Foreign countries have traded with China through the southern city of Canton (also called Guangzhou) for over 2000 years. You must travel northwest up the Pearl River from Hong Kong about four hours by boat or three hours by train to reach it. Even after living there ten years, I found that it was more mysterious than the travel books describe. The sights, smells, sounds, and experiences are like nothing I ever imagined. The streets are jammed with people. It is amazing to walk down the street and see the sights: huge red Chinese characters written on walls; bright red, green, and yellow clothes; ancient architecture; shops that sell tea, Buddhist idols, kites, colorful pottery, fruits, and vegetables, or toys. Each shop sells something different. Once, while walking down the street, I smelled the pungent combination of teas from a tea shop. I went in and looked over the dozens of different kinds of teas and finally decided on a variety of green tea called “Special Gunpowder.”It was a bit like the quotation from Charles Dickens: “it was the best of times and the worst of times.” There were many difficulties that sometimes made life almost unbearable, but there were also many joys. There were times that I felt so much peace, joy, and wonder that it seemed the Holy Spirit must be pouring down on me from heaven. It was a beautiful, serene feeling. It felt as if I was in the center of God’s will, doing just what He wanted me to do. That was one of the best feelings of my life. Feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit in great power is always the best experience of my life.
A verse in the book of Numbers chapter six gave me strength in difficult times: “The LORD bless youand keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward youand give you peace.” ( NIV)