Christian business people and entrepreneurs are increasingly looking for opportunities to use their enterprises for outreach. In this article, translated from the Christian Times, a Mainland website, a reporter interviews Brother Long, proprietor of the Gospel Inn in Dali, Yunnan Province.
The famous city of Dali, Yunnan Province has long been a popular travel destination because of its unique natural landscape. Although it is beautiful in its own right, having a place to stop and rest while on a long journey makes it even more wonderful. There is a tiny place in Dali called The Gospel Inn which exists for a unique purpose.
The Gospel Inn exists to spread the gospel and bring true spiritual fulfillment to seekers on a journey. It is run by a Christian couple. The husband, Long, recently agreed to be interviewed by a Christian Times reporter over the phone. He shared with us the unique ways that God worked both before the inn was open and since then.
Long shared that he was born into a very loving Christian home, but wasnt baptized until after he met his wife. So Long started by telling his wifes story.
When he met his wife, she wasnt a Christian, but she had once wholeheartedly sought the meaning and value of life. While she was searching, she met an American Christian couple through her job, and she noticed that their lives were different. She thought that such peace, love, and sincerity could only be seen on TV, and it deeply moved her. When she asked them why they were like this, they said it was because of Gods love in them. And it was while she was with that Christian couple that her eyes fell on a painting of Jesus suffering. God quietly opened her heart, and she began to cry.
On May 22, 2011, Long and his wife were baptized together, and then they were married in June. Long said that although there were many obstacles to them getting married, he was sure in his heart that God had prepared this marriage. Whether it was being baptized on the same day, or God's amazing provision for the wedding, even the officiating pastor made him feel like this was God's plan.
It had rained for a week straight before their wedding, but amazingly it stopped before their ceremony began; even the sunset was magnificent that day. All those who attended the wedding felt the moving of the Holy Spirit, and it showed on everyones faces. "God truly blesses marriages made in Him," Long remembers saying excitedly at the time. He was enormously thankful for this marriage that God had given him.
Longs wife had previously traveled a lot, seeking out and researching such things as Buddhism and philosophy; however, she had never found spiritual fulfillment until she met the Lord Jesus Christ. She clearly understood that there are tons of travelers with dry and thirsty hearts. They may be searching but may not have found the answer yet. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could have a place along the journey, a place especially focused on giving travelers a true blessing?
With this idea in their minds, she and her husband started moving in that direction. Long and his wife both really liked Dali, Yunnan. When they saw a small garden property, they were deeply moved. When Long saw the huge book room on site, he knew this place would become a place to worship God.
Long quit his high-paying job, and told me that he didn't have the slightest misgivings about doing so. He said that many people may find it hard to give up a high-paying job, but he didn't struggle at all with the decision. When his former colleagues contact him now, they all say how much they envy his new life, but they can't find it in themselves to make the same decision. Long is very thankful for this, knowing that God will provide for all the needs of His servants.
He was baptized in May, married in June, quit his job in October, and purchased the property at the beginning of 2012. In June, 2012 the Dali Gospel Inn opened to receive guests. When Brother Long was sharing this, the Christian Times reporter couldn't help but exclaim, "Wow, that's fast!" "Yes, it was really fast," Long responded. He himself has trouble believing everything that happened, and looking back he knows it all happened according to God's leading.
Long was, yet again, very moved by all of God's amazing guidance after signing the papers for the garden property. He said that when he has passionate about renting the property, Christian brothers and sisters worried that this idea wasnt from God and urged him to pray more about it. Long also felt that his spiritual life wasn't strong enough, so he and his wife began to pray fervently. While they were praying, God gave his wife a verse: Deuteronomy 11:11-12. This verse says, "But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end."
"Isn't this talking about our little garden?" Long and his wife became even more certain that this property was part of God's will. They sold an apartment to pay the 600,000 RMB they needed to pay when they signed the contract. Amazingly, when they sold the apartment, the buyer immediately paid in full, once again confirming God's will and solidifying their faith.
Of course things didn't continue to go that smoothly, but God uses all sorts of circumstances to mold and mature His children. Under God's care, Long tasted something he'd never tasted before.
Because he was alone in an unfamiliar place, he was often cheated while renovating the buildings. Doing backbreaking work, together with experiencing all sorts of chaotic things and worries, he lost his confidence. He started to complain and get bitter, thinking that God couldn't help him. At the beginning, he was still praying and reading his Bible, but eventually even gave those up. The suffering became greater each day, but he couldn't solve his problems.
One night, God comforted him through a dream, showing him two images. The first image was of him among a group of elderly Yunnan women, sharing the gospel. The second image was of him in the chapel of his new hostel sharing the gospel with guests. After seeing these two images, he woke up and started to cry. He realized that God had never left him. He suddenly understood that God had brought him there to taste an even sweeter world. God hadn't left him; he had left God. When God's love entered in, he felt completely released, and, all alone, he cried and cried. That night, he was released from everything negative, and his once-shackled heart was set free.
Reporter's note: When Long was sharing these things, I could hear how grateful he was. What could give a person more joy than seeing the face of God? I also had tears running down my face. It reminded me of the story in the Bible, after Jacob received Isaac's blessing, finding himself alone in the wilderness. In the midst of trials and hardships, God gave him the " Ladder from Heaven" dream. Then Jacob stood up, realizing how awesome that place was. For the next 20 years, he never forgot that dream. He continued to believe in God, and was eventually named Israel. In Long's life, I saw the reliving of Jacob's experience, meeting the God of Bethel.
Now the inn has been open for more than six months, and already six people have come to know Christ. Long sees that God is using their place and their work is already bearing fruit. He says that he has offered the Gospel Inn to God, and he prays that God will use it, and be the powerful King over that place. He believes that God, having started this work, will carry it out to completion. He told me that he had never done business before, and that he started this completely based on an vision from God; he believes all of this is in God's hands.
Long says that, at their inn they invite guests to take part in Bible studies, worship, prayer, attending book clubs, and watching movies. As long as someone is willing to hear the gospel, he'll share with them and pray for them. Although he borrowed money to open the hostel, Long said his heart is overwhelmingly thankful. He hopes God will use the hostel even more mightily. If some other Christians are willing to go serve there, or to have fellowship there, he is willing to receive them, so that it can serve more people.
Reporter's note: God loves all of His children. He wants to bless each of His children. After seeing the amazing testimony of Long and his wife, and how they opened the Gospel Inn for God, I must say that God will use anyone who offers himself up. While listening to Long, I saw God's incomparable compassion and care towards this couple. Dali Gospel Inn, I trust that God will do big things there. May more members of the Christian body notice them, pray with them that their tiny inn will operate smoothly, and ask God to give salvation to more souls through them.
To learn more about the Dali Gospel Hostel:
Blog address: http://blog.sina.com.cn/u/2606625780
Weibo address: http://weibo.com/2606625780/profile?topnav=1&wvr=5
Original article: 专访大理雅歌福音客栈阿龙弟兄：神在云南做新事
Image source: 2 Pagodas, by Jody McIntyre, via Flickr
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