In the spirit of Friday, I decided to kind of lighten things up today. I thought I’d share a story about a really funny thing that happened to me when I was in Hong Kong back in 1996. By the way, did I mention that I haven’t been to Disneyland since 1996?
Back in August of 1996, I was part of a leadership team that took a group of teenagers on a missions trip to Hong Kong and China. This was exactly one year before Hong Kong was turned back over to China after more than 150 years as a colony of the United Kingdom. It was an exciting trip in so many ways. But let me get to the point of this particular post.
Here, you’ll see a picture of me and part of our band in Hong Kong as we performed outside. Like the hat and the Garth Brooks headset microphone? Like the pony tail? Yeah, I had long hair back in those days. It was so stinkin’ hot and humid, I did something I really hated…the pony tail. I felt dorky, but I was several thousand miles from home, so the decision to go for comfort over style was an easy one.
Anyway, back to our story. At the performance where this picture was taken, we did music, drama and some preaching. We opened up with music, then moved on to the drama. On this particular day, I was not part of the drama portion, so I spent that time walking around the crowd, which was pretty significant at this point. While roaming the crowd, a Chinese gentleman approached me and handed me a folded piece of paper which had clearly been torn from a larger sheet. I glanced at it and noticed there was a scripture reference on it. It wasn’t a quote, just the book, chapter and verse. I didn’t immediately recognize the address, so I simply thanked the man by bowing my head in appreciation. I was touched because we were aware of the fear and nervousness of the people living in a land where Christianity is not exactly commonplace, and in fact, where people have been martyred for their Christian faith. These folks were not prone to publicly displaying their allegiance to Christ in a land in which they don’t enjoy the freedom of religion that we
take for granted enjoy here in the United States. (Facebookers, if that sentence didn’t make sense, it’s because FB doesn’t show the cool HTML effects that I utilized in it. You’ll have to look at the original post for the full benefit.)
So I took the piece of paper with the reference to God’s holy word, and put it in my pocket so I could look it up later.
After we finished with our presentation, we spent the rest of the day sightseeing, eating and shopping. It was a full and fun day. It wasn’t until several hours later that we finally returned to where we were staying. By this time, I had completely forgotten about the slip of paper the man had given me until I was emptying the contents of my pockets to pack away in my suitcase. In the bunk next to me was my good friend, Steve Edwards. I quickly told Steve the story of the man at the outreach who gave me the scripture and wanted to bless me and the team.
Or so I thought.
As I recounted the story, I was reaching for my bible and flipping through the pages for the verse. At this point, I have my back to Steve. All he can see at this point is my bouncing shoulders as I was in hysterics over the verse to which this man pointed me. Steve knew I was reading the bible, and he was struggling to think of what I could have been reading there that was so comedic. So I shared with him the verse, 1 Corinthians 11:14.
Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him
Are you kidding me??? I’m half way around the world, and this man, who doesn’t even speak my language, has THIS verse committed to memory for just such an occasion?
If this man could see me now, he’d be very pleased with himself and rejoicing before God because my hair now is more comparable to glorified peach fuzz than the flowing mane I had in 1996.
I knew I shouldn’t have gone with the pony tail.