A Salvo En Casa Capítulo Dieciséis (Excerpt from Safely Home)

–Discúlpame, Quan—dijo Ben—, pero estabas escondiendo algo. Temía que estabas en problemas. Parecía sospechoso. No son drogas, ¿no es así?

—¿Drogas? —dijo Quan—. ¿Crees que yo quebrantaría la ley a causa de drogas?

—No. Pero tú mismo dijiste que los tiempos eran duros. Que las personas hacen cosas que no harían normalmente. Pero no tú, Quan. Eso lo sé. Me siento como un tonto.

—El que pregunta es un tonto por cinco minutos, pero el que no pregunta permanece tonto para siempre. Si tienes dudas sobre tu antiguo compañero de cuarto. Pregúntale a él.

Quan encendió una lámpara, entonces se arrodilló, metió la mano debajo de la cama y extrajo el saco. Se puso de pie y se lo dio a Ben.

—Quan, no me tienes que mostrar. No es asunto mío. Quiero decir… —Ben vio la mirada confusa en el rostro del extraño. Obviamente él no entendía inglés.

—Ábrelo, Ben.

Ben abrió lentamente el saco, abultado y mucho más pesado de lo que se había imaginado. Metió la mano adentro, agarró algo y lo sacó. Era un libro con una cubierta negra, compacto pero de casi cinco centímetros de grueso, con un símbolo de un pescado grabado en la parte inferior del frente.

—¿Una Biblia? —preguntó Ben.

Quan asintió con la cabeza.

Vació el resto del contenido del saco sobre la cama. Seis Biblias.

—Esta Biblia de estudio es muy valiosa —dijo Quan—. La mayoría de los líderes de las iglesias caseras no tienen entrenamiento teológico. No tienen libros cristianos. Ellos llaman a esto un “seminario de bolsillo”. Es la Palabra de Dios, con instrucciones sobre cómo estudiarla y utilizarla. También, enseña cómo predicar y enseñar Shengjing.

Quan abrió el libro. Su voz se volvió apasionada mientras volteaba las páginas de un lugar a otro.

—Tiene una lista de temas, resúmenes de sermones, gráficas y mapas. ¿No ves lo que esto significa, Ben Fielding? Incluso muchos pastores no tienen Biblias. Y aquellos que tienen una les falta saber cómo utilizarla. Esta Biblia es un regalo de Yesu para nosotros.

—¿Cuál es el significado del pescado?

—La palabra griega para pescado es ichthus—dijo Quan—. Los primeros cristianos la usaban como un acróstico; en inglés dirías que significa “Jesucristo, Hijo de Dios, Salvador”. Cada letra griega se refiere a una de esas palabras. Cuando su fe era ilegal en Roma, ellos lo dibujaban en la tierra con un palo para identificarse. Cuando otro cristiano la veía, él lo dibujaba también. Algunos de nosotros usamos el símbolo. También nos recuerda de los pescados que Yesu creó para las multitudes.

Ben asintió con la cabeza, sin estar seguro que comprendía.

—Es por eso que te servimos pescado en el plato de mi abuela tu primera noche. El plato y el pescado nos recuerdan de Yesu. El símbolo también nos une con nuestros hermanos perseguidos hace dos mil años.

—¿Qué harás con estas Biblias?

—Las llevaré a un lugar especial para dejarlas.

—El Huaquia Binguan con el canadiense en el cuarto piso. ¿El señor James, no es así? El hombre que sube el volumen del televisor cuando llegan invitados.

—Muchas habitaciones de hoteles tienen micrófonos ocultos. Tenemos que subir el volumen del televisor para ocultar la conversación. Muchos van a la cárcel cuando se escuchan conversaciones privadas.

—Tú le diste al señor James la Biblia que te traje. ¿Qué te dio él? ¿La “música clásica”?

—Discos compactos que contienen palabras e imágenes que son música para el alma. Cosas que nuestro gobierno no quiere que tengamos.

—¿Por qué estabas caminando de la casa de espaldas?

—¿No se te ha escapado nada? Es un viejo truco que aprendí de mi padre. Las pisadas pueden ser examinadas. Algunas veces preferirías que otros crean que alguien vino a tu casa en lugar de que saliste.

—Cuando fuimos al hotel, ¿quiénes eran los hombres enfrente de la calle?

—Uno era un agente del BSP sin uniforme. El hombre principal era Tai Hong.

Ming se estremeció y apretó el brazo de Quan.

—¿Quién es él?—preguntó Ben.

—El subjefe de la policía. Tai odia a los creyentes.

—¿De dónde vinieron estas Biblias? —Ben señaló los seis libros negros sobre la cama, uno de ellos ahora en las manos de Shen.

Quan miró al hombre y movió la cabeza. El extraño, en un mandarín con un fuerte acento, dijo:

—Yo soy el burro de Yesu.

Por un momento Ben pensó que había malentendido la palabra.

