Unplanned and Unexpected
- by Diego Servant
During this particular trip I adopted the responsibility of navigating the group which is something I don't normally do as I generally focus on other aspects of leading this type of outreach. Our navigator would usually be someone who can read and speak Chinese - a very important skill in rural China!
The early anxiety that accompanied me at the beginning of the trip faded away as I grew more confident after a few days of navigation. We found our way with the GPS, whilst waiting on the Lord to know where to turn and where to stop.
Normally we have a good idea of our daily route, we know from which town we start, where we are headed, the main roads we can take and the town we need to get to spend the night and a rough idea of how many kilometers we will cover. However, many of the small village roads or paths are not mapped and of course won't show in the GPS.
The last afternoon I felt strongly prompted by the Lord to come away from the main roads and explore a little of the small village paths.
I remembered the prayer impressions that one of the children in our group received during the morning: "I saw a path, a bumpy one, I don't know where it leads but to somewhere. God is saying that we should follow it. Just see what's inside" Other impressions about small paths and trails were also common during the trip.
So, I kind of knew where we were, and I kept an eye on the main road shown on the GPS in order not to distance ourselves greatly and to allow the support vehicles follow us. I decided to push on and try some of the "unknown" paths.
We turned onto a narrow path, very similar to some of the impressions that we received, and much to our surprise... in the middle of nowhere we found a farm with a restaurant... perfect timing as it was the right time to have lunch!
Later that afternoon, as we continued along the path, we came to a place in which we found three villages next to each other. We would’ve missed them if we’d stayed on the main road planned for that day.
As we kept cycling through the narrow paths and roads, we arrived at the third village, and a rather familiar gate... much to our astonishment, we realized that we had visited that exact same village the year before!
And then, to add to our amazement, we saw the people we witnessed to in 2015, it was so encouraging. Many of them came to greet us and they were still wearing the five color bracelets we gave them last year! They even remembered the story of Jesus we shared to them! They were extremely happy to see us again.
The Lord also gave us more opportunities to share with other villagers we couldn’t witness to last year, but this time, their hearts were ready to receive the Gospel.
This was quite amazing and unexpected! It was definitely the highlight of the trip for all of us. For sure it wasn't in our plans, we didn't even know we were near the places we visited last year. It all started with a simple step of obedience to follow the leading of the Lord and letting go of the "planned" road and riding into the unknown.