On finishing the Buxton Ministers conference, it was straight down to Heathrow for an overnight flight to Hong Kong. During the flight the captain informed us of a typhoon heading straight towards Hong Kong!
We were scheduled to land a couple of hours before it was due to arrive at the islands. Twenty minutes before we landed we were informed that the typhoon had turned north easterly, avoiding Hong Kong!
Our first meal was with pastors Rob and Glenda Rufus in a roadside cafe in Temple Street, Hong Kong. What a brilliant experience! Friday morning Andrew ministered to a congregation of around 500, with many leaders coming from Australia, Singapore and South Africa. Right from the outset we saw God move in the lives of many people, and by the end of the session on Friday night many new relationships had been formed and God’s word was transforming lives. Andrew was greatly blessed with a translator who really helped him put the message into Mandarin.
Sunday morning was again a great service, anointed praise and worship followed by ministry of the word by Andrew and then lunch with the leaders of City Church International where great conversations happened around the table. Sunday evening was spent sightseeing at The Peak – viewing the city in all its night time splendour. Monday saw us leaving early for a visit to an island called Cheung Chau where we met a partner of the ministry called Susan. She shared with Andrew how the message he brought had impacted her life and stopped her committing suicide.
What a fantastic meeting this turned out to be. Monday night Andrew taught on the power of the seed, and an amazing offering was received for the continuing work of City Church. What a wonderful few days to the start of the tour.
Tuesday morning saw us head off to China, taking a train from Hong Kong to Guangou where we had hoped to hold a series of meetings with the underground church leaders. But the Chinese police had closed down the meetings, and we were told to catch the bullet train north and await further instructions.
The instructions came: get off the train and wait for further instructions – leaders were being questioned by police, then 20 minutes later another call: get back on the train again, the meetings were back on. Then 15 minutes later still: get off the train immediately and await more instructions! So in the middle of nowhere, we got off the train. And with the help of a translator and a helpful local policeman, we were taken to a local hotel – where NO-ONE spoke English! What fun we had ordering dinner that night! Through sounds and sign language, then finally a guide book we were presented with beautifully served Chinese food.
Wednesday morning, still no instructions, we went to the nearest airport to make our way to our next definite contacts in the west side of China. But on arriving at the airport we were told there were no seats till next day! So once more: to another hotel, sit and wait in the hope of further instructions! In the late afternoon, we were contacted by local leaders who came to visit us, and pleaded with Andrew to come and do a meeting that night with some 100 leaders who refused to be intimidated by the police warnings and actions. However, to our amazement, Andrew said “No”. It was more important for local pastors to maintain their own ministry to their flocks, than for Andrew to speak at one meeting. For 20 minutes, Andrew ministered one-to-one with the young pastor – who shared how much he learned about following the peace of God as Andrew had just done.
So, Thursday morning came, and once more we made our way to the airport - this time we caught the flight to western China and met our waiting friends. The next morning we visited a school for pastors’ and leaders’ children, led by a lady who would be Andrew’s translator for the next few days. That evening we then found ourselves in an international meeting, attended by many people who minister in China. What an impact Andrew’s teaching had on their lives. Praise God we had four books of Andrew’s printed in Chinese, which people took away with them. In particular, two men set up a meeting the following evening - which turned out to be one of the most significant of the whole trip. Soon it was Saturday morning, and we were attending a meeting of the Underground church – what an emotional time this was for us. To be among people who hunger for God’s word and prayed with passion – and were so grateful that we had come. Twenty plus people were filled with the Holy Spirit.
That afternoon: another set of leaders met in another home, and on Saturday night Andrew found himself with a baseball cap on by way of disguise, in a 30 minute car journey, changing cars several times and ending up at a meeting of another 100 leaders. One of these was a leader of 200,000 churches. He received Andrew’s materials, and it looks as though instead of printing Andrew’s books in hundreds we will be printing them in tens of thousands. What a privilege to walk in the plans of God, and that Andrew followed the peace of God in his heart two days earlier when he said “No” to the other meeting. We were told that if he had gone to that meeting his meetings in Western China would have been cancelled, and he would have missed this amazing opportunity to meet these wonderful leaders. Sunday morning once more found us in a church service, with the message Andrew brought being translated into Chinese and people’s lives being changed. Then lunch, and off to Beijing.
The following day in Beijing we met a number of pastors and their wives during an evening meal. These people shared about miracles taking place in their home churches, and requested Andrew to pray for them. Andrew told him he wanted them to pray with HIM first – because these men and women were continuing to write the Book of Acts. We gathered as a team in the middle of this private room in the restaurant, and a roar of prayer went up from these brothers and sisters, laying hands on each of us. WOW. Then we had the privilege of praying for them.
