How God Led Me to the United States
Having received the visa, I immediately went to purchase the air-ticket, hoping for an early departure. At the time, there were only two airlines in Shanghai - the United Airline (an American airline) and the China Civil Aviation Company. I went first to the nearby United Airlines office and was told that all the tickets were sold out except for one first-class ticket with almost double the regular price. Common sense told me that this was not what God had arranged for me. Yet, to purchase a ticket from the China Civil Aviation Company, one had to give ??under-the-table money?? (something we Christians would not do).
Right at this time, something amazing happened again - the Lord had made all the arrangements for me to go. I used to visit a brother, who lived in my neighborhood, a couple of times each week. His young daughter happened to be dating the assistant of the Party Committee Secretary of the China Civil Aviation Company. I asked her to purchase the ticket for me - an easy undertaking for her, of course. Soon after I left the country, somehow she stopped dating the assistant; apparently, their brief relationship was God??s arrangement to help me purchase the ticket.
I was then all ready to go. Yet, I was somewhat anxious; for, though I could speak English, I had never been to the United States and had no idea what it was really like. Again, God took care of this: a Christian couple, who were English teachers in China returning to New York on vacation, was on the same flight. At the time of the check-in, the airline officer arranged for us to sit together, which enabled us to fellowship until the airplane landed at the New York airport. The two people who came to meet the couple were already waiting at the airport exit, but the person who was to pick me up had not shown up. I was somewhat at a loss. ??Don??t worry,?? the brother said. ??We??ll wait until he shows up.?? Half an hour later, the person arrived, and the couple then bid farewell. Thanks to the Lord!
I was taken directly to the summer conference where the first session was being held. After this retreat, I was invited to share and fellowship in several churches on the East Coast. The second conference was held in Houston, and the third in Seattle. These were the three conferences to which I was invited while I was in Shanghai; I did not miss any of them. I had also lived up to what I said to the officer at the United States Consulate - in fact, I was one of the speakers at the Houston and Seattle conferences. Reflecting on God??s wonderful arrangements, I cannot help but bow in worship. I was led to share and fellowship in various places - from the East Coast to the West Coast and from Seattle south to San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The brothers in Los Angeles arranged two conferences for me. At the end of the second conference, I received a letter from an elderly sister, Mrs. Erjun Gao, in Georgia. She was my mother??s best friend and had lived in the United States for several years. She wrote: ??Joshua, you should rent your own residence after the conference has ended, for it??s not proper for you to reside in the homes of brothers and sisters ???? Her reminder was very well-timed; as I had no more invitations at that time, the Lord used her to tell me to rent an apartment in Los Angeles.
But then, how should I go about looking for a residence? I knew nothing about rentals in the United States - for the past several decades, all residences in China were government-allotted and there was no such thing as buying or renting of properties. Thank God that the next day after the conference, before breakfast, an elderly sister, Jessie Guo, unexpectedly showed up. She said, ?? Brother Yu, I didn??t sleep well the whole night. I couldn??t stop shedding tears - I never had this experience before. So, I prayed and the Lord told me to ask you to come and live in the house I??m renting.?? Oh, how well timed God??s arrangements were! And how splendid! The house Sister Guo was renting had four bedrooms - one occupied by the owner??s son, one by Sister Guo and her grandson, a little boy, and the other two were unoccupied. She wanted to rent out the smaller of the two unoccupied rooms to me for 150 dollars per month. The room was very small but, to someone like me who had previously stayed in the Labor Camps for years, it was more than satisfactory. I then settled down.
Shortly afterwards, by the Lord??s wonderful arrangement, an elderly sister, Esther Wang20 of the Ling Leong Assembly, arrived from Shanghai and rented the remaining room. The three of us then kept a daily schedule of praying in one accord in the morning. My daily meals, too, were often taken care of.
20 Sister Esther Wang and I had fellowship while we were both in different Labor Camps. She passed away on March 24, 2006 at the age of 93.