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Parks to Dragon Boats

Dragon Boat race

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 

During the final week of Summer OFF, Reynolds met Mr. Z.

Reynolds was a Summer OFF volunteer from Emmanuel Baptist Church. Mr. Z was a white-haired gentleman who had been around the park before, but Summer OFF volunteers had had limited interactions with him because he spoke little English; he spoke Chinese.

But Reynolds also spoke Chinese, and over the course of the week, the two men became friends. Reynolds quickly learned where Mr. Z was from, how he and his wife had come to Providence to visit their daughter who was pursuing a professional degree, and how they ended up staying and working in Rhode Island for the summer. Mr. Z told Reynolds that other than his daughter’s landlord, he did not know any other Chinese speakers in Providence. 

How good of God to bring these two men together in the park! 

After more conversations over the course of the week, Mr. Z asked Reynolds to take him to a Chinese church. Reynolds was thrilled to do so and made plans to take him to his parents’ Chinese Christian church in Lexington, MA.

They attended the service, and afterwards they were able to have lunch with the pastor, his wife, and Reynolds’ family. Reynolds’ family also gave Mr. Z a Chinese Bible and another Christian book as gifts. 

In the end, Lexington was too far to go every Sunday, so Reynolds found a Chinese Christian Church in Pawtucket, RI, just north of Providence. Reynolds and Mr. Z attended the church together and stayed for lunch following the service.

That Sunday, it happened that a children’s evangelism workshop was being held, because the church had just finished a week of VBS. Mr. Z and Reynolds stayed to attend. Even though the workshop was for adults to learn how to share the Gospel with children, for Mr. Z it was an opportunity to hear the full simplicity of the Gospel presented using five colors—gold, black, red, white and green—in Chinese!

Mr. Z was interested in continuing to attend the church, so Reynolds was able to find several families who were willing to pick him up on Sunday mornings, together with his wife, so that they could attend regularly before returning to China in the fall. Reynolds and his wife also continued to attend the Chinese church occasionally, and had the opportunity to answer questions both Mr. and Mrs. Z had about Christianity and the Gospel. 

Reynolds’ friendship with Mr. Z continued to grow outside of church as well. When the Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races came around in September, Reynolds and Mr. Z signed up to train with the Chinese Christian Church of RI team. They participated in the races, where Reynolds got to meet Mr. Z’s daughter for the first time too. 

Mr. Z and his wife returned to China in October, and Reynolds has continued to stay in touch with him and to encourage him in the faith. Mr. Z has been sending Reynolds pictures and videos of the church that they found and now attend.

Would you praise God with us for this beautiful picture of relational evangelism and would you continue to pray for Reynolds and Mr. Z?

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you: yet do it with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15