What an amazing city Beijing is, millions upon millions of people living closely together. How privileged we were to visit the Forbidden City and walk through Tiananmen Square, where many of us can still remember the picture of a young man standing before an army tank some years ago. Tuesday morning saw us head for the Great Wall of China. Truly an amazing experience, walking along this wall which goes as far as the eye can see up hill and through valleys.
Then in the late afternoon we headed for Xi’an in central China where we visited the Terracotta Army. Stepping into this huge excavation site made you take a deep breath at what was before you.
Xi’an itself is the last fully walled city to be found in China, 13 km around and 30 feet high – plus wide enough to drive 3 chariots along! Within the city itself we saw the Bell Tower – at one time it woke people in the mornings, and the Drum Tower, which was beaten in the evening to remind people to come inside the city walls.
The following day, Thursday, we headed back to Hong Kong, met with our new friends for dinner and then returned to London.
Our first ‘Underground church’ meeting – my personal experience - Barbara Graham Saturday 30th October
We are in a large apartment. (I later found out that this was not the pastor’s family home, as I had thought, but a ‘church’). The pastor, Xin, is from Northern China, and he’s been in this city for 4 years. His wife, Kim, wears her hair in a bun today and plays piano. Several young children here are quiet. There are about 60-70 people sitting neatly in rows on folding chairs in 3 of the rooms. Lisa, who runs the illegal A.C.E. school, is interpreting, very expressively.
Being in prayer and worship with them here makes my faith rise. Jamie is reading the bible from her Kindle. Glenn arrived late, having been anxiously waiting for us at a different place than we were dropped off! But 2 Christian ladies had found us and brought us to the meeting!
They have a piano in the room, microphones, hymn books and bibles. The people sit, most fairly unresponsive, listening intently to Andrew. Food is laid out in the room next to the kitchen. Some people understand English. Two ladies bring cups of water to Andrew and Lisa, the interpreter, on a tray – very humbly.
Now some are nodding. They understand. “The spirit part of you is what drives your whole life”. A crying baby is removed to a separate room. More are nodding now. Andrew tells them they will take home free copies of four books. “You can have sickness in your body yet in your spirit you have raising-from-the-dead power”.
(They wear bright western clothing, jackets and coats as the room is unheated. They have no heating in their homes).
Most follow every reference in their own bibles, reading out one of the references together. Approximately 25% - 30% are men.
“A TV receives signals and re-broadcasts them to you- but the signal is already here, in a different realm....Your body is like a TV set: by faith you perceive from the Word and you begin to speak and act like who you are... God is not just in heaven, he lives inside you.”
Now some smiles and understanding. I whisper the question: How long do they usually go for in these meetings? Glenn answers: they stay all day!
Now Andrew is encouraging them to speak in tongues and interpret the perfect knowledge that’s in their spirit, asking God to give them revelation of what they already have. “Know it – believe it – release it”. “YOU heal the sick, raise the dead”.
A dog barks in the stair well outside the door. One of the children is brought past on the way from the kitchen, nibbling a cake.
Now we’re in Acts 3 and they recognise the words from a song they sing. “Quit begging God to do what He told you to do.”
There goes that little one back to the kitchen! Now AW has the people laughing, the interpreter is doing a good job!
“Command physical healing in to their bodies – start with yourself!” Mark 11:23. Speak to the mountain. They read it aloud together. That cute little Chinese toddler is taken back to her seat again, in another room. “Jesus said talk to your problem about God, take your authority”. An older child appears from behind the bedroom door; it has a religious picture over it. Checks the preaching is still going on and then goes silently back.
“You release the power of God by your words... begging God to do something He told you to do isn’t faith. At best it’s ignorance, at worst it’s unbelief”. I hear an Amen behind me. A mother with baby in sling on her back appears from another room. Andrew calls for the sick to raise their hands; he leads them in a prayer. Talking to their own problem. Loud amen’s. A man stands to testify he felt the difference in his body. Another person has been coughing for 10 days and her lungs are now clear. One man still has back pain. Andrew calls him forward and demonstrates how NOT to pray for healing, but release the power in us. Man returns to seat healed. AW asks the smiling faces if anyone is not a new person in the spirit or has not received the baptism in the spirit. Hands raise, but more people stand! 2 people to be born again.
“This isn’t magic, you have to believe it!”
We pray together in Chinese as best we can. About 20 people (that I can see) are filled with the Holy Spirit. A demon manifests instantly as all speak in tongues. The woman cries out with a loud voice, shaking violently, falls to the floor. Everyone carries on speaking in tongues. Andrew gives them his book “The Holy Spirit” so they will understand, and a few moments later as the meeting finishes the people are given the four of his books translated into Chinese.
Thank you for reading,
We Love you,
Andrew & Jamie