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Searching for Peace, Part 1

Would he ever see Tao again—or would he hear that the gang member had died in a fight?

Tan grew up in a small city in southern China. Plagued with shyness, he found it difficult to talk to others and often felt intensely lonely. He thought religion was just superstition, and yet he somehow felt a spiritual longing. He decided to set out on an pilgrimage in search of peace.

He journeyed to a distant city where he met a Christian pastor who introduced him to the Bible. For several days the two studied together, and Tan felt drawn to the God of the Bible. However, he decided to search further before committing himself to one philosophy, so moved on in his search.

Two months later Tan returned, wanting to learn more about God. The pastor helped Tan find work, and the two resumed their Bible studies. This time Tan’s heart was touched and he decided to become a Christian. Now Tan wanted to work for God. He learned of some meetings being held in a distant city and decided to go. When he could earn a little money, he took the train, but for most of the trip he walked. It took him a month to arrive at his destination.

Tan stayed in the city several months and worked with another Christian man. Then he decided to return to his hometown to share the gospel with his family and friends.

An Unwelcome Home

When he arrived in his village, he began sharing his faith, but the villagers were not eager to hear. Some rejected his message; others made fun of him. Tan fasted and prayed. “God, is there no one here who will listen?” Tan found no one—except a local troublemaker named Tao Yeh.

Tao Yeh belonged to a gang that terrorized the town. Four members of the gang were jailed and another was killed during some of their more violent activities. Although Tao had a reputation as a hardened gambler, fighter, and drinker, Tan talked with him about his spiritual condition and offered to pray with him. But Tao laughed and said that if he ever needed God, he would let Tan know.

Impressed to Pray

No one will listen, Tan thought. He decided to leave town and find some believers with whom he could study. As he started out, Tao saw him and fell into step beside him. As the two walked down the road, Tan felt impressed to pray for Tao. Tao tried to brush aside Tan’s request to pray, but finally he agreed. They stopped along the road, and Tan prayed.

Before they parted, Tan gave Tao a small Bible, hoping he would read it. Then they said goodbye. Tan wondered if he would ever see Tao again—or would he hear that the gang member had died in some fight?

Tan set off for a large city where he had heard there was a group of active Christians. When he arrived in the city, he was warned that he should return to his home province or risk being arrested. Although he bought a train ticket home, Tan decided to remain and try to find the Christians he had heard about.

He got a map and began searching. He found an Adventist church and met Pastor Xo [shoh] and several young people who were studying to become lay church leaders. Tan was delighted when Pastor Xo invited him to stay and study the Bible.

Tan didn’t plan to stay for long, but since no one sent him home, he stayed. As he and the elderly pastor studied the Bible together, Tan learned new truths about God. He had heard about the Sabbath, but had thought that Sunday was the Sabbath. Other Christians worshiped on Sunday; why did this group worship on Saturday? He was curious to learn more.

To be continued.