Update #5 from Francis Chan
It has been an amazing couple of months as you probably saw from Lisa’s updates. I don’t even know where to start. Once again, God far exceeded my expectations. He has a way of doing that…
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us… Ephesians 3:20
There is far too much to say. I won’t even attempt to write down all of my thoughts, as that would take too long to read. I prefer you spend that time in scripture. So let me just throw out a few thoughts.
GOD is the love of my life. While I enjoyed experiencing different cultures and meeting new people, I most enjoyed my time communing with God. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing. Nothing beats conversing with the living God and watching Him answer prayer.
My family was able to experience exactly what I had hoped and more. One of my goals as a parent is to show my kids how to live for eternity (Matt. 6:18-20). I don’t want them to live for the things of this earth. This was the first time they were able to enjoy not having a home and finding security in Christ. While I tried to teach that our house was not our home, it is much easier to grasp that concept while homeless.
We have always been a pretty happy family, but we have never been this happy. Our time at a children’s home in Thailand was probably our family favorite. The typical day was wake up, have breakfast, serve and play with the kids during the day, and then worship with them in the evening. Most nights Lisa and I would then stay up late with our oldest two talking, laughing, and praying. I doubt they will ever forget this trip.
The church overseas was pretty much what I expected: devoted and passionate. Leaders in India explained that it makes no sense for a person to make a casual commitment to Jesus in a place where there is persecution. Only a person who genuinely believes would endure the suffering that goes into being a Christian. I was blessed for the chance to talk to people who were beaten for their faith. Especially memorable were a couple women I met who were kicked out of their villages for following Christ. Pregnant at the time, they gave birth in the jungle with only their husbands by their sides. As they shared about the struggle to find food for their children, I realized I had nothing to ever complain about.
Speaking to underground church leaders in China was equally enlightening. Most surprising to me was their response when I told them about “church” in America. I did not expect the response I got when I explained how common it is for people to switch churches if they find another with better child-care, better music, or a more gifted speaker. They laughed really hard. It was weird. It was like they thought I was joking. It opened my eyes to the uniqueness of our situation. Remember that India and China combined represent almost 40% of the world’s population. The U.S. represents about 4%. Too often I have looked at other cultures as being strange. I forget that we are the minority.
Don’t get me wrong, not every “Christian” I met overseas was committed. There were pockets of people who casually called themselves “Christian” in places where Jesus had become more socially acceptable. For the most part, however, I loved the fellowship with believers who had experienced and endured far more than I have.
The future is still unclear at this point, but I am at total peace. I am looking into a couple possible places to plant my family for the next few months. While I am unsure of where I will be located, I am fairly certain of what God has called me to work on over the next few months. It is both overwhelming and exciting. I will wait for the next update to explain all of that.
Thank you to those who prayed for my family. I believe we are all closer to Jesus and more like Him as a result of the past few months. I hope the same is true for you.