Early one morning, my team set out for a prayer walk on one of our campuses. While walking with Mae and asking God for discernment about how to pray, a little child ran in front of me and started to giggle. Her grandparents encouraged her to say hello to the strange foreigner, and they pointed, smiling. I began to ask God for her salvation, that someday she might know Him and meet people who could bring her into God’s family. Her smile was so distracting that when I finally turned away, I was shocked to see a man standing right in front of me, hugging a tree. His feet firmly planted and squared with his shoulders, the man focused all of his attention into the tree, his palms pressed to the sides of the rough bark. He didn’t speak a word, but I knew he worshiping. When he finished, he looked at me and gave a slight nod as he walked over to another tree and began the ritual again.
To my left and right I saw more of the same; men and women of all ages practicing different meditative postures and poses; some following similar patterns to the tree hugger, others simply sitting. At a glance, it might seem very nice. But although the scene was peaceful, my heart was not at peace. I realized in that moment that there is a real difference between simple tranquility and the peace that stems from the love of Christ. I felt a strong need to pray against the stronghold of tradition, and was given direction about how to proceed over the next weeks as we try to redeem the campus and the students for Jesus.
I have been there twice since that first day, and have been given a vision for hosting Bible studies there that will someday become sustainable families of girls who meet there long after Mae and I go home. Mae and I are committing one day a week to have personal devotions there, and are asking God for increased vision and divine appointments with future leaders.
Please join me in prayer as we meet up against the traditional values of Asia. Mae and I have two friends whose families are steeped in ethnic Buddhism and the campus here seems to have deep roots there as well. Our God is bigger than any other idol, but I know we have to ask with persistence for his power to come into this place. Please also ask that the Lord continues to send specific girls to Mae and I, who have willing hearts and the urge to really live.
P.S The guys on our team brought a new friend into the family yesterday! His name is Allen. =) Praise the Lord!