At 5:30 this morning I awoke to blood-curdling screams. The sound was so strange at first I didn't realize what it was exactly. The fact that I also sleep with a pillow covering my head to muffle night time sounds in various parts of the world, added to my confusion. "Surely, that is not what I think it is." Then another scream; followed by weeping. I got up and went to the window to try and determine where this was coming from. The hotel where I am staying? The apartments behind, the street, a movie? Just as I would think it was coming to an end, it would start up again, louder, longer and more terrified.
I fumbled for the cell phone I had been given to try and contact my friends. There is no 911 here in China - or if it does exist, English would not be the language of the operator. Now, I could hear a child's screams and pleading as well. When I finally got through to my friends, even through the phone, they could hear what was happening.
They contacted the hotel (I was sure they must be able to hear) and the young desk clerk acknowledged the commotion and said the woman had mental problems. My friend said in no uncertain terms and in enough Chinese they understood, "If you don't call the police we will."
The noise stopped, I returned to bed and just prayed.
Other than the morning's events today was a Sabbath rest, and I joined the fellowship of foreign teachers this afternoon for Bible study. The meetings traditionally begin with prayer requests and praises.
One of mine was for the woman and child.
Tonight, my friends were walking me back to the hotel to speak (in person) to the night staff about what happened. As we looked to see what apartments were around it occurred to me, today just might have been the first time this woman (and whatever the horrific circumstance she is in) has ever been prayed for. I turned to my friend, "Think about it, who around here is a believer?" In this godless society, who turns to God for help?
Although my friends had warned me about the cultural norm of "not my problem" as well as the police corruption, it became even clearer in talking with the staff, they don't turn to their neighbors for help either.
I pondered what to share of the day. I opened up Oswald:
"Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work."
I am going to bed now, it's night here in a land of a billion lost souls with no one to cry out to when they cry. The neighbors may not respond to this one woman's cries but we know the One who does - and will.
Let's join together and do the greater work
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