Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Next Generation

Jesus said we would have to become like a child--filled with curiosity, tenderness, and a faith that trusts the Father even in the face of the unknown--to enter the kingdom of heaven. If so, I think the gospel may have a chance in these villages, overflowing with beautiful young children whose hearts have not yet been contaminated by the world system.

In either an effort to preserve minority culture or a gesture admitting its inability to enforce its policies in the countryside, the Chinese government lifts its "one-child-per-family" policy in remote areas like this one. As a result, some families decide to have three or four kids, many of whom will grow up to become an asset in agrarian communities where manpower is the primary resource for planting and harvesting.

With the villages' population distribution moving toward the youthful end of the spectrum, I believe there is greater potential for a shift in the paradigms that make the society's wheels turn. While we should never underestimate the power of God to bring about change in the hearts of the older members of the community, we should realize that revolution usually starts with the younger generation.

The younger segment of a population has had little time to allow their instilled beliefs to petrify. If they are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, their hearts will be open to ideas which would normally be considered "foreign."

Consider an 80-year-old tree whose root systems have continually inched deeper into the earth, wrapping themselves around the rocks below and intertwining with themselves. Wouldn't a much younger tree be more easily uprooted and transplanted in a different garden? The same applies to society.

Even if the older generation totally disregarded the message of the Cross, we hoped that our efforts would plow the ground for revolution. As I discussed earlier, the idea is that generations to come will be impacted by follow-up groups.

Although they aren't aware, this people group's youth have been caught in a crossfire. With the VCD's we have fired the first shots, and we await the artillery to come behind us. Our prayer is that those who are now in the crib will later be the ones faced with the most clear and coherent presentation of Christianity ever brought to this geographical area.

Will they choose the narrow road to life or the broad path to destruction? We can't know that now. But I pray that the exposure we have given the gospel will somehow impact this choice, and that this obscure people group will someday become a bastion of Christianity in the middle of a culture entrenched in Buddhism, ancestor worship, and apathetic self-sufficiency.

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