Group trip to Dali.
Another all too short trip to visit an old friend and brother has just concluded. While my sixth trip to China overall, this has been my second visit to Kunming since Dan, Lily, and family moved from Ohio in 2015. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to see God work in and through Dan and Lily; sculpting vision, cultivating the heart of servants, and drawing them closer to Him along the way.
This trip began a little differently for me than most. My first few days were spent traveling to Dali, a more rural area of China and home to GBL’s dear friend and partner, Lina. A 3.5 hour drive from Kunming (which in our experience can last up to 9 hours depending on traffic), Dali is in a region from which many of Dan’s rural clinic patients are referred. While considered more rural, Dali is not lacking in population density. Crowds of people and busy streets are found at every turn. For me, the term rural in China means certain conveniences like McDonalds and sit down toilets become more sparse and social etiquette more often broken. During one event of broken etiquette, I found myself hollering and physically pounding on the side of a bus that had used a 40 meter long emergency zone to try and overtake a mere 5 cars during a traffic jam. The bus came so close to swiping the side of our car that I didn’t even have to lean out the window to make contact. In total, it was a small price to pay for the beauty of the countryside and God’s creation that can be found in Dali.
With minimal, partial sponsorship from GBL, the members of Dan and Lily’s local Kunming discipleship group were able to travel with us. As I learned from Dan along the trip, it has been a side goal of Dan and Lily’s to find a group of young, local Christian’s to invest in and disciple, growing fruit for a richer harvest. As Dan shared with me, he was surprised to learn that most of the members of their local fellowship had limited interaction and limited investment in one another’s lives outside of Sunday mornings. What initially started as random game nights with members of a local fellowship, has slowly developed into a smaller, core group of believers with an ever deepening love for one another and Him. What I saw was a group of close friends sharing in a rare experience of travel beyond their home city. Dan and Lily have been excited by the progress they have witnessed, the willingness of members to share deep struggles and reach out to our Heavenly Father as a community of believers.
The rest of my time was spent in Kunming revisiting the international clinic where Dan works, connecting with old friends, and allowing time for Dan and I to reinvest in one another’s lives. I am continually encouraged by the work that Dan and Lily are doing in an area of the world so void of His unending love. It is my prayer that the love of our Heavenly Father abounds in this region through the hands of feet of His people.