Alexander and Maggie Kirkpatrick* moved to East Asia in 1989 — the same year as the Tiananmen Square massacre. Their wedding anniversary shares the same date.
During their 25 years of service, the Kirkpatricks watched China change and the church boom. The Christian workers say the number of believers in the country is “staggering.”
“The day where we arrive in a city and we go for months and months and never find a Christian are really gone,” Maggie said. “That is a major, major God-thing.
“[We] would pray that the Gospel would take root in the far reaches,” Maggie, recalling their first years on the field, said.
“We would be disappointed, if after 25 years, we couldn’t find any trace of the Gospel in any of the places we’ve been,” she said. “But God hasn’t disappointed. We can find the results of evangelism and discipleship, even in some of the most far-flung places.”
The Kirkpatricks moved to Asia to work in an unengaged and unreached city in western China. In the late 80s and early 90s, western China was the “wild west” — uncharted territory for many Westerners.
“Twenty five years ago, we came here to be the Christians in those cities and to be a presence of Christ in some of those unreached places,” Maggie said.
As the nation and church were still recovering from Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, “it was very difficult to even find anyone who believed,” she added.
“[Believers] were there; they were the remnants of the church prior to the Cultural Revolution. It took time and relationships to find some of those people.
“In the meantime, we set about breaking new ground and winning the lost,” Maggie recalled. “It is many of those people who believed in the early days who are now taking the Gospel forward in China.”
Stories and historical tapestries began to unfold as Christian workers in China led people to Christ.
“Interestingly, as we’ve won new people, we began to discover more and more about the church that was left here after the Communist takeover,” Maggie said. “A number of those networks from prior to 1950 are still alive and well and spreading the Gospel not just in China but all over the world.”
Believers from 20-30 years ago began new house church streams, sharing the Gospel domestically and internationally.
“It is all a God thing; it wasn’t our doing that caused a wave of change,” Alexander said. “We were just there on the front row, or second row, participating in the joy.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Baptist Press