—Un cargador de cargamento muy valioso. He estado haciendo esto por treinta años. Es mi llamado —el hombre levantó una Biblia—. Este es el libro de Dios. Nada es más valioso. La semana pasada entregué doce de estos a una iglesia de mil miembros. Hasta que yo llegué tenían solo cinco en toda la iglesia. Yesu entró a Jerusalén montado en un burro. Su Palabra lo trae al pueblo. Yo soy un burro que Yesu ha montado a cien ciudades y pueblos diferentes. Es mi llamado—él inclinó su cabeza.

Quan puso los libros en el saco de nuevo, entonces metió la mano debajo de la cama, poniendo las tablas es su lugar.

—Rompí el cemento para crear este escondite sagrado. El BSP pudiera mirar debajo de la cama y no encontrar nada.

—Esto es muy peligroso, Quan.

—Nuestro pueblo se está muriendo de hambre por la Palabra de Dios —dijo Quan—¿Qué clase de hombre sería si no le diera de comer a los que tienen hambre?

—Pero pudieras perder tu libertad. O peor.

—Un hombre obediente es  libre cuando está en prisión

—dijo Quan—. Un hombre desobediente está aprisionado cuando está libre.

A Ben no le gustó la forma en que él lo miraba.


Extracto de A Salvo En Casa (fuera de la impression) por Randy Alcorn, capítulo Dieciséis.



Safely Home, Chapter 16

“I’m sorry, Quan,” Ben said, “but you were hiding something. I was afraid you were in trouble. It looked suspicious, like it was . . . illegal.” He pointed under the bed, trying to get the focus off himself. “It’s not drugs, is it?”

“Drugs?” Quan said. “Do you believe I would break the law for drugs?” Ben heard the pain in his friend’s voice.

“No. But you said yourself times are hard. People do things they normally wouldn’t. But not you, Quan. I know that. I feel like a fool.”

“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever. If you wonder about your old roommate, ask him.”

Quan turned on a lamp, then got down on his knees and reached under the bed.

“Bu,” the man said, shaking his head. Ming’s expression, as she moved from the bedside, also said no.

“It is time,” Quan said.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

Quan continued his search, and Ben heard the familiar skittering. Without flinching, Quan pulled out the gunnysack. He stood and handed it to Ben.

“Quan, you don’t have to show me. It’s none of my business. I mean . . .” Ben saw the confused look on the stranger’s face. Obviously he didn’t know English.

“Open it, Ben.”

Ben slowly opened the sack, bulky and much heavier than he’d imagined. He reached inside nervously, hoping not to find another cockroach. He took hold of something and pulled it out. It was a book with a black vinyl cover, compact but nearly two inches thick, with a fish symbol embossed on the lower front.

“A Bible?” Ben asked.

Quan nodded.

Ben dumped the rest of the sack’s contents on the bed. Six Bibles. The stranger, clearly not approving of what had just happened, sat on the floor. Quan sat next to him. Ben pulled up a chair. Still trembling, Ming sat down again on the bed. Shen was in her arms, nearly sleeping again.

“This study Bible is precious,” Quan said. “Most house-church leaders have no theological training. They have no Christian books. They call this a ‘pocket seminary.’ It is the Word of God, with instruction on how to study and use it. Also, it tells how to preach and teach Shengjing.”

Quan opened the book, and his voice became impassioned as he flipped from place to place. “It has a topics list, sermon outlines, charts, and maps. Don’t you see what this means, Ben Fielding? Even many pastors do not have Bibles. And those who do, have no help in using them. This Bible is Yesu’s gift to us.”

“What’s the meaning of the fish?”

“The Greek word for fish is ichthus,” Quan said. “The early Christians used it as an acrostic—in English you would say it stood for ‘ Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.’ Each Greek letter stands for one of those words. When their faith was illegal in Rome, they drew this symbol on the ground with a stick to identify themselves. When other Christians saw it, they would draw it too. That way they knew they were brothers and sisters. Some of us use the sign. It also reminds us of the fish Yesu created for the multitudes and the fish he cooked and served and ate after his resurrection.”

Ben nodded, not sure he was getting it.

“This is why we served you fish on my grandmother’s plate the first night. The plate and fish remind us of Yesu, who served himself up on the cross, then three days later served fish to his disciples. We wish to serve Yesu to our family and neighbors. The symbol also links us to our persecuted brothers and sisters two thousand years ago. But the most important thing is not the symbol, but Shengjing itself.”

“What will you do with these Bibles?”

“I will take them to a special drop-off place.”

“The Huaquia Binguan with the Canadian on the fourth floor. Mr. Rogers, wasn’t it?”

“Mr. James.”

“The man who turns up the television when guests arrive.”

“Many hotel rooms have insects,” Quan said.

“What?”

“I am not using correct English word? Bugged? Yes. That is it—many rooms are bugged. We must turn up the television to mask conversations. Many go to jail when private conversations are overheard.”

“You didn’t give Mr. James meat and bread, did you?”

“Oh yes. Meat and bread brought to me from my old American room­mate. Shengjing.”

“You gave him the Bible I brought?”

“Yes.”

“What did he give you? The ‘classical music’?”

“Compact discs containing words and images that are music for the soul. Things our government does not want us to have.”

“Why did you keep me in the dark about all this?”

“There is much at stake.”

“And you don’t trust me?”

Quan hesitated but didn’t answer.

“Why were you walking backward from the house?”

“You have good eyes. Has nothing escaped your notice? It is an old trick I learned from my father. Footprints may be examined. Sometimes you would rather have others believe someone came to your house than that you left it.”

“But why?”

“No need to say. But there was a reason.”

“You tell me to ask, but you don’t trust me enough to answer? Alright—tell me, who is this man who comes in the middle of the night?” Ben pointed at the stranger.

“I must not say his name, even to you. I would not tell anyone but those who need to know.” Quan looked at his hands. “Yet you are right. I have not been sure I can trust you, Ben.”

The words stung Ben more than he expected.

“So, as I have told you to ask me, I will ask you. Is your loyalty greater to your company or to your God? Is your business tied to the Chinese government? Are you beholden to the Party? I do not know. Where a man’s treasure is, his heart will be also. Where is your treasure, Ben Fielding?”

“I may not agree with what you’re doing. But I would never betray you.”

“I guessed you would not. But there is a Chinese proverb: ‘To guess is cheap. To guess wrong is expensive.’ If I guessed wrong about my old room­mate, I would put many at risk. I could not do that. But now . . . I believe I should trust you.”

“When we went to the hotel, who were the men across the street?” “One was a PSB agent in plainclothes. The main man was Tai Hong.” Ming shuddered and grasped Quan’s arm.

“Who’s he?” Ben asked.

“Assistant chief of police. Tai hates believers.”

“I saw him at the hotel again, when we were headed to Shanghai for the Beijing flight, when you dropped off your duffel bag.”

“Tai Hong was there?”

“Watching you. Where did these Bibles come from?” Ben pointed to the six black books on the bed, one of them now in Shen’s hands.

Quan looked at the man and nodded. The stranger, in heavily accented Mandarin, said, “I am Yesu’s donkey.”

For a moment, Ben thought he’d misunderstood the word.

“A carrier of precious cargo. I have been doing this thirty years. It is my calling.” He bowed his head.

“Where are you from?” Ben asked. Ming got up quickly and walked on tiptoe, like a little girl, pulled the curtains on the front window, then went to the back window and did the same. She put on the leather coat Ben had given her. He noticed she was shaking.

“A fall into a ditch makes you wiser,” the man said. “I have fallen into enough ditches to know it is best for me not to answer your question. I am ethnically Chinese, but from another country. I know Yesu’s donkeys from seven countries, including yours. Sometimes your people bring in Bibles from outside. I take them farther in. I am less suspicious because I have Chinese ancestry and appear to be a poor citizen. I have traveled far into the interior, the least evangelized parts of China—to the Muslim enclaves in the Northwest and Tibet in the Southwest.”

“Why do you do this?” Ben asked.

“Forgive me,” the stranger said. “Li Quan tells me to trust you, but for you to ask this question shows you do not know the ways of Yesu.” “Perhaps I don’t. Instruct me then.”

The man held up the Bible. He put it up to his nose and smelled it. “This is the book of God. Nothing is more precious. Last week I delivered twelve of these to a church of one thousand. Until I arrived, they had only five in the whole church. People offer to pay me a month’s salary for a single Bible. But I get them free and I give them free. I accept only a bed and meals.”

“Is what you do legal?”

“I have gone to jail many times,” the visitor said. “But because I am a foreign citizen, I have a passport. I have always been released. I am forbidden to return. So I must come next time under another name. Li Quan of Hangzhou knows one of my old names. But even he does not know my real name.”

“Do you have a family?” Ben asked the donkey.

“I live with my wife and children four months of the year. Even donkeys must stop sometimes. Most of the year I transport precious cargo. Yesu rode on a donkey into Jerusalem. His Word brings him to the people. I am a donkey Yesu has ridden to a hundred different cities and villages. It is my calling.” He bowed his head.

Quan picked up one of the Bibles, held it close to his nose, and inhaled. “I love the smell of books. But there is no scent like Shengjing’s.” He put the books back in the sack, then reached under the bed, resituating the boards. “I broke cement to create this sacred hiding place. PSB could look under the bed and see nothing. Because it is cement floor I hope they would not bother moving the bed to look beneath.”

“I suppose I can respect what this man has chosen to do,” Ben said. “But like he said, he’ll just be deported. It would be worse for you.”

“Our people are starving for God’s Word,” Quan said. “What kind of a man would I be if I did not feed the hungry?”

“But you could lose your freedom. Or worse.”

“An obedient man is free when in prison,” Quan said. “A disobedient man is imprisoned when free.” Ben didn’t like the way Quan looked at him.

“A disciple’s desire is to glorify his Master,” said the donkey. “There are things more important than staying alive. Yesu’s followers must love him more than their own lives.”

Ben returned Quan’s gaze. Not knowing what else to do, he nodded.


Excerpt from Safely Home, by Randy Alcorn, Chapter 16.

Randy Alcorn, founder of EPM

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over fifty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries