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GODINCIDENCES

Paul Estabrooks

        Two decades ago, I met up with a former Open Doors colleague at a Prayer Conference in Florida. We had not seen each other for fourteen years. Dr. Everett Boyce was Program Director for Open Doors-Asia in the 1970s. Our main emphasis at the time was the Peoples’ Republic of China. In 1980, he returned home to the USA and worked with International Students Inc. in Colorado Springs.

        Some years later as Ev drove home for lunch one day, he spotted three Chinese young people at the side of the road with car trouble. He stopped and learned they were foreign students from the People’s Republic of China. He offered to help them but they politely refused. An hour later when he drove by again, they were still there. The car’s burned-out transmission was more than they were prepared for. This time they accepted Ev’s invitation to stay with his family.

        The three were a young lady, Kathy, travelling with her brother, Lee, and with John, her fiance. Over the next few days, the Boyces took their new friends sightseeing and on Sunday to their church. They spent hours in friendly conversation.

        The car repair bill was more than the young people could pay, so the Boyce’s church helped to cover the bill. The Chinese young people were astounded that American Christians would give them so much. “We’re atheists,” they explained. “We want to know why you invited us home when you didn’t even know us.”

        Ev shared his dynamic Christian faith and how he believed that it was God who appointed their meeting on the road. He gave the young lady, Kathy, a Chinese Bible. One night during their short visit, Ev delighted his guests by showing them his many pictures and slides from China (taken by different people during his years with Open Doors). He came to a picture taken in China in 1974 by a colleague, then with FEBC. The picture was of five young high school girls wearing the red armbands of the Red Guards. (That picture had also been shared through Open Doors’ magazines around the world as a prayer focus for China’s youth). The room suddenly quieted. “That’s me!” Kathy exclaimed.  “I’m the second from the left. How can you have my picture?” She went on to name the other four girls in the photo.

        Ev explained how he came to have the photograph and they were all awed. With a billion Chinese at the time, the odds of this American having that picture were incalculable. That evening they spent hours talking about God. “We know about the physical life,” John said, “but there is more to life than just physical. You understand the spiritual, so tell us about it.” Ev shared Christ with them and before they left John said, “Now we too believe God brought us to meet you!”

     Later John and Kathy married and transferred to a Denver University to be closer to the Boyces. One day John called and asked, “Do you have another Bible that I could read? Kathy reads the one you gave her all the time!”

        Everett concludes in a recent letter, “In the last year, Kathy has become a believer. John is very sympathetic, but he hasn’t become a Christian…We keep on praying for him.” Kathy’s brother, Lee, returned to China and is not a believer, as far as we know. But we know God has a plan for him and each of us. Let’s pray we don’t miss it.

Lee, Cathy and John