Peoples of the Mekong
It was July 4 weekend of 1997, and a group of missionaries had come together after leading prayer teams into different parts of China and Hong Kong. Bound by commonality in church and calling, they had each recruited a team from their sphere of influence and had assembled significant numbers of short-termers ready to walk and pray for China.
July 1, 1997, England’s lease of the city of Hong Kong expired and with great celebration in Hong Kong and Beijing the Chinese were repatriated to the homeland. Many ministries that had been based in Hong Kong shifted to Chiang Mai, Thailand, while some bold folk moved further into China. Yunnan Province and the capital Kunming and Sichuan Province and her city of Chengdu had become destinations of hope.
The evening of the second, after teams had been registered in their rooms and all their needs satisfied, the leaders came together to catch up on their experiences and to discuss ongoing ministry in China. As opinions were expressed and accomplishments declared, it became obvious that the camaraderie they had enjoyed had been eroded by what appeared to be an individual success. They could not hear from each other and, in actual fact, attacked the credibility of those who had trained them and introduced them to China in the first place.
At that moment my dream of this team working together, complementing each other, loving one another, hearing one another, and submitting to each other died; and with very mixed emotions, I begged my leave and slowly walked to my room.
The following morning my friends Chuck Lenhart, Bill Richardson, and Hubert Chan loaded our continuing team on a bus, and we headed through Yunnan to a bridge that crossed the Mekong. Surrounded by very curious ears, we did not rehearse the verbiage of the night before. Instead, we discussed forming smart partnerships with national leaders among the peoples of the Mekong to establish something of beneficial permanence in each country that touched this great river.
Hubert spoke of those from Singapore who would readily engage, and Bill knew many pastors and leaders in the US who would rise to the occasion, but it was Chuck who had taken the leap to establish and fund nationals to reach their own nation. He had heard a lot in the last day about the folly of such a plan. Quietly he had endured, and we turned to him to hear of his experience.
“You’ve got to get God to give you a love, appreciation, and respect for these people,” He said. “And only through prayer can you come close to that because they are so different than we are. You have to realize that you will never be Chinese (or whatever people group) and they will never be American. You have to have the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit working in and through you every day.”
On the morning of July 4, 1997, our bus stopped at the bridge where the Burma Road crosses the Mekong. We got down and worshipped and prophetically poured salt and oil into the swirling waters. Bill found firecrackers and set them off proclaiming independence to the peoples of the Mekong. Hubert and the Singaporeans made proclamation in Chinese, and Pastor Dianne Knapp share the vision God had given her concerning the release of the people of the Mekong.
Within a month we heard of a breakthrough in Tibet—the headwaters—to Vietnam and the delta. We retraced our steps in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and China. In each place to which we had taken a level one prayer team, we began to build a relationship, and we saw the release of the peoples.
Now, the Lord is sending believers from those groups into all the earth to tell how He has set them free.
Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it cannot bring forth fruit.