Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Detchers and Land of Mao

Occasionally one of our overseas friends will invite us (Hank and Janet) to be a part of their mission. Such was the case this summer when we were invited to participate in a Bibles for China outreach. The trek began on a Wednesday when we flew out of Spokane heading for Hong Kong (via San Francisco, Honolulu and Manila). That was one long trip. In Manila we stayed overnight with missionary friends George and Stacy Barlow. We spent hours reminiscing about our lives together in Bible College. We left Manila the next day and finally arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday. Kurt and May Jansen met us and explained the nature of the Bibles for China outreach. We would join a group of eighteen others to carry the scriptures into the mainland.

But first we would eat. Walking downtown Hong Kong was a very strange experience for us--raw skinned chickens, ducks and snakes all over the place. Besides all of that we were just not used to all of the people!

The next day, after church services at the Jansen's home church, we found out about the true nature of our mission. The gals would be separated from the guys for a few days, and we would meet up in the city of Guangzhou. The guys would take a train and the gals would take a van. This way we would be have a better chance of success. Following are our separate stories.

Hank here. Counting me, there were ten guys hauling "loaves." First we loaded up on small Chinese bibles at the church, then packed them into suitcases. Each of us had two to three bags. Man, they were heavy! Our first stop was at the town Fanling. We crossed over several times from Honk Kong to Fanling and staged our "loaves" in a storage facility. Each time we crossed over we had to go through a random checkpoint where our bags would be examined. Both times that I crossed carrying two bags I got through without being checked. Guess the Lord was watching over me. Only one of us got checked, and they just had their "loaves" confiscated.

Our journey to Guangzhou had an amazing start. Seems that we had a few too many bags for the journey and were keeping the train from leaving on time. A few Communist Chinese guards came over and we thought that the jig was up! To our amazement these guards began to help us load our bags on the train. That made for great conversation all of the way to Guangzhou. When we arrived we brought our "loaves" with us as we checked into a hotel. The next day the girls arrived with some great stories. I'll let Janet fill you in on that and finish up our story.

Janet here. We knew something was up when each of us gals was given a loose fitting skirt to wear when we left from the meeting place that first morning. Each of these had many small pockets sewn on the inside of the skirt. Before we left we each filled these pockets up with very small Chinese language New Testaments (baby loaves). Each pocket held two baby loaves and the skirt held 50 in total. They were quite heavy! Ten of us loaded into the van and made our way through the checkpoints and into the Land of Mao. When we arrived at the hotel in Guangzhou we all rejoiced that the van had gotten through all of the checkpoints.

The remainder of the trip was filled with beautiful scenery and delicious Chinese food. We traveled south and crossed the border at Macau on a hydroplane. We flew out of Hong Kong the next day and spent several days traveling home. When we think back we can only rejoice at what we saw the Lord do through our team. We remember the many people we met in the Underground Church and still pray for them. It causes us in this time before Thanksgiving to once again remember the blessings of our great and free nation, and to give thanks for all of our blessings here in Kanner Lake.

Happy Thanksgiving (almost),

Hank and Janet Detcher

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM
What an amazing story. It must have been something to meet people who are so starved for bibles, when we have them everywhere in this country, and many don't think anything about that.
Posted by Anonymous r.j. hager : 7:23 AM
I made a trip like this two years ago. Will never forget it. The terrible consequences that the Chinese face, just for practicing their belief in God! I'm with the Detchers--sure makes your appreciate this country.
Posted by Anonymous janice d. : 8:06 AM
Bibles called "loaves." Well, there are a few stories about "loaves" in the Bible. :)
Posted by Anonymous sara m. : 9:09 AM
Thanks for telling us your story. Makes me want to take one of these Bible adventures sometime. I do wonder about the possible trouble you could get into, though. What if you're caught? Can you be hauled to jail? A Chinese jail sounds like a frightening thing ...
Posted by Anonymous tricia : 11:15 AM
We have a friend who does Bibles for China, and friends who went there to teach. Neither of them liked coming home to the states. They hated leaving those wonderful people who are soo real, and hungry for the Lord. Makes you wonder what freedom does....
Posted by Blogger Mid Stutsman : 8:38 PM
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