After we prayed and suffered and survived for many years, the children came back to honor their father and mother. We met them, Pastor Wong Yu Chi and myself, on the steps of the foreign church where they had taught us of the True God. They came in the day when the church was empty, but we sent runners to gather those who could to welcome them.
They who came through the gate into the compound appeared foreigners, but we knew them because the son had grown to be a man like his father. Wong Yu Chi held his hand, repeating the name of his honored teacher who had left so long ago. “Bi fu, Bi fu.” I, who am now bent with age, remembered the daughters of my beloved friend as little children, and now they were old with their children around them. It was right and proper for them to bring the children across the ocean to honor the memory of their grandfather and grandmother, and I praised our God with alleluias.
When those who could come arrived to welcome the family, we entered the church. Their guide, who was a communist, came in with us to translate because they had forgotten our language. The daughters praised the blue walls, the shining wooden benches, and said we had kept it beautiful and strong through all the years. They stood in a row under the cross on the wall and said their Chinese names just as they had as children.
Ai, Kuaile, Pingjing
We remembered how their honored father and mother had taught us the love, joy and peace of God.
Then they sang the chorus of the love of Ye su that the missionaries had taught our children, and stumbled and laughed because they had forgotten even that little bit of our language. Pastor Wong, stood before the altar to welcome them in the name of the Lord, using scripture and saying prayers of thanksgiving. The husband of a daughter stood to thank us for honoring them and his words were gracious. He told us of their happiness that the Lord has preserved our fellowship, the work of their father.
A granddaughter moved to the organ and began to play the hymn that had always bound us together and it was our joy to sing In Christ There is No East or West. Then they sang it in their strange language and we knew that it was true.
At last they took their leave, their guide leading them out to the courtyard of the church. We held the hand of each, saying “alleluia, amen.” They also said it and we knew this was the language that all we who follow Je su share. But our happiness was increased when the guide said, “I don’t know anything about the Christian, but now I am with this group so I want to learn.” He asked us if we had a book to read about the Christian. With joy, Pastor Wong brought from the church the Yeng shing, the holy book, and I showed him where to read of Ye su, the Christ. He listened to me and read the words in the book. The family of our beloved Bi fu, stood on the steps listening to words they could not understand, but knew in their hearts.
He read the words in the book again and was enlightened. “I understand,” he said. “Ye su is the Son of God.”
Then he accepted the Yeng shing as a precious gift and carried it with him to their tour bus, and our sadness was turned to joy even as we said goodbye to the family who had traveled far to honor the Christ their father and mother served.
This true story occurred in 1993 when the children of missionaries John and Margaret Bickford returned to China where they had been raised.
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