First Impressions

   A young, single mother was invited to a church on Cape Cod. At the church she overheard a deacon and a member of the congregation complaining about some of the children. After the service the young mother told the person who had invited her that she did not want to attend a church that had people who felt that way about children.
    In 1929, a missionary went to Vietnam. One of his converts there was a young man who eagerly listened to the missionary’s stories about the Christians in the United States.
    Eventually the young man was able to attend collage in America. After he arrived and settled in, he dressed himself in his finest native garments, eager to meet some Christians. He located a church, not knowing that in the 1920s in Boston, it was not socially acceptable for an Asian man to fellowship with the white gentry. As he entered the church he was accosted by several zealous deacons who promptly ushered him outside.
    Deeply embittered by this experience, the young man quit collage and left for France, where he was quickly accepted by the communists there. He eventually returned to Vietnam and helped with the rebellion against French control of his country. He became so successful that he changed his name to Ho Chi Min.
    What would the scenario have been if that young man from Vietnam had been welcomed into a church with a true spirit of Christian love?
    As the young mother left the church in Cape Cod, embittered by her first impressions with the Christians she met there, would her children ever know the true spirit of Jesus – and who will they grow up to be?

copyright 2005 by H.D. Shively

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