Leaving (or stuck in) Communist China

My wife Margaret (as a little girl of 5½) began the trip from Suyung, Szechwan Province, China to Canada with her mother and father (Walter and Helen Jespersen), two sisters, Carol(3) and Linda (2), and baby brother, David (only seven months old). The family was asked to leave communist China by government officials, and began the trip on May 26, 1951. They arrived at their family near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on October 13, about 4-1/2 months later!

It took Dad and Mom and their four children, with several other missionary single ladies, nearly seven weeks to reach the Hong Kong border. On this long journey, their baggage and documents were inspected eight times; once just before crossing the border.

At the border crossing, one of the missionary ladies could not find her documents, so they wouldn’t let her cross. Dad thought that possibly her documents might have been placed in her baggage by accident at the previous inspection point. He asked if he could remain in China and let her cross (her baggage had already gone ahead). The official agreed, saying that if her documents could not be found, then Dad would have to return all the way back to Suyung (seven-week journey) and begin the process (permission to leave China)again.

It was very tense for Dad waiting in China, realizing he may be separated from his wife and four children for another 14 weeks or so – and possibly permanently!

The lady eventually returned with her papers, and Dad was able to cross the border to freedom.

I have heard this story many times, and it continues to amaze, challenge, encourage and motivate me to be like my father-in-law; one who, even with family responsibilities, would immediately offer to stand in the place of another (yes possibly even give his life) that they might be free. May we be such a person, especially one who would give our life that people might be free through the Gospel of Christ, whatever cost it might be!

“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, nasb).