“I wish you peace, Pastor Ho,” the stranger said politely.
My wife, Clarris, and I had stopped at an inn to rest during a journey to the interior of China. We had just finished our morning devotions when the man dressed in peasant clothes came to our door.
“I also wish you peace,” I replied. “How do you know my name?”
“I will tell you, sir,” he said. And he told me his story.
Some years ago my mother met someone who sold her a Bible. When she returned home, she told me, “This Book will show us the way to heaven. You must learn to read it.”
I found a man who taught me to read. As I read the Bible, I became convicted of sin. I did not know how to pray, but I knelt and asked God to save me. Suddenly, the burden of my sin lifted.
The soldiers came and said that I must worship the village gods again, but I told them I would not do that. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I would worship him alone.
The soldiers took me to the whipping post and whipped me, but I still had Christ in my heart.
One day while I was praying, my room was filled with a strange and glorious power. I suddenly found myself speaking in a language I had never studied.
I have made a room of my house into a chapel. Some who have visited the chapel have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. I have prayed that the Lord would lead someone to teach us.
While I was praying one day, God said to me, “I have heard your prayers, and I am sending someone to help you. He is a foreigner named Ho Yuin Kwang.”
The man looked at me, “Is that your name?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied, for that was my Chinese name.
The man continued his story.
Then I saw you, dressed just as you are now. From that day I have waited anxiously for you to come. When I heard today that a foreigner was here, I came with great haste.
By that time my wife and I were weeping. I asked the man, “Would you like to have some tea? Would you like some hot water to wash your feet?”
With a hurt expression, he replied, “Tea? Water to wash my feet? I can drink tea and wash my feet at home. I have never been taught to worship. Let us make some worship now.”
Then we prayed. Suddenly the Spirit of God came upon the man and carried us out of that inn and out of ourselves. We felt as if we were in the very presence of God.
Now we knew why God had sent us on this journey and why we had stopped at this particular inn. Like Peter of old, we had been drawn by the prayers of a faithful “Cornelius”.
[Not familiar with the Cornelius story? Check out Acts 10 and consider the parallels between these two stories!]
*Glenn Horst and his wife, Clarrice, served from 1937 to 1945