It is so self-evident
In our world, the probability that no one has come across it, is really remote. Here it is commonplace. They are stacked on bedside tables, neatly on the corner of a desk, or on the sideboard in the living room. Perhaps they are made to stand in an honorary position on the shelf in the living room. They are available freely at the corner shop. It is so common to see them. Perhaps not for all.
Loffie is visiting the JOSCO HUIZHOU, a majestic coal carrier anchored in Richards Bay. A twenty strong Chinese crew manages the iron giant – guiding it en route. Two of the twenty men are on duty as security personnel and Loffie must report to them. They are responsible for visitors arriving and departing.
When you hear about a pure Chinese crew, you pray hopefully and trust that a Bigger Hand will guide and unexpectedly stir hearts. However, no one will blame you if you feel a little pessimistic before your visit. With history as a guideline, chances of a meaningful discussion about the Gospel are slim indeed. A lot of experience, visits to ships and closed doors temper optimism when you climb the ladder to board the vessel.
But, Loffie is brave, always hopeful, always praying, always believing in Him that remains so much stronger than the closed doors. So, he climbs dedicatedly, despite the historical disadvantages, to get to the deck. He made it his task to learn basic phrases in Mandarin, to open doors in often closed or even hostile situations.
'Nǐ hǎo', is the greeting. Loffie explains why he is there, as well as he can. His Mandarin is good enough to convince the two sceptics to give him a chance. They make small talk before Loffie takes off his backpack to open it. He takes out Chinese DVDs and two Chinese/English Bibles. The men take these carefully, clearly not sure what to expect.
'Ever seen a Bible?'
'Never!', they answer. They have never seen one, held one or heard about it.
Suddenly a situation that could be viewed from a pessimistic stance, becomes a situation where a Bigger Hand sows seed on a greenfield. Using the English translation of the Mandarin, Loffie can explain about the Man of the Cross. He can package the seeds carefully and give water as he spends time with the two men. Just before he leaves for the next ship, he gets broad smiles when he says 'miang fy' – it is a gift!
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