prayer and even started a Chinese newsletter to promote intercession. Then she felt God calling her to full time prayer. She told God that she was willing to give up her job if God would be her new boss and pay her accordingly.

Well, God took care of her family's needs, a house rent-free and enough money in the bank to live for a year without work. So Rebecca and her husband, yes he's an intercessor too, quit work a devoted themselves to pray eight hours a day. Soon after that she started coming to my Sunday School class. She also began praying for me. As a result, I believe God poured out many blessings to me and greatly empowered my teaching.

A year or so later, I wanted to change our class from a lecture style to more of a fellowship sharing style. That is very difficult for Chinese. All over East Asia, teachers authoritatively tells students what is right, students copy it down, then parrot it back on the tests. My students were not comfortable telling me what they think, or feel or do. Even if they did, English is not their mother tongue.

Well, we gave it a try and most students couldn't function this way. Rebecca was reluctant too, but she gave it a try. She'd share what happened in her life that week and we were all surprised. While in prayer, God would tell her to go down to the 7-11 convenience store and give a gospel tract to the worker there. So she gets up and does it. Then God tells her to do something else and she does that too. And on and on. The funny thing is, she's not boasting. In fact it is almost painful for her to share these intimate details of her relationship with God. She's just doing it to please the teacher, me. After a few weeks of this Rebecca talked to me privately, saying "I don't want to share anymore, everyone is just watching me." So we went back to the lecture format.

At this time I came to the humbling conclusion that I'm teaching someone who is significantly more spiritual than I am. In fact, I was in the presence of a most remarkable person. Yet there were things I could help her with. Aside from Bible Knowledge, I tried to help her understand more about God's forgiveness, grace and mercy. Taiwanese don't emphasize these virtues. Rebecca like many of her fellow Christians was quite stern with herself and others. I wanted her to find a righteous balance between justice and mercy. One Sunday she told me that Taiwan was too proud so she was going to get God to drive the stock market down. So down it went, day after day, for months. I have no doubt God responded to her requests.

After three years in my class, Rebecca decided to go to a Chinese seminary in Los Angeles. She asked me to write a recommendation for her. I wrote to the school "Rebecca is more that qualified to go your school. The question is not whether she is worthy, but whether your school is worthy of her." She got in anyway.

A year later she came back to visit and I asked her if she was still praying for me. She looked at me very seriously and said, "You should be a prayer-man by now!"

Now Rebecca has finished seminary and studying English full time while her husband goes to seminary. Somehow God is providing for them. A couple of weeks ago, one of my long time students was going out to LA during Chinese New Year, to visit her daughter. She was also going to see Rebecca. I sent word that I missed her. My student came back and said Rebecca was surprised I missed her. Rebecca also sent back some gifts for my daughter. I still think she needs to understand what a treasure she is to God and that mercy triumphs over judgment.