By Jeffrey Kingry
Back in 1986 I had a crisis of conscience. I had made a trip or two in my life, and every time I lifted off in recent years, the feeling of responsibility for taking the gospel to the world weighed heavily. Looking down from 30,000 feet the immensity of our task came home to my heart. Anna and I have always tried to push out to the edges in our choices of where to go to preach, but regardless of the fact that we have concentrated our efforts in the north and northeast, where brethren are few, yet . . . we have merely been nibbling away at the job of “unto the uttermost parts of the earth.”
There are men working in Africa, western Europe, central and south America, and a handful of brethren in Asia. But, there is no one in eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China. The conventional wisdom has always been: (1) These are Communist countries and one might get in trouble preaching the gospel there; (2) No one knows their language; (3) You can’t get resident access to the country; and (4) it would be too hard on any American to go to such strange places.
But, I wondered, what if one could gain access? What if one could learn the language or study with English speaking natives? What if one had the cultural and personal flexibility to “be all things to all men”? All great deeds require preparation and a degree of planning and providence. A preacher would never just “happen upon” an opportunity to preach in one of these places. It took many years of preparation and experience before Paul heard the Macedonian call and left the land of his youth.
So, in 1986 we began pursuing every possible way we could to find some way of obtaining residency legally in those countries that are currently closed to the gospel multinational employment, foreign service, government employee . . . and one of them worked!
In May 1988, the U.S. Consulate in Shenyang, China asked Anna, my wife, to teach at their elementary school for U.S. dependents. Since the Kingry family is a package deal, the Chinese asked, “What will Mr. Kingry do?” The consulate responded, “He is a minister of the gospel.”
“That is fine. But he must do something. He will teach English at the University.”
The Kingry family is leaving Vermont July 15th for Shenyang, China. We will travel and be guests of the Chinese under diplomatic passport, with official status. However, I am not an employee of either the State Department or the PRC (except for two or three classes a day). The Chinese government will provide us with a small apartment Chinese style – as my “wage” for teaching. We will live and work among the Chinese citizens and students. I will have daily access to 3rd year university students who speak English. I plan on teaching them about Jesus. I would gladly baptize all 1,250,000,000 of them. But, practically speaking, we’ll start with those we meet and have opportunity to teach. “Who is sufficient for such a ministry?”
But, we need your help to go. We leave California August 5th. Our air-fare will cost $4,000 ($1,000 x 4; Anna’s way is being paid by the State Department). We need $1,000 per month support to replace what we are losing. We must pay to store our things in the U.S., and ship over some winter clothes. It will be next to impossible to care for these things long distance. Can you help? We need to hear from you soon.
Above all, we need the loving prayers and encouragement of the saints. I am ready to go, but seared to death. God answered my prayer, and now I must “pay my debt.” Remember us, brethren, in your petitions to God that we might be bold to speak the gospel regardless of the consequences.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 14, p. 434
July 21, 1988