The Apostle Paul of China

An Extra Letter from John McCall, serving in Taiwan

February 2018


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Dear friends,

I began the first day of 2018 in Nanjing, China. Once again, this year I am teaching a two-week intensive course at Jiangsu Seminary here. This weekend I preached both on Saturday and Sunday at two rural churches north of Nanjing.

Since I have been teaching here for a number of years, many of my former students are now serving churches throughout this big province. This year I was fortunate to visit a district where a number of my former students are serving. They were delighted to be together on Saturday and Sunday. One couple drove 2½ hours from their church to be with us. It was a joyful reunion to hear their stories of both deep joy and the challenges they are facing. We worshiped together, we prayed together, we laughed and cried together. I was moved by their stories of seeking to be Christ’s salt and light in the dramatic change of today’s China.

On Saturday, I was delighted to meet Pastor Leo, who is the chairperson of the district in which I was serving. His own two daughters are both pastors, and he has nurtured countless young people from his district to study at seminary and become pastors. He exudes a deep and humble faith, and interacts with these younger evangelists with love and respect.

Pastor Leo (to my right) with some of the many seminary students he has nurtured.

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In a culture which is hierarchical, it was a real joy to see him nurture, counsel, and accompany these young seminary students and evangelists. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul is a spiritual parent to many younger servants of God. I told Pastor Leo that I would be writing a letter to you all about the Apostle Paul of China. He laughed and said that he didn’t deserve that title.

Tomorrow I will resume my class on the Holy Spirit. We meet for five hours each day, and I have been impressed by the students’ questions in an educational culture where the teacher does not often encourage questions.

What a privilege it to see in person how the Holy Spirit is at work in this land. Today I visited the churches of one of my students and the welcome was wonderful. We ate fruit and drank tea, and I listened to the stories of how God has transformed their lives.

Yesterday and today the pollution has registered as dangerous. When the two young evangelists picked me up yesterday at 6:30 a.m. to drive me to the rural area, we could hardly see the car in front of us because of the smog. I pray for the children of these evangelists whose lungs are developing in this polluted air. As with so many countries as they develop, the environment has been damaged, and the government is seeking to deal with the environmental challenges.

May God’s grace fill your days in 2018,

John


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