This afternoon's scheduled performance had plenty of Murphy's at work. Up until 10:30 last night arrangements were being made, rescheduled and thoughts on what could and could not be said were the topic of every exchange. We arrived at the hotel and were escorted into a side room of banquet hall where the performance would be held. The program was originally scheduled to begin at 3:30 then changed to 2:30 then again another change to begin at 2 pm. We arrived around 1:30 to avoid the crowd seeing the "surprise" guest.
At 2, when the moderator had not arrived and the crowd outside (over 300 adults and children) was growing restless - we started making phone calls. "No the program starts at 3" replied the moderator who was home taking a NAP! Murphy started laughing somewhere in the background as he enjoyed our frustration.
The program finally got underway (at 3) with the children from the registered church singing Christmas songs to begin. I took the stage to much fanfare and media coverage. I felt like - Brittany Spears (not really) but a celebrity none the less. Film crews were following my walk through the crowds, the flash of cameras was blinding (sort of) and the crowd went wild. All of the messages in the performance were meant to focus on the TRUTH of Christmas, the message of hope, the real gift of Jesus. My interpreter, kept failing at a loss for words, and we would have to stop and repeat, and stop and repeat. Murphy apparently fumbles vocabulary with words as common as "boat" and "box".
The children in the front rows kept rushing the stage every time I would reach for something in my bag (apparently thinking I would bring out some gifts). And we would have to stop and wait until they were corralled back to their seats.
But Murphy's Law is not His Law.
The TRUTH was presented clearly. The Gospel message was given in full. There were three television stations as well as several of the provincial newspapers taking pictures and writing about the Big Story. The Name above all names was repeated over and over. Even the children from the Sunday School were shouting out the name of Jesus (all captured on film and broadcast for the television stations).
In spite of all the mishaps, mistakes, and miscommunications of the event. The promise of the Word remains - it does NOT RETURN TO HIM VOID. As we were leaving the building (having escaped the throngs of people) and calculating the "math" of the message broadcast across the region today, we rejoiced. Even if only TEN PERCENT (10%) of the people of the city of Jinan hear the message of the truth of Christmas, the birth of Christ - it is 600,000 people! Even if only ONE PERCENT (1%) of the people of the CITY (but the news is broadcast over the region (92,000,000) respond and ask questions or show up and make inquires at a registered church - that is 60,000 people!
Not bad for a Sunday afternoon in China!
PRAISE for HIS-STORY was told tonight here in Jinan - the gates of Hell have not prevailed!
Laughing and smiling right back at old Murphy
For I am in His service