the church in Baton Rouge                                            

In September 1998, I came to Baton Rouge from Mainland China full of hopes and a deep sense of longing for an academic reputation. So I labored around the clock in my research work and never wasted time, even on weekends.

Three months later, my good friend from China was brought to the Lord in Dallas. He had a burden for me and introduced me to the local churches. I was invited to a believer’s house where some brothers and sisters in our Lord shared the most wonderful and sweet word concerning Christ that I had ever heard before, and a seed was planted in my being.

As a worldly man, I immediately immersed myself in the business of research and struggled to secure a good future for myself. At that time, the local church life and my personal life were incongruent entities. The Lord, however, knew my real need and sovereignly arranged my environment to bring me back into Christian fellowship. A family Bible study meeting began in a believer’s house. Being a worldly man, I was attached to many things, and going to the family meeting meant breaking away from Austin worldly interests. The reading during the meetings really gave me a spiritual hunger for the truth. Each time when I came to the family meeting, I received a spiritual a deposit of the Truth and a solid foundation to stand on through the fellowship. Then the Lord sovereignly brought me to the 1998-Spring Conference in Richardson. It was a wonderful experience. There were no language barriers in the Chinese speaking conference. The living light of the Lord made everything so clear. From morning to evening, I was enveloped in an atmosphere of the Spirit. I really saw God’s purpose, His plan and His Body. On the Lord’s Day, I was sitting beside an elderly sister. I really saw the living Christ in her when she sang Hymn 1025 to me over and over (Hymns). “He is so rich, He is so full, He can fulfill all your needs!” On the way back to Baton Rouge, a sister encouraged me to seize the opportunity to be baptized: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). I had no answer to her question, “Why do you delay?” (Acts 22:16) Praise the Lord! I was baptized into the Body of Christ.

Two months after I was saved, I received a call from a friend. When I told him that I went to the church meeting every Sunday and spent my time at a Bible study every week, he could not understand. He said if he spent more time on his research work, he could get more publications. No, no, no. I told him from my own experience, when I encounter difficulties in my research, and reach an impasse, I can not solve the problem no matter how much I struggle, no matter how much time I spend. Time will not solve the problem. If I keep working sometimes the problem may become worse. What I really need is a “break”. If I spend some time enjoying a verse in the Bible and calling on the Lord’s name, and asking in His Name, Christ will do it in me. Christ will be in me. (John 14:14) He will work within me all day long. My eyes will be opened and my mind will work better and the problem will be solved.

Looking back at my experiences in the U.S. during the past nine months, I am full of appreciation to the Lord for His salvation, for the fellowship, and for the local church in Baton Rouge. “Lord, keep me in the flow of the Spirit, today and all my days, unto eternity.”

- Benjamin Xiao