My grandfather had an amazing memory. When other members of his family came to join him in rural Gansu province, he taught us about Christ from the fragments of verses he learned from a pastor.
In 1995 my grandfather gathered us all together. He said he had bad news. "I have taught you of Christ for over fifteen years from the memory of a pastor who died so I might have faith. But I have no more to teach you. I committed about five hundred verses of the Scripture to memory from that pastor, and I have expounded each of them to you a hundred ways since then. It is time for us to find the rest of the sacred texts."
We all looked at each other. This sounded impossible. We did not even know that what we were looking for was called a "Bible." For all we knew, there may have been thousands of different scriptures. In fact, that's what we assumed, since that's what the Daoists have.
We said to him, "But who will find us these texts?"
He replied, "God will; we must pray." We prayed... and prayed... and prayed. For two years we prayed. Nothing happened. But for the faith of my grandfather, I think some of us would have moved to another faith. He was firm: "God is testing us to see if we are really His. We must keep trusting and keep faithful."
One Sunday a few of us were praying, and a chicken came into our house. She clucked and made a great noise and then promptly laid an egg. We did not know where she had come from, so my grandfather tied some money to the leg of the chicken. It was only about 10 cents. The chicken strutted off with an injured air from the whole experience. We knew she would return to her owner.
Less than an hour later there was a loud cry on the street. Someone was yelling, "Who tied money to my chicken? Who tied money to my chicken?" The voice sounded angry, but my grandfather replied without hesitation, "It was me."
The man came into our little house. A well-dressed man who had soft hands and was very well groomed followed him. He said in a cultured voice, "I am a high ranking member of the Communist party in Beijing."
Our hearts sank. What was he going to do?
"I have never heard of such honesty in all my life," he said. "This is astonishing. I have just come from Beijing to visit my brother after being betrayed and deceived. I lost lots of money."
He turned to my grandfather and said, "My government desperately needs your spirit of scrupulous honesty. If only there were more like you in China. Tell me, what makes you so honest?"
My grandfather answered him in two words: "Jesus Christ!"
The Communist official seemed to smile to himself and then asked, "Can I do anything for you?"
My grandfather, with the boldness of a long life, said, "We would like to find the sacred texts of Christ!"
The official looked at him, puzzled. "What do you mean `sacred texts'? Don't you mean a Bible?"
It was the Communist official who told us what a Bible was.
Again the boldness of my grandfather staggered me. He asked the official, "Can you help us get a copy?"
The official smiled openly now. He made no promise, but merely said, "I will see what I can do."
The official went back to Beijing, but nothing happened. Months went by. We continued to pray. Then a young man appeared in the village, asking for us. He pulled out from his totebag seven brandnew Bibles.
We asked him, "How did you know to come here to us?"
He said, "I am part of a network of house churches, and one of our leaders was arrested in Beijing last year. While he was in jail, he was visited by a highranking public official, who said, `If I let you go, will you promise to deliver a Bible to an old man and his family in Gansu?' Our leader said he would see to it. The next day he was released and given a piece of paper with your grandfather's address on it."
That's why we say, "A chicken laid our Bibles!"
Open Doors, Brother Andrew with John & Elizabeth Sherrill, The Narrow Road, Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 2001, p. 116,118.
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