That may sound like a strange statement for a person so adamant about sharing the Good News, and I'm a little disappointed, honestly, that my first travel abroad for Him is yet to happen. But, I have extremely been focused on what I believe is the ministry where God wants my energy and attention. Disappointed might be a strong word...maybe understanding is a better one.
I'm convinced God has put on my heart where my work abroad (and in person) will be in His name. While a mission trip to Nicaragua will probably be my first opportunity in the next year, my plans are already being made for a much different destination. China.
Christianity is spreading at a rapid pace in the socialist state. While tolerated as a benign religion by the state, the Chinese people are starving for the Hope we have to share in the message of Jesus Christ. God put this on my heart about 8 years ago. I don't find it a bit coincidental that one of the first people I met in my current job 6 years ago was a Chinese immigrant who runs the company IT Department. He was only a few years in this country then. Over the past 6 years, we have had extensive conversations about faith and the role of religion in his country. Educational conversation.
While my co-worker and friend remains a devout atheist, I find it a blessing to have the opportunity to minister to him 5 days a week. Just this week we had a funny exchange that is typical of the dynamic of our relationship. I had prepared a PowerPoint presentation for a series I'm speaking in at church on the historical reliability of the Bible. I had printed the slides with my notes at home, but I initially failed to change my printer settings from our work copier/printer.
The next day when I got to work and plugged into the work network, the queued slides started printing on the office machine. I was in the bathroom at the time (takes a minute for things to boot up), but when I emerged, I see my friend standing there looking at the printing slides...
Co-Worker (in his broken English): You print Bible stuff?
TonyC: I did at home last night. My computer should still be booting up. If that's printing, you'd better cancel it or you'll get 25 pages.
Co-Worker: You not printing this?
TonyC: No, I used those last night. I have no idea why they're printing (which was true at the time).
Co-Worker: That very weird (looking at one of the pages).
TonyC: Maybe that's intended for you. God works in mysterious ways brother.
Co-Worker: So does our network!
TonyC: (laughing)You'll need to take the network issue up with the IT Department, and that's a long wait from what I hear.
Co-Worker: (repeatedly pushing buttons to cancel print job) Stop. Please stop!
I'm paying attention Father and should be well prepared when I get Your call...