THE RICH MAN AND THE PRAYER WARRIOR
CHAPTER 2 (read the whole story here)
The way to Liping Village led Brother Wu and his precious cargo through ice-covered fields as the sun struggled to rise above the distant horizon. His hunger was deeper now, and he worried that little Li Ying hadn’t eaten anything either, possibly for a day or more. He needed to get to Liping soon.
A flurry of wings and long necks suddenly blurred everything in front of Wu, and he nearly dropped the basket holding Li Ying. A small flock of cranes sprang from the tall winter grass, causing his heart to flutter like the white flapping wings furiously beating the crisp air, and quickly rising into the clear blue sky.
“I must really be on edge,” Wu thought. “That last run-in with the Public Security Bureau has made me nervous.” He shivered as he thought about the filthy cell he was thrown into just a week ago. His offense? Teaching Bible lessons to a group of teenagers back in Chingyundian.
He still couldn’t figure out why the police had let him go, but he was glad they did, and he took the opportunity to make his way to Liping Village.
In fact, he could now see in the distance the ancient oak tree that filled the center of the village. It was a favorite place for Liping’s residents to hang out, especially when the weather was warm and the days were long. But right now it was bitter cold. Even so, Wu relaxed as he realized he’d be in Liping in less than half an hour. Soon he’d have help with Li Ying.
Chris Blake awoke in the Beijing Hotel after getting a few hours sleep. The flight in had seemed longer this time, and he was eager to get a few days off to see the sights not only in Beijing, but outside the city as well. Even though Chris often flew into China, he didn’t get too many opportunities to spend time with the local people. A fellow pilot had recently told him about some nearby villages that loved to have visitors.
A couple of local schools even welcomed professionals like Chris to come talk to their students. Maybe he’d get the chance to do that on this trip. In the meantime, he knew what he had to do – get over to the Hongqiao Market to buy some pearls for his wife.
Hongqiao Market – five floors crammed full of everything one could imagine. All kinds of luggage, antique paintings and other artwork, knickknacks, jewelry (like those pearls), food, clothing and toys.
“Susan!” Chris called, over piles of precious pearls. “I’m glad I bumped into you – maybe you can help me.” Susan worked at the U.S. Embassy as an immigration officer, and had been in China for 18 years. She knew her way around the city, and also played the politics of Beijing very well.
“Hey, I was wondering if you had any contacts in the surrounding small villages. I’d love to visit one of them,” Chris asked. “I even brought a bunch of small gifts with me, in case I got the chance to go.” Susan replied that she could probably help Chris with a short visit, and in fact, knew the perfect village. “I know just the place, Chris,” Susan stated.
“The people there are warm, there are lots of kids who want to practice their English, and they have some of the coolest old temples you’ll find anywhere.”
The next day was unusually warm for February, and as Chris approached the village gates, he was struck by the vibrant colors and happy faces of the kids waiting curiously to see this tall stranger walking into their village. He looked up at the sign over the gates, and read: “LIPING VILLAGE.” What did God have for him here?
To be continued … (go to CHAPTER 